Persona 5 Was Originally Going to be About Backpacking Around the World
In a recent 4Gamer interview with Persona 5 director Katsura Hashino, he discussed the origins of the upcoming RPG’s picaresque romance themes.
Hashino revealed that, at the start, he planned for Persona 5 to be about discovering the world through a backpacking travel story.
So I would like to ask you about the concept of Persona 5. The new juvenile school game with a “picaresque juvenile,”with the charm of a picaresque romance story added to it as an innovation, brought about the theme of the “Phantom Thief who steal hearts” theme.
At the start of development, the Phantom Thief concept was not something that we had yet considered. Because the past works in the series were stories centered around school and its surroundings, I had been thinking of backpacking: a game where you’re flying around to various places, with the theme similar to that of a journey of self-discovery.
Backpacking? I was taken by surprise by the Phantom Thief concept, but that’s also pretty unexpected.
While working on Persona 4 Golden, I tested several different ideas, but in the midst of thinking a lot, the Great East Japan Earthquake struck (aka the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake). I felt that at once, my mood about Japan had changed as I rethought things.. I wanted to refocus on Japan rather than direct my feelings to the outside world.
Certainly, you went on your own journey! Thus you remain settled into place and considered the atmosphere that surrounds you.
Yes. Since Persona is a contemporary drama involving juveniles, or rather society, and you get the feeling that the mindset of the people of Japan had changed, we felt we had no choice but to change the concept of the project. From this point on, we had no intention to fly around the world, and started to look at the adventurous spirit of the human mind instead. “Don’t remain how you are, try something different.” So, by connecting the idea of an inner revolution to the theme of the game, a new idea came about.
How did the notion of picaresque romance lead to “Phantom Thieves”?
Looking at thieves such as in the especially famous television anime “Lupin III.” They act carefree and while seeking their treasure, isn’t it quite refreshing to see? We wanted to attempt to fuse the feeling of longing to be a free person with Persona, so the staff talked about tackling this interesting genre and that’s when it came about.
Why did you decide to go with the “Phantom Thief” approach?
It is a classical genre that is enjoyed even to the present day, and despite its bad words it has an old-fashioned image. It is relevant even in modern times and, if you look, you’ll surprisingly often find it represented in different works.
This segment is an excerpt of a much longer developer interview. A full translation of the 4Gamer interview with Katsura Hashino will be posted on Persona Central in the future.
Persona 5 is slated to be released for the PS3 and PS4 in Japan on September 15, 2016, and in China on the same date for the PS4. It will release in North America and Europe on February 14, 2017.
Translation help thanks to Mystic of TRADUKO Soft.