Brett Easton Ellis’ American Psycho is one of the most controversial novels of all time. Released in 1991, the novel follows investment banker Patrick Bateman, a narcissistic, psychopathic possible serial killer in a story so explicit that copies were kept sealed on store shelves. In 2000, the novel was adapted into the now-infamous Christian Bale-led movie, leading to endless memes.
There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but can that hollow, disturbed facsimile be recreated in a game as upbeat as Persona 5? Well, one couple has dared to find out.
Couple Ann (19) and Brian (18) went viral earlier this week for their “Patrick Bateman run” of Atlus’ beloved JRPG. In a tweet, Ann revealed that her boyfriend Brian was roleplaying as the infamous psychopath in Persona 5 Royal.
“My boyfriend has started a so-called ‘Patrick Bateman’ run of persona 5 in which he only hangs out with women he can date and otherwise spends his time doing push-ups in his room,” she wrote online.
The run of Persona 5 was, at first, coincidental, Ann told Stealth Optional. Brian’s playthrough started with him attempting to grind up his stats whilst also trying to max out his relationship with Kawakami, the main character’s teacher.
However, after a night of watching Mary Harron’s 2000 adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ controversial book, Ann realised that her boyfriend was essentially playing the game as the film’s haunting protagonist.
“At first, he was just neglecting other confidants by accident,” she explained. “Then we watched American Psycho together and realized that by doing so, he was basically doing a ‘Patrick Bateman’ run. Ever since then, it’s been official.”
After the initial tweet went viral, Brian’s playthrough garnered a rather mixed response. Multiple people responded to the tweet claiming that it was a red flag, but Ann doesn’t see it that way.
“Oh, yeah. This was a major red flag for people,” she laughed. “There were a lot of people quote retweeting, especially at first with just the red flag emoji or saying so in the replies. I don’t think it actually is though.”
Despite this, the original tweet’s massive reach resulted in a new addition to the playthrough. In American Psycho, Patrick Bateman constantly claims he has to “return some video tapes” as an excuse to escape a number of situations. As it turns out, that’s also possible in Persona 5. Ann told us:
“He didn’t actually realize that you were able to rent tapes until people started asking about it under the tweet. I completely forgot about this feature myself. Oops. He said he’ll start though.”
The Patrick Bateman run doesn’t mean causing harm to everyone in his path. In fact, Brian’s roleplay of the American Psycho main is free of cruelty. Just like the movie, Brian’s Joker’s mean thoughts are kept to himself, instead providing a studied, perfect response to every situation.
“He just picks whatever Google says is the most optimal answer,” we were told. “I figure that’s probably what Bateman would do if he had access to a playthrough of his own life too. Besides, Patrick Bateman knows how to play nice when he needs to, so picking the outright mean answers wouldn’t be very in-character.”
Despite the initial Bateman roleplay of the playthrough taking over, Brian will still be gunning for the game’s true ending. This means that he’ll have to engage with a lot more social links than just romance options. In fact, it’ll mean one thing that Patrick Bateman definitely should’ve done: go to therapy.
Persona 5 definitely isn’t the first place we’d imagine to find an American Psycho-inspired roleplay session. (Personally, we’d pin that on GMOD or maybe GTA 5 Online.) In fact, we’d say that the JRPG’s effortless style and rebellious-but-do-gooder attitude is completely at odds with the haunting, visceral story.
Nevertheless, Brian’s playthrough of the title fits in more ways than we’d at first expect. Outside of main missions, you can avoid almost every character. However, if you want to date — as Patrick Bateman would put it — “hardbodies”, you can hyperfocus on romance.
Then again, there is a surprising overlap of Persona 5 and American Psycho fans. Since the game’s original release in 2016, a number of memes have been created, placing Bateman in Atlus’ virtual Shibuya.
Thankfully, the Patrick Bateman run of Persona 5 isn’t anywhere near as “Red Flag” as it originally sounds. Now, let’s see Paul Allen’s run.