Jan 082014

I’ve been a big fan of the Persona series since day 1, so since USGamer recently did an article about what they’d like to see in Persona 5, I thought I’d get in the act as well.

Offer Important Choices

In the original Persona, there were three major choices offered to the player.

1 – Who do you want on your party? This choice was particularly well done because it’s not presented all at once. Instead, you need to reject characters if you want to get a later character on your team. Moreover, there’s even a secret character that can only be obtained if you reject all others AND find all the story triggers involving that character.

2 – Will you do the main quest or the Snow Queen quest? Yes, Persona 1 included an entirely different playable plotline for the game.

3 – Will you see things to the end? Persona 1 and several of the later Persona games have instances where if you choose poorly, the game will end prematurely and you want see the final game content.

Now, with the cost of modern game development, including an entirely different second plot to the game like Persona 1 did is probably too much to ask. However, it wouldn’t be too much to ask for them to have some secondary characters who become main playable characters if you max out their S-Links (playable Yuko or Chihiro in Persona 3!). Or you could have a choice of one of three different clubs and depending on which one you join, you’d get a different character.

Likewise, rather than just have the game end early if you make the wrong choices in certain dialogue sequences, why not have alternate ending sequences all together? 90% of the game could be exactly the same for everybody, but the last 10% could be one of 2-3 different scenarios based on your choices throughout the game (Lawful, Neutral, Chaos).

Make Dungeons Interesting

Seriously, I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to make a huge randomly generated non-descript tower the place you spend the most time with in Persona 3, but it dragged the whole game down. Persona 4 was a little better with its themed randomly generated dungeons, but they were still pretty boring.

If you want to use randomly generated dungeons to help flesh out the game with optional content, be my guest, but please, hand-craft your main dungeons. This alone would make Persona 5 DRASTICALLY better than Persona 3 & 4.

Tighter Integration between the RPG & Sim Aspects

I see two ways to accomplish this one.

1 – Break the rut. Players of Persona 3 & 4 typically will spend a few hours in dungeons & in core story-focused cutscenes and then a few hours in the social sim part of the game. Rinse & repeat until the game is done. By breaking things up with more optional RPG content (unlocked by your progress with S-Links), and the occasional mini-boss or micro dungeon, this will help keep things more interesting & less predictable than “Oh, it’s a new month? Guess it’s time to go through a 10 floor dungeon and help someone find their true self by beating the tar out of their evil alter ego.”

2 – Make the social game impact the RPG. At the very least, if you’re dating or are best friends with a character, that should impact their dialogue in the story scenes. Not doing this is a real immersion breaker.

 Posted by at 12:02 pm

  2 Responses to “Improvements Atlus should make with Persona 5”

  1. My view is I would like fewer sim elements in my persona. Persona 1 and 2 were good games, they just needed an upgrade to modern times. I hope Persona 5 is more like parts 1 and 2 with the sim elements still there but not taking up half the game like they did in p3. I am not a huge fan of time limits on game play, and dungeon exploration time. I like to explore, which is where your dungeon theme point comes into play. I miss my ruins, my dark factories at night, my park get together’s that lead to a dungeon. I also miss being able to just take my time and do everything when I feel like it.

    As for the choices, I do like choices, but I am not a fan of choices that completely change the game early on. I am not a replay type of gamer unless its one heck of a game, and I am a completionist so I hope to be able to do most to everything in one run.

    I hope Atlus can get itself out of the rut it has been in. Shin Megami Tensei 4 was lackluster compared to Nocturne and I hope they don’t do that to Persona 5 too.

  2. Dear Zeboyd,

    I’ve notice that you’re an avid fan of RPGs in general, and like to break down the single most important element of the genre(in my opinion anyway): battle mechanics… I agree with most of your assertions, but I think you may have overlooked a particular RPG series with an “awesome” battle system. The Shining Force series had a very tactical/strategy element to gameplay, with the player taking command of entire armies of class based characters. Each battle plays out in turns like most older RPGs, but Shining requires players to use the environment to their advantage and place infantry in strategic areas to avoid the enemies from flanking your general character(main protagonist)… It’s a battle system that hasn’t been visited much over the last few years(if I’m wrong, and some developer used this system recently please let me know) and I would like to see this mechanic in action again. I loved the Shining Force series as a kid(especially part 3 for the Sega Saturn) and always wished the devs would revisit the IP one more time. I’m low on time, but another great battle system was Panzer Dragoon Saga for the Saturn. Wicked battle mechanics!!! Sad that the original source code was lost, and the new project they had going got shut down by big wigs… At least you guys are making RPGs so all in not totally lost 😉

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