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When I first started the Persona series, I thought nothing could top or improve my first experience with the games, but I was wrong. After hundreds of hours of gameplay, I found each title in the series an improvement on the next. Whether it be battle mechanics, characterization, or just the general story/experience, I was impressed with every title’s ability to improve on the last title.
With the release of Persona 5, our hearts were stolen as we fell in love with the immersive universe and the phantom thieves of hearts. As the credits rolled and tears streamed down my face, I thought to myself “nothing could top this”.
I felt like over the past 100 hours or so I made friends with the characters and actually changed the world. However, every time I’ve beaten a mainline Persona title, this has been a recurring thought, and ATLUS continues to surprise and surpass our expectations.
In a recent interview with ATLUS Japan, ATLUS stated that their goal was to surpass their most recent hit, which is quite an undertaking, considering the outstanding response from last year’s P5. How could a game that has received multiple 10/10 review scores and described as a close-to-perfect title be improved?
We have a few ideas to make the experience even better, and fresh, and appease both old and new fans of the series. Here’s our Persona 6 wishlist / 19 Persona 6 ideas we want to see in the next game:
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A Full Calendar Year and a Bigger World
Persona games run on a day-by-day calendar system. Although Persona 5 had an extensive calendar, what about a full year? In Persona 3-5, we saw a time skip of a few months between the final battles. If Persona 6 went a full calendar year, it would have the potential to be even bigger and have an even longer story. Persona 5’s story was very long but well executed, so the challenge in the new games would be to make sure it doesn’t drag on. Another challenge would be making the world even bigger than the streets of Shibuya.
The question is how. In past interviews, it was revealed that Persona 5 was supposed to be about backpacking and making a trip around the world. Maybe the next Persona game could feature several locations across Japan or even internationally, which would make it even bigger and the full calendar more justified. There is a ton of potential with this theme, including changing the world city by city or fighting enemies in different locations.
Open World Exploration
Tokyo in Persona 5 was vibrant and full of life, but imagine a more expansive, open-world setting. Picture bustling streets, hidden alleyways, and secret locations waiting to be discovered. An open-world Tokyo (or another city) would provide players with a sense of freedom and immersion unparalleled in previous titles. It’s not tough to imagine an open world Persona 6, as it already has a lot of typical open world game elements baked right in.
Expanded Social Links/Confidants
One of the standout features of the Persona series is its Social Link (or Confidant) system, where players build relationships with various characters, unlocking bonuses and story insights. While Persona 5 offered a diverse cast of characters to interact with, there’s always room for more depth. Fans hope for more branching storylines, where choices genuinely impact the outcome of these relationships, leading to a myriad of possibilities and replay value.
An Older, 20-something Cast and Unexplored Setting
There is one thing all of the recent Persona titles have in common: a cast set in a high school. Although high school is considered the prime of one’s life in Japan and has many opportunities for stories, events, and more, it would be nice to see older party members and characters. At one point, the main Persona demographic was in high school, but most of us have grown up. This was revealed in one of their surveys, which said most of the fanbase is in their 20s now.
With games like Devil Survivor, Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers, and Persona 2: Eternal Punishment having an older cast, it would be nice to see characters in their 20s trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives. This allows for many unexplored settings, such as a college campus, a work environment, or maybe even several young adults in different places in their lives coming together. There are so many opportunities with this age demographic, and a college campus would allow for fun year-round events as well.
Customization adds a personal touch to any RPG. Fans are hoping for more options to tailor their experience in Persona 6. This could range from character appearance modifications to room decorations and even unique Persona designs, allowing players to truly make the game their own.
Diverse Protagonist Options
The Persona series has traditionally featured a male protagonist, but there’s a growing demand for more diverse options. Whether it’s choosing the gender, background, or even personality of the main character, these choices could lead to varied story elements, interactions, and outcomes, making each playthrough unique.
Persona has had several male protagonists, but we have had a few front-running ladies in the past. Maya Amano in Persona 2: Eternal Punishment and Minako Arisato in Persona 3: Portable were great characters that added different perspectives to the universe, and in some cases, an entirely new story experience. Whenever Persona 6 releases, it would be nice to have one of two things: either a female protagonist or the choice between a male or female MC.
The male protagonists in the Persona series are great, but it would be nice to mix it up in the future. Since ATLUS as a company is evolving at a rapid rate, it wouldn’t be too far off to expect the choice between a male, female, or non-binary main characters in a future title, especially since that has been done before with P3P. This would appeal to all fans and make the social experiences fresh and exciting.
Improved Combat Mechanics
While the combat in Persona 5 was already engaging, there’s always room for innovation. Persona 5 fans are looking for more strategic depth, new abilities, and a wider variety of enemy designs. Incorporating elements from other successful RPGs or introducing entirely new mechanics could elevate the combat experience in Persona 6. Adding more depth to combat is always a win in my book.
Dynamic Weather and Time
Weather and time have always played a role in the Persona series, but imagine if they had a more significant impact. Rain could affect combat in the Metaverse, or certain events might only occur at specific times or under particular conditions. This dynamic system could add another layer of strategy and immersion to the game. Games like Forza Horizon 5, Ghost of Tsushima, and Red Dead Redemption 2 all have a dynamic weather system of sorts – and they’re all executed flawlessly. Now, it’s Persona’s turn.
More Adult Themes
The Persona series has never shied away from tackling mature themes. In fact, P5 delved into some deep and dark topics like suicide, stalking, physical and sexual abuse, police brutality, and more. However, fans hope that Persona 6 will delve even deeper, exploring these and other complex dilemmas and issues that resonate with both younger and older audiences, providing a richer narrative experience.
Deeper Integration of Daily Life Activities
School exams, part-time jobs, and hanging out with friends are all integral to the Persona experience. Fans hope that these daily life activities will have even more impact on the main story and character development in Persona 6.
Localization is more than just translation. It’s about adapting cultural nuances, jokes, and references for international audiences. A well-localized game ensures that players around the world can fully enjoy and understand the story and characters. Some things just don’t translate well to American audiences, and it’s these sorts of localization issues that Atlus needs to do better with in the next Persona game.
Inclusion and Representation
In today’s world, representation definitely matters. Fans are calling for a more diverse cast of characters in terms of ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Such inclusion would not only reflect the real world’s diversity but also provide richer storytelling opportunities.
Authentic LGBTQIA+ Characters
The Persona series, with its deep character development and intricate storylines, has always been a platform where diverse personalities and backgrounds converge. However, one area where there’s room for significant growth is the representation of LGBTQIA+ characters and narratives.
In past Persona games, there have been moments where LGBTQIA+ characters or themes were touched upon, but often in a stereotypical or comedic light. Persona 6 has the opportunity to introduce well-rounded, authentic LGBTQIA+ characters who are integral to the story, not just side characters or comic relief. These characters should have their own arcs, challenges, and growth, reflecting the real-life experiences of the LGBTQIA+ community.
The Social Link/Confidant system allows players to build relationships with various characters. Expanding this to include diverse romantic options, regardless of the protagonist’s gender, would be a significant step forward. Players should have the freedom to pursue relationships that reflect their own experiences or explore new narratives.
In the Persona series, we form bonds and relationships with team members and side characters and learn more about their backgrounds and goals in life. One of these aspects includes romancing a girl if you choose. One major complaint many fans had about Persona 5 was that only the female cast members were romanceable.
Considering the theme of breaking boundaries and fighting against the world, ATLUS missed their chance in Persona 5 to include a same-sex relationship. There were hints of attraction to the protagonist in Yusuke Kitagawa and Yuki Mishima’s confidants, which would have made great romance options. Although Japan is a little behind in same-sex equality in games, for Persona 6 we would like to see the ability to date characters regardless of gender, especially since Persona deals with fighting against the norms of the world.
Tackling LGBTQIA+ Themes
The Persona series has never shied away from addressing societal issues, from mental health to societal pressures. Incorporating LGBTQIA+ themes, such as acceptance, identity, and the challenges faced by the community, could provide a richer narrative experience. It’s essential, however, that these themes are approached with sensitivity and accuracy, avoiding tokenism or trivialization.
Education and Awareness
While the primary goal of the game is entertainment, it can also serve as a platform for education and awareness. By incorporating LGBTQIA+ characters and themes, Persona 6 can foster understanding and empathy among players who might not be familiar with these experiences. This not only enriches the gaming experience but also promotes a more inclusive society.
Collaboration with LGBTQIA+ Consultants
As someone who is still learning to ensure authenticity and sensitivity, it would be beneficial for the game developers to collaborate with LGBTQIA+ consultants. These individuals can provide insights, feedback, and guidance, ensuring that the representation is accurate and respectful.
New Combat that Brings In (Even More) Elements from the Past Persona/Shin Megami Tensei Titles
In Persona 5, we saw some new gameplay changes that made the experience even better, more refined, and an overall improvement on the past. For example, elements from Persona 1 and 2 were brought back in like demon negotiation, guns, and PSI/Nuclear skills. Demon negotiation was probably the best change to the combat, so making that even more in-depth would be amazing for the future.
For example, having long, meaningful conversations with demons or having them interact more could be one additional change. It also would be pretty cool to have demons become party members like in Nocturne, or have characters change into the demons like in Digital Devil Saga. Themes/story elements from past games such as saving friends from their demise (Devil Survivor) and having a Persona twist to it. There is so much potential and near-infinite possibilities given the past of the series.
A New Genre of Music by Shoji Meguro
Persona music is always unique and has a different theme depending on the game setting. Persona 3 had the rap vocals of Lotus Juice, Persona 4 had happy-pop feel-good tracks, and Persona 5 introduced acid jazz. Depending on what the theme of Persona 6 will be, there is definitely potential for an entirely new genre of music to make its way. Shoji Meguro, the genius composer of the Persona games, is the master of mashing music genres to make unique and catchy soundtracks.
Perhaps we could have a set composed of electronic dance music, rock/guitar, or maybe even a genre we aren’t familiar with. Whatever it is, Shoji won’t let us down. We will have jams for years to come.
New Mythology of the Personas
Although Personas are considered a part of ourselves, the designs are based on several heroes from various sources of literature and mythology. Persona 2 and 3 delved into Greek mythology, while Persona 5 featured famous literary thieves. So what’s next? For Persona 6, it would be different to see Egyptian mythology explored, especially given the number of personas and demons who derive from that (like Anubis).
We also have other options, such as European, Asian, African, Arctic, and more. It also would be great to see Native American folklore explored or even spirit animals/”personas”. Again, it all depends on the theme, but there is a lot of potential regarding persona designs and unexplored mythologies.
More Events/Expanded Social Elements
Persona 5 really did a fantastic job with the social aspects of the game, allowing for even more time to get to know your teammates and confidants. However, in Persona 6, it would be nice to see more, especially after hitting rank 10. For example, maybe new scenes and dates can unlock after rank 10, which would make the social “link” last throughout the entire game.
Also, even more events or even the addition of multiple events might make the experience somehow more immersive. For example, players could have the choice of going to the beach with some of the cast members or checking out an alternate event the same day. There are many possibilities.
Characters that Break Out of The Common Tropes
Persona characters are usually well done – which is one reason we love these games so much to begin with. However, that doesn’t stop Persona from relying on anime-ish tropes some of the time. Note: There’s nothing wrong with this, but it would be nice to see more diversity. Maybe we could see beyond the humorous “best friend” type or the typical arcana archetypes that we see in every game.
It is hard to say this because the characters are already so well done despite being affiliated with certain tropes at times. However, having a more diverse cast from different backgrounds might be a good aspect to consider in the future.
Although Persona 5 was a masterpiece in many respects, there are many aspects to consider when making the next game in the series. There is a lot for Persona 6 to live up to, but ATLUS manages to pull together something even more refined and put together with every release. Adding same-sex relationships, a female MC, elements from other games, a bigger world, and an older cast are all things that could make Persona 6 stand out. We may have to wait a while again, but it will be worth it.