What Persona 4 Arena Cliffhangers Mean for the Future of the Series


As anyone who’s played Persona 4 Arena to its conclusion knows, it left players with plenty of questions concerning where the plot could possibly lead to and how its cliffhangers would be addressed in the future, which is something I’d like to observe myself. Needless to say, I will be openly spoiling Persona 4 Arena’s story.

Persona 4 Arena’s main story beats are essentially the following:

  • Yu returns to Inaba during Golden Week (which starts on April 29).
  • The Midnight Channel has returned and shows the Investigation Team fighting amongst each other in a competition show.
  • The Investigation Team decide to enter the TV to find out what’s going on.
  • The Persona 3 characters, now part of the “Shadow Operatives”, learn of Persona 4’s events through Kurosawa.
  • They decide to enter a television in pursuit of the missing Labrys, who was kidnapped during a terrorist attack on a plane and presumably thrown in the TV.
  • The cast are tricked and forced to fight each other by a Shadow Labrys donning a Teddie disguise.
  • The cast eventually confront their Shadow (again), however this Shadow turns out to be a fake.
  • Labrys, who believes herself to be the student council president of her Midnight Channel dungeon, eventually faces reality and comes to terms with her Shadow.
  • Right before the characters attempt to exit the TV world, Labrys is hacked from the outside and is made to fight the other characters.
  • To prevent destroying Labrys, Fuuka intervenes from the outside with her power and disables whatever was possessing Labrys.

Despite the fact that each character in Persona 4 Arena, with the exception of Shadow Labrys, has their own story chapter that can lead to significant story contradictions between them, they all lead to a similar end: the Persona 3 crew, part of the Shadow Operatives, decide to hunt whoever was responsible for kidnapping and hacking Labrys (a person who apparently knows of the Shadow Operatives) while the Persona 4 characters reestablish the Investigation Team and vow to do the same on their end.

Elizabeth - Persona 4 Arena

The questions that are then raised at the end of the story mode are the following:

  • Who is the mysterious girl the anti-Shadow weapons (Labrys and Aigis) are based on?
  • Who is the “Eerie Voice” (the one who hacks into Labrys)?
  • Who is the “Malevolent Entity” (the one who impersonates the cast’s Shadows)?
  • Who are the remaining members of the Shadow Operatives (other than Mitsuru, Akihiko and Aigis)?
  • What does Elizabeth gaining the Wild Card entail?

People have their own theories, but none of these questions have clear answers. The Malevolent Voice, for example, is strongly speculated to be Nyarlathotep, antagonist from Persona 1 and Persona 2, because of several similarities they share such as assuming the role of one’s Shadow, being knowledgeable of the Velvet Room and presumably manipulating Labrys when she was captured after trying to flee her island in 1999.

Shadow Operatives - Persona 4 Arena

What I really wonder is through what means the above questions will be answered, if they are at all. These are the options I can think of:

  1. Persona 4 Arena sequel
  2. Persona 5
  3. Third game in the Persona 4 trilogy
  4. Another spin-off
  5. Cliffhangers never answered

I would have guessed the first option a while back, but now that the Persona Team seems fully focused on Persona 5 and Arc System Works (co-developer of Persona 4 Arena) is focused on BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma and Guilty Gear Xrd, I’m not sure there would be a sequel in a very long time, if it ever happens (somewhat surprising since P4A was one of the fastest selling fighting games in Japan).

The second could be possible, but I would personally not want a possible original story and cast in Persona 5 to be affected by Persona 4 Arena’s plot.

The rest of the options sound improbable to me, so it’s difficult to determine how Persona 4 Arena’s cliffhangers will be explained in the future.

I would try to take into account the time between Persona 4 Arena’s story and Persona 4 Golden’s epilogue (April 2013 – July 2013), but the one line Yosuke delivers during the epilogue referring to the crazy events during Golden Week is far too vague to reach any conclusion.

Naoto - Persona 4 Arena

Basically, who knows where the Persona Team wants to even go with P4A’s story. Maybe it was hastily written with no real plan to go anywhere with it? That would be surprising given that the story implications P4A brings are quite strong and it would be immensely frustrating for them to have not thought out how it would be continued. I’m looking forward to getting an answer one day.