Action Combat System Was Considered for Persona 5

Following a previous interview (full interview here) where director Katsura Hashino stated that backpacking was going to be a fundamental concept of Persona 5, he has shared more information about rejected ideas during the development of the game.

Real-Time Combat

“Persona 5” introduces a new “direct command” element, however the base of the command-selection-type battle system looks the same as in the previous game.

Currently, there are not that many RPG games which use the so-called command-selection-type battle system. During production, our staff also drafted an “Action Battle” system we wanted to try out, with the idea “let’s implement real-time elements.”

You were interested in the direction of action battle?

It was only for a very short period of time, but we performed tests for an action battle system. However, when it comes to changing the entire battle system, it would mean discarding the know-how we have accumulated up to now. Its effect would be significant.

Of course, adjustments were made to the battle system itself such as the elements provided to win—like leveling up or “Persona” fusion—all without having to rebuild the system.


Initial Concept

Please tell us about “Persona 5’s” development history.

In the initial planning, there was an idea of diverging from the routes “Persona 3” and “Persona 4” took. “Self-discovery” and “journey” were the two keywords for the project, with an image of jumping out of school and taking a journey into the outside world.

We were beginning to implement this idea, but at the stage where it came to solidifying the foundation of the scenario and direction, the Great East Japan earthquake occurred, greatly changing the entire situation in Japan.

People became aware of those around them, to cherish each other and overcome the crisis.

The “Persona” series is the story of modern high school students at its center but, with “Persona 5,” we thought that it was necessary to incorporate historical background to convey the connection of “bonds” with other people; it was supposed to be a big change in direction.

Everything that had been completed up to that point was discarded and remade?

It was almost remade. However, rather than with a trip to the outside world, the journey would be that within the spirit world among the protagonists themselves, taking shape and shifting into different directions.


Future of Persona and Atlus

What would you like to do from now on, Hashino?

When it comes to what kind of titles to create, to not be limited to the “Persona” series and to pursue other games that fit Atlus’ image in the future.

Also to all users, we are now in a time where “Persona 5” is at the forefront of topicality. I would like to say that Atlus is making a lot of interesting work, and also has a rich variety of other titles to offer.


Persona 5 was released for the PS3 and PS4 in Japan on September 15, 2016. It will release in North America and Europe on February 14, 2017, and in traditional Chinese and Korean in 2017.

PlayStation Blog

  • I wish I could see the early prototypes of this action-oriented battle system, though I think they made the right decision on keeping the turn-based system just making it faster and flashier.

  • Metalsnakezero

    Curious if the action battle system was turn base but Mario rpg style button commands as you attack. That I would be into than full real time action.

  • Vallen

    My hope for the future of the Persona series is to see it expand beyond the classroom and the city. Maybe it could be a university setting, or perhaps even further than that, something beyond school. It would be interesting to see ‘the world’ rather than a single city. That’s just my hopes.

    As for the battle system, I trust in them, so feel free to experiment. But the current system is still good and very fun, so perhaps there is no need to reinvent something that already works?

  • Espurr Muffin

    I seriously want to see what a persona game with live action they should definitely do it for a spin off

  • jcl

    The could use this action battle system for Devil Summoner 3. I’m curious whether they will still use Raidou or a new character.

    • vileBrenman

      Hopefully they use p5’s graphics engine to make a new Devil Summoner game

      • jcl

        Yeah, devil summoner 1 and 2 were good games but the pre rendered background look bad when played on hdtv or emulator compared to smt nocturne, digital devil saga and persona 3/4.

  • Patrick Honeyman

    Interesting to hear of some of the ideas they had during development.

    If Persona 5 turns out to be great when I play it I’d be okay with a revised version with an additional scenario/after story down the line. Then I’d want them to change it up unless they can really knock it out of the park with Persona 6 (P4 tweaked and improved quite a few things over P3 so who knows what they can come up with at this point).

  • Captain Beefheart

    The less things this series has in common with the way Final Fantasy eventually went, the better.