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.

  • bloodiOS

    A proper trailer would certainly help me better understand what this game is going to be about, Hashino-san.

    • Samsara09

      Freedom is vague.They can use it however they like.

      • M3LTY-BLOOD

        Freedom is freedom.

        • Andrew Boyce

          Indeed, though it comes in different forms.

  • Gigus

    I like where this is going.

  • http://lukalovesgames.blogspot.de/ Alkaid

    I’d give hell to finally see a trailer or something. Even a small promo video with ingame stuff would totally suffice! >///////<
    Loved reading this, thank you for posting the interview here, now I can't help but being absolutely hyped!
    Also in regards of the color "red", sounds like Shou from P4U2 could be one of the characters.
    Would love to have a Twinblade as a main character. xD

    • http://www.cubiz.tk/ Auragar

      Shou? Is that his name… that sounds wrong, but maybe not. Anyways! No he is not involved in P5.

      • http://lukalovesgames.blogspot.de/ Alkaid

        I liked the foreshadowing in P3P with Vincent and Minazuki’s design kinda got to me. Oh well~ might be that my imagination just got to me this time around.

        • http://www.cubiz.tk/ Auragar

          Vincent was just a cameo. Which demon is Minazuki, there are too damn many.

          • http://lukalovesgames.blogspot.de/ Alkaid

            Dude Vince wasn’t just a “cameo”, he was in P3P before Cathy’s got announced. He was just “a man drinking alone” at that time and had no name.

            Shou’s Persona is a Tsukiyomi incarnation and he owns both “The Sun” and “The Moon”. In a way. Dunno the specifics yet though. Sorry.

            Edit: plus his shot from the P4U2 OP:
            http://static4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20130926142325/megamitensei/images/a/a3/Sho_in_P4U2_Opening.jpg
            And Minazuki has several meanings in different writings and all have something to do with red. So I guess that’s what misslead me.

            • http://www.cubiz.tk/ Auragar

              I always just consider it a cameo… but meh.

              Tsukiyomi looks awesome though.

              Oh his last name is Minazuki. >.<;

  • GhostNomad
    • Gigus

      Thanks for spoiling p4g for me. Finding out kanji has insurance won’t be as shocking for me now when I reach that part of the story -__-

      • MrFinalgamer

        don’t worry there’s PLENTY of hilarious moments with Kanji (summer event had me rolling on the floor)

        • Gigus

          Oh mai Gawd! More spoilers. Now I won’t be able to rofl.

          • Kobracon

            *psst psst* There are Personas in this game

      • http://vanilladice.deviantart.com/ Dice

        I love this. xD

      • GhostNomad

        Just wait until you find out that you play as Yu Narukami! IT WILL ROCK YOUR WORLD!

        • Gigus

          @Dice963:disqus @gematsu-2cfa47a65809ea0496bbf9aa363dc5da:disqus @mrfinalgamer:disqus @Kobracon:disqus

          You guys are mean :(

          • GhostNomad

            I’m tempted to post more screenshots but I know that I’d hate it if someone ruined the awesome moments for me, so I suppose I’ll be nice just this once :D

    • http://www.cubiz.tk/ Auragar

      xD I always loved Kanji.

  • Zukato

    Oh! I was the one who sent this piece of news to Gematsu earlier. Happy you picked it up! Total hype over this interview above. Time to share it!

  • Eclipse

    Hashino’s interviews are always so interesting.

    I can’t wait for another amazing experience from Persona Team <3

  • MrFinalgamer

    nice to see that this game looks to be going for a darker tone. i love P4 as much as the next guy, but holy crap is the tone on that game just all over the place, not to mention the horrible intro (and people make fun of KH2 for a long ass intro)

  • Budgiecat

    What stupid questions….the biggest things on people’s minds right now is will it be localized simultaneously and will it have Catherine level graphics?

    • MrFinalgamer

      lol of course it won’t be localized simultaneously! we’ll probably see it on april-june next year if we’re lucky (an April release date would be nice)

      • Samsara09

        Yeah.That is quite a good date.Well,I need to check how quick they release.Well,I am sure it is usually on the same year…

        • MrFinalgamer

          well almost all Persona games (exception being all P3 games, because that it’s just that special) release on summer so they have plenty of time to do so. this game releases on winter, so 2015 is a guarantee saddly

          • Samsara09

            better than nothing.

      • Budgiecat

        Ah forget it then if its that far off I dont even want to think about it now. Just will wait till next year I guess

  • HighBrowDrifter

    Things I would like answered:
    – PS Vita? Port? Separate installment?
    – How large are the environments/school? How much “freedom” do we have?
    – Have the Social Links evolved in any way?
    – New combat elements? Maybe Dual-Summoning?
    – Which region of Japan + rural or urban?
    – Will the protagonist talk?
    – Will the graphical style be similar to Catherine, or completely different?
    – Will I likes it? …I’ve become a picky boy ლ(´ڡ`ლ)

    • MrFinalgamer

      i doubt we’ll see a vita version until they make a better version (ala FES or Golden).
      environments will probably stay the relatively same size (ironically).
      dual summoning would be interesting (and not just dual spells like in P3), maybe a return of multiple personas for everyone?

      • HighBrowDrifter

        Well….with the environments, I was thinking the size of perhaps Yakuza (when you are not in dungeons of course)….Or perhaps they integrate something like SMT Devil Summoner where the demon world is interconnected with the real world.

        Regarding the dual summoning….I was thinking either
        A.) Summon two Personas simultaneously and cast 2
        different spells.
        B.) Summon two Personas and fuse them mid battle,
        take two characters out of battle (similar to FFX)…Giga
        Summon?
        C.) Fuse your Personas with your weapons during battle
        for new abilities/attacks?

        Irregardless, I know P5 will be amazing!

    • http://www.cubiz.tk/ Auragar

      -PS Vita port will come in a couple years.
      -?
      -?
      -?
      -Probably both.
      -No.
      -Probably different.
      -Only you can say.

  • https://www.youtube.com/user/GamingHeroTetsuya TetsuyaHikari

    Sounds like a more detailed version of what we already heard back when it was first announced. All I see is fluff here. Give us a trailer, screenshots, or something more substantial already.

  • TheBlackRabbit

    Sounds like dangerous material :0

  • Rikimaru

    Translation:
    “CHOO CHOO MOTHERFUCKERS ALL ABOARD THE HYPE TRAINNNNNNN!!!!!!!”

  • Chris Cruz

    Wonder if the story this time around’ll have a main character who isn’t silent.

  • Kobracon

    Red = my fave color.
    Persona 5 + red = my Fave Persona game CONFIRMED!

    • MrFinalgamer

      but, but, what about Persona 2: Innocent Sin?

      • Kobracon

        i’m sorry what? I can’t hear you over the sounds of P3 and 4

        • MrFinalgamer

          come on, while the original PS1 games lack in the gameplay department, the stories were amazing. hell i would easily put P2 duology as the best persona game story wise

          • Kobracon

            lol ok maybe I went to far with that joke, I’m sry MrFinalgamer.

            P3 and 4 were where I started and fell in love so I have too big a bias to judge P1 and 2 (which I intend to force myself to finish one day despite the gameplay)

            • MrFinalgamer

              yeah, i normally get insanely defensive over the original titles. i started way back with eternal punishment, loved it, then played P1 and just waited egerly for P3 (while also discovering the amazing SMT series). hell there’s a reason for my bias against P4 just for how different it is and how many started with that game, and how people just ignore the others and claim that one as their favorite just triggers my fanboy mode. anyway, sorry if i sounded fanboy-ish in the comment

              • Kobracon

                Hey no worries. I can only imagine how hardcore main SMT fans must feel whenever we mention Persona XD

                I’m glad I knew of SMT way before P3. Good ole Nocturne :D

  • blank059

    When are we going to get screenshots ATLUS?

  • http://twitter.com/kazumalynx Zero

    This sounds really good. It almost sounds like the type of story I would write. You know, if I was writing stories for video games and stuff. ^^

  • new_tradition

    Since they mentioned adults, I really do hope there are some playable adult characters.

    I’m just…not 100% digging the theme. Hashino even says they’re only trying to make a fun game, so it shouldn’t really matter to me, but it feels similar to the “Be Your True Self” theme from P4. Trying to get people to relinquish their shackles of society to do what they want isn’t that dissimilar in my opinion.

    I’m interested to see if they’ll go for more extreme resolutions. I could see S.Links individually stuck with whatever is going on with
    their lives, and then the main characters dealing with their “shackles”.

    As to how they’ll gain Personas this time around, who know…

    • Kobracon

      What I’m interested in is what he means by doing the same things but in a different light.

  • shafiq95

    did everyone just forgot that Persona 2 uses red as well

    • rurifan

      I noticed and for a little bit I had the naive hope that Persona 5 would be more like awesome Persona 2 Tsumi/Batsu. But this interview stomped that hope to death. I guess P3-4 were such cash cows the franchise will be stuck rehashing the rogue+dating recipe forever. :(

    • SOLOmio

      that’s was my first thought when he said “we gonna use red”!

  • Rikimaru

    What if the main theme is ” I CAN SHOW YOU THE WORLD ” FUCK IM DYING

  • $61526767

    Reading this gives me goosebumps and all sorts of hype to be prepared for this game. Why can’t you come sooner?! Going to be enjoying the other persona titles while i’m waiting on P5.

  • りんごタルト@エスカのアトリエ

    Young adult characters, please? I’m tired of cute high school students doing cute high school things. Catherine was emotionally compelling because it dealt with the true pains of love and relationships, and Vincent was a young adult.

    Maybe a character in his 20s would work. Just, no teenagers. Please?

    • MrFinalgamer

      well the whole existence of Persona was basically SMT with younger casts to appeal a younger demographic. they might do what they did in P2 which had both seniors, and young adults as part of the main cast

    • Lalum

      That’s kind of the point of Persona.

    • Andrew Boyce

      Vincent could have just said he had a girlfriend and this whole Banana BS wouldn’t have happened. He is a tool. Just sayin’ brah.

  • tokyobassist

    Sounds awesome. I can’t wait to see where they take the art direction with this one. I’d hope to see something a bit more macabre and less geared towards otakus.

    I hope the new cast is completely new as well because they are beating P3/P4 into a bloody pulp of same ol’ shiz.

  • LordKaiser

    A darker Persona than 3 and 4?

  • SOLOmio

    darker than black and darker than P2?
    imo P3 and 4 were soft compared to 1 and 2, mostly 2. i still don’t like P2 and now they are going back to the roots.