Sunday, November 24, 2013

Persona 5 in Winter 2014, and More Persona than You Can Handle

This weekend Atlus confirmed the long-awaited Persona 5, with a release date of Winter 2014 for the PS3. Atlus weren't okay with watching fans scream their gleeful heads off with that news alone though, and announced a slew of additional Persona-related projects as well.

Persona 5 - Trailer
Winter 2014, PS3
The big announcement that needs no explanation, Persona 5 is finally announced. For better or worse, the trailer shows neither gameplay nor characters, and so how closely Persona 5 is going to uphold the series' consistencies as in a teenage/highschool setting and demon fusions is yet to be seen.

Persona 4: The Ultimax Ultra Suplex Hold - Trailer
Summer 2014, PS3

Sequel to the critically praised Persona 4: Arena, The Ultimax Ultra Suplex Hold continues the cross-generation story that involves both the P4 and P3 rosters further. Beyond adding Junpei Iori and Yukari Takeba (both from P3) to the playable character list, as well as an unspecified amount of "Shadow" versions of characters, there is little known about how different Ultimax will be from P4:Arena, nor what the overall story revolves around.

Persona 4: Dancing All Night - Trailer
Autumn 2014, Vita
If I learned one thing from the fresh styles incorporated into Persona 4: The Golden, it's that the cast of Persona 4 really love to dance apparently. And what better way to exemplify that than with an idol-dancing-center-stage Rhythm game!
As seen from the bits of gameplay revealed in the trailer, there seems to be a great likeness to the overall game-design of Project Diva here, which is no surprise seeing as Dingo, developers for Diva, are co-developing P4:D. Although beats don't shoot across the screen they do uphold the overall enclosing-circle style that indicates when to press their corresponding inputs, which is also in the Project Diva games. No matter how similar P4:D may end up being to Project Diva, at least it isn't afraid to say exactly where its inspirations may come from.
Still though, there is an extreme little shown in that trailer, and exactly how P4:D plays out, as well as what overall content it carries, is still yet to be seen.

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth - Trailer
June 5th, 2014, 3DS
Arguably the most enticing of the announcements, Persona Q seems to be inserting Persona and its subsequent elements into the Etrian Oddysey mold, a much overlooked, super-hardcore RPG series from Atlus that begun on the Nintendo DS. While the trailer neglects to attribute whether or not the game will be 1st-person, the overall cutesy art-style and animation designs have been used so frequently with fellow (3)DS hardcore RPGs that it seems only reasonable that P:Q be of a like breed.

Fingers crossed these titles make it to the western shores not long after their Japanese releases. And while all of these may seem like an obvious shoe-in as Atlus is amongst the utmost respected kings of localization, there must be remembered that following the collapse of Atlus' prior parent company, Index inc., SEGA bought Atlus. Sega, responsible for not localizing the 7th Dragon series, Phantasy Star Online 2, and of course Valkyria Chronicles 3, make this entirely awesome announcement somewhat doubtful and worrisome.
If you're like me and want these titles, it's already time to start flooding the official SEGA forums with localization requests. If this gen of gaming has showed anything it's that publishers are more than willing to step off the toes of consumers if they are reacting negatively to their habits and plans. So let them know, people! Persona rocks, Atlus rocks, and every single one of these titles look downright dynamite; don't allow SEGA even a second to consider crippling the downright excellent Atlus studios!

***Opinion on "Persona 4" Focus***
While Persona 4 is either the face of, or at least a critical portion of, all of the additional titles, to say any of these titles look like cash-cows a'la Gree's Persona 4: The Card Game seems unwarranted, as each of these games certainly appear to be much more than a temporary mobile application. And while I'm of the crew that does feel the cast of P4 is a bit worn out, the overall weirdness of these titles appear focused not so much on riding the coattails of P4's success, but utilizing it in a way to exemplify some unique, refreshing game-design from P-Studio. Far as I see, 2011's Catherine and Radiant Historia express more than adamantly that the P-Studio hold some incredibly rich and original ideas in both game-design and content, and that they've no issue creating equally superb content entirely separate from the formulas found in the Persona and Shin Megami Tensei titles. If they still aren't finished working with the world of Persona 4, or have utilized Persona 4 as a way to justify making these eclectic titles, I don't think it really matters; in the end it will depend on the gameplay of these titles, and that's something that I truly believe no one has to worry about when it comes to P-Studio.

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