Persona 3 saved Atlus from the brink of death

persona 3 saved atlus from the brink of death
Credit: Atlus

persona 3 saved atlus from the brink of death
Credit: Atlus

Persona 3 isn’t just the game that changed everything for the Persona series but it also saved Atlus. The PS2 RPG’s director revealed that Atlus was close to collapsing and Persona 3 was almost the company’s final game.

Katsura Hashino, the director of Persona 3, 4, and 5, detailed how Atlus almost closed its doors during an interview with J-Wave radio (translated by Genki). In order to save Atlus, Hashino said they needed their next game to have broader appeal, which is how we got this series reinvention.

Hashino acknowledged some of the problems that came with this approach, pointing out that hardcore fans might be turned off. While the direction Persona 3 took was a wild one at the time, Hashino argued that the opinion of hardcore fans wouldn’t matter if Atlus died.

As many know, Persona is a spin-off from the Shin Megami Tensei (SMT) series of JRPGs, which are known for their brutal difficulty and dark stories. In contrast, Persona has been seen as a lighter alternative to the series with the high school setting and upbeat music.

A Twitter user translates a Japanese interview about Persona 3 and Atlus.
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Credit: Genki (Twitter)

The lighter tone worked out in the end as Persona is now Atlus’ most popular IP. While the SMT series will always be loved by fans, its easier and more upbeat spin-off has overtaken it in popularity.

Funnily enough, Persona 3 is actually the most depressing entry of the modern trilogy. Despite having upbeat music and fun characters, the themes of life, death, and the inevitability of it all might be too much for some. Compare that to the Scooby-Doo mystery in Persona 4 or the super vigilante antics of Persona 5 and it’s clear which entry is the darkest.

Now that the series is ridiculously popular, fans are getting a proper remake in next year’s Persona 3 Reload. Some would argue that it’s too faithful to the original, keeping the dark tone and empty dungeons. However, it’s also adding some QOL improvements from Persona 5 and we couldn’t be more grateful.

Read More: Persona 3 Reload makes it easier to keep Social Links

Persona 3 Reload is coming to PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, and PC on February 2, 2024.

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