Persona 5 is a game about attaining freedom
posted on 02.05.14 at 03:29 PM EST by (@salromano)
Attain the freedom you haven't had living in the real world.

Persona 5

Persona 5 is a game about attaining the sort of freedom people haven’t had living in the real world, according to Persona series director Katsura Hashino.

Speaking in the latest issue of Persona Magazine (translated by Pepsiman), Hashino said that today’s world consists of people “bored and discontent with their lives.”

“They’re at a dead end, chained down to a world of which they resent being a part,” Hashino said. “Persona 5, in that sense, is a game about freedom, the kind that those sorts people haven’t had living in the real world. I want them to be able to attain that sensation by playing through the game.”

Hashino added that the shackles shown in the game’s teaser image represent the idea of a person’s immobility, “unable to move ahead from their current position in life,” as well as the studio’s intent to make a gamer where the players feel as if they can take that next step forward.

“For Persona 5, we’re talking about a different sort of freedom that’s set aside from what those previous games have discussed and operates under its own set of thematic principles,” Hashino continued. “What we’re doing is a team is taking all of these sentiments on various things that we’ve accumulated over the years making these games and portraying them in a new light.

“The part that’s straightforward about all of this, then, is less the raw theme itself so much as how we go about portraying it in the game. We live in a time here in Japan where both teenagers and adults, regardless of who they are, can’t just be idling their way through their lives. The world isn’t a place that lets you be all that passive if you want to get things done and make something of your life. People have to be on their toes, thinking about and engaging with what’s happening around them.”

Hashino wants you to come away from Persona 5 with a new sense of self and understanding, but stresses that as a game, it is first and foremost a work of entertainment, and they don’t want you to sweat the philosophical stuff.

Read the full Persona 5 interview below. And check out Pepsiman’s blog for more English-translated Persona goodies.

First thing’s first, I think the biggest thing that’s on fans’ mind right now is that teaser image for Persona 5. What’s up with it?

Katsura Hashino: It’s going to be a while yet before we’re ready to put out the game proper, but I think that image at least reassures people that there is something definitely coming along. To answer your question more directly, I feel that in today’s world, there’s no shortage of people that are bored and discontent with their lives. They’re at a dead end, chained down to a world of which they resent being a part. Persona 5, in that sense, is a game about freedom, the kind that those sorts people haven’t had living in the real world. I want them to be able to attain that sensation by playing through the game. Looking at it from that angle, I’d say that the image depicts the way that must be endured for that moment of freedom to arrive.

So it’s essentially depicting the underlying theme of the game?

Exactly. There’s a lot of meaning imbued within it. I worked with our designer to make sure it really conveyed and embraced the game’s visual motifs and greater overall worldview. The shackles you see in it are especially important. They naturally represent the idea of a person’s immobility, of being unable to move ahead from their current position in life, but for us they also simultaneously represent our intent to make a game where the players can feel that they actually can, in fact, take that next step and move forward. That image is as much about the game’s theme as it is our creative philosophies in approaching its development.

It’s not just the chair and chains that leave a strong impression, but also the presence of the red coloring it all. Would you say that red is going to be this game’s defining color?

Indeed it is. For Persona 3, we went with blue, and then with Persona 4, we opted for yellow, so this time we’re painting the world red in Persona 5. That being said, red can be a pretty hard color on the eyes, so it’s not without some trouble in making things such as the interface visually palatable when people play the game. (Laughs.)

It goes without saying that fans are also interested in the actual meat and substance of Persona 5, too, and what sort of game it’s going to turn out to be when it’s finally out.

People that have played Persona 3 and 4 should feel right at home with Persona 5, as well. I really want them to be at ease when they play this new entry. Still, I’d lie to make it a little more thematically approachable than what we’ve previously attempted with our other games. The characters in this game, trough sheer force of will,are out to destroy that which suffocates people in today’s society and, again, keeps them chained down in place. I want players to come away from the game feeling like they have that power to take on the world around them and keep going in life. That’s what I’m hoping comes across once people get the play our game.

Sow what you’re saying is that Persona 5 effectively treads similarly complex ground as the previous games, but in a more straightforward manner?

Yes and no. Earlier in my career, I came to the conclusion that they key to making a game that really reaches out and grabs a lot of people is to keep the core theme simple. For instance, with Persona 3 and 4, the basic idea of those games was that by banding together and forming a community with other people, you can get a sort of freedom that you couldn’t just by being completely on your own. That idea came from contemplating how people conceptualize and approach what they see in their lives. When you’re a kid, you tend to have beliefs that aren’t really founded in any rational thought, but feel absolute, right? And then as you grow up, they shift and change under the influence of what other people have to say. The freedom from those sorts of dynamics and to just be yourself was basically what Persona 3 and 4 depicted.

But for Persona 5, we’re talking about a different sort of freedom that’s set aside from what those previous games have discussed and operates under its own set of thematic principles. What we’re doing is a team is taking all of these sentiments on various things that we’ve accumulated over the years making these games and portraying them in a new light. The part that’s straightforward about all of this, then, is less the raw theme itself so much as how we go about portraying it in the game. We live in a time here in Japan where both teenagers and adults, regardless of who they are, can’t just be idling their way through their lives. The world isn’t a place that lets you be all that passive if you want to get things done and make something of your life. People have to be on their toes, thinking about and engaging with what’s happening around them.

We want them to play our game and come away feeling like they’ve found a renewed sense of self and understanding that they can’t be apathetic towards what’s going on in society. But when you’re playing the game itself, you don’t have to sweat the big philosophical stuff quite so dramatically. Persona 5 is first and foremost a work of entertainment and we want it to just simply be enjoyable on its own terms, as well. It’s my hope that people will look forward to playing it without getting too anxious and worked up about how all of these sorts of things are going to pan out in the end.