The interview was conducted with P Studio general producer Kazuhisa Wada, director Naoya Maeda, and business producer Atsushi Nomura. They discuss the thoughts behind beginning this project, its themes, the character design, and more.
The fully translated interview can be found below:
This is the first strategy RPG in the Persona series. First of all, tell use why you decided to take on this genre.
Wada: For a long time, I’ve had the goal of expanding the possibilities of the series. Additionally, I also wanted to deliver a new Persona 5 related story, which is why I came up with this title.
Personally I love strategy RPGs, and there was a lot of feedback from the user surveys that people wanted to play a game in this genre.
You’ve produced Persona spin-off games in genres other than RPGs, such as fighting games and rhythm games haven’t you?
Wada: Yes, Atlus has released strategy RPG games such as the Devil Survivor series, but Persona hasn’t had one, so this time were were able to make it happen.
Before this interview, we were able to see gameplay footage being played on an actual console, and we felt that the presentation and pace of the battles were closer to Persona 5 than what users might usually expect when they hear the term SRPG.
Nomura: I am happy you feel that way. This work depicts the Persona 5 cast in a new way that incorporates the essence of a strategy RPG, and I think you can get a sense of this in the trailer. I would like to continue to show this appeal in follow-up news to continue to reassure people.
Yamamura was involved in the remastered version of Persona 5 Royal, which was released last year but, Maeda, it’s your first time appearing in this magazine’s interview, isn’t it?
Maeda: That’s right. I’m Maeda, this game’s director. In recent years, I’ve worked as the lead designer for Persona 5 and Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, and I was in charge of the overall design direction for Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth.
So you were involved in the design aspects of the Persona Q series. In this new game, Persona 5 Tactica, it seems to have a similar atmosphere in terms of the deformed characters.
Maeda: For a while now, I’ve thought that the Persona Q series designs would be suitable for strategy RPG games. I secretly worked on a proposal for a game where players could enjoy the chibi characters from an overhead perspective. When I found out that Wada was planning this project, I offered to participate because I wanted to be a part of it.
Wada: I knew that Wada also liked strategy RPGs, but I had no idea he had made a proposal (laughs).
It seems like good timing (laughs). In this game, the characters are depicted in a deformed style, but their proportions seem slightly elongated.
Wada: During the testing phase, we initially applied the character designs directly from the Persona Q series to “Tactica.” However, we decided that adjusting the proportions for the characters specifically for this game would make a significant difference, so as you can see, we completely redrew everything.
Maeda: In this game, the characters move around the battlefield, performing flashy actions. So, I aimed to create visuals that would showcase their poses and expressions well from an overhead perspective. Oribe (Hanako Oribe, who appears in a roundtable interview to be published later) from the artwork team proposed drawing the extremities of the limbs slightly larger, which allows players to enjoy the characters’ stylish movements. I believe players will appreciate that.
What are the features of the battle system?
Maeda: The goal was to create a game with a pop and fast tempo so that people who only have a general idea of, or are not good at strategy RPGs, can enjoy it. For that reason, the main tactical element is in the positioning of allies and enemies, so that the player can see their advantages and disadvantages at a glance.
Nomura: The Phantom Thief-like elements of hiding in the shadows and watching from a high vantage point fit well in this genre. In stages with height differences, if you stay aware of your allies positioning when attacking, you can knock down your enemies and trigger a follow-up attack. By moving the character directly, you can find locations where it is difficult for you to be attacked or it is easy to coordinate with others. So you will be developing strategies before you know it.
It is intuitive so you should be able to get used to it quickly. We’ve also incorporated the fun of positioning into the familiar Persona series All-Out Attack, so I hope you enjoy the Triple Threat which is unique to this game.
Maeda: The act of the oppressed side pulling down the establishment from their position on higher ground is like an act of revolution. This is similar to the theme of the game, “Revolution of the Mind.”
The new character, Erina, seems to embody this game’s “revolution.” Although there may be many things that you can’t reveal about the story, what kind of content can we expect?
Maeda: If you think of Persona 5 as a grand “epic drama,” then this game is like a densely packed “feature film.” Unique events unfold, there’s an encounter with a new character named Erina, and there are interactions and relationship dynamics unique to this game. In Persona 5, we depicted the rebelliousness of oppressed high school students against corrupt adults, and that same “passion” is inherited in “Tactica.” We portray it as a “revolution of the heart.”
The field and enemy designs you see now are inspired by the French Revolution, among other things, but there will be various other scenes in the game, so please look forward to it.
Nomura: In the Persona series, its appeal lies in turning the bonds developed with allies into power, and in this game the key is “cooperation with comrades.” What happens when friends who have matured emotionally and spiritually demonstrate their full potential through team play? I believe we were able to properly convey that in this game, so please look forward to it.
It’s reassuring to hear that, although the genre may have changed, the essence of Persona 5 remains strong.
Wada: I’m glad to hear that you feel that way. During the final stages of development, when we conducted test plays, we received positive feedback even from staff members who were initially hesitant about strategy RPGs. Regardless of whether or not you are familiar with this genre, I can confidently recommend this game to those who enjoy Persona 5, so please look forward to more information in the future!
Persona 5 Tactica will be released worldwide for Xbox Game Pass, Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch and Steam on November 17, 2023.