It's No Wonder Persona 5 Took Six Years to Make

It's No Wonder Persona 5 Took Six Years to Make

Persona 5's ambition has pushed Atlus to the limit.

We're at E3 this week, covering the year's biggest gaming event. Be sure to check out all our coverage on our E3 2016 hub!

Persona 5 is everywhere but the showfloor at E3. It's on the badges and the bags, and it serves as the theme for the Atlus. But for all of that, the game itself remains frustratingly out of sight.

Here at USgamer, we're more excited for Persona 5 than pretty much anyone, and we did our best to get some extended time with the development team or the game itself. But in the end, we had to content ourselves with the same nine-minute gameplay reel that Atlus recently showed to the public, though we benefited from the expert commentary of Atlus representative John Hardin. Despite that, we're more excited for Persona 5 than ever.

It all comes down to ambition with this game. Watching the reel, it's evident that Persona 5's development has pushed Atlus to the absolute limit. The level of detail in Persona 5's art is just astounding, with even simple text boxes meriting an animated flourish. Everything about the city, the characters, and the dungeons are denser and more detailed than ever before. It's easy to see why Atlus has been reluctant to reveal too much. They're perfectionists; and after six years, they almost certainly have a lot riding on Persona 5's success.

Even based on the little that we've seen, though, this is pretty plainly the biggest, most ambitious game that Atlus has ever made. They may have even bitten off a bit more than they could chew if their comments on what a grueling process it was to render all of the Personas in high-definition are anything to go by.

On top of the graphics, the dungeons and the parttime jobs have also been much-expanded. The first dungeon, Kamoshida Palace, appears to be bespoke rather than a randomized series of floors like in the previous games. It includes a light puzzle in which the main character flips a pair of switches to open a gate and recover a map, which itself suggests that the dungeons will be much more complex than before.

The parttime jobs, meanwhile, are no longer basic vignettes. Rather, they include interactive minigames that differ depending on where you work, whether it be a convenience store or a flower shop. There are even Yakuza-like minigames such as batting cages. In fact, I thought of Yakuza often while watching Persona 5's gameplay, which speaks to how much more complex Persona 5 looks than its PlayStation 2 predecessors.

Suffice it to say, Persona 5 won't skimp on the content. In fact, if what I'm hearing is accurate, it'll be a positively gigantic game. I've already said it, but it bears repeating: Atlus is really going out with Persona 5.

On the flipside, it's still reassuringly Persona. There are still Social Links - now apparently called "Co-ops" - to be found. Deadlines still loom large, with one shot in the reel showing that the main character is 10 hours from explusion and Game Over unless he can complete the challenge before him. Your social stats can still be raised by paying a trip to the local bathhouse or by successfully finishing a giant hamburger. This stuff is part and parcel of the Persona experience.

From that solid foundation, though, Atlus is expanding in every direction. It's even possible that the localized version will have both the Japanese and English language tracks, though they're only confirming the English dub for now. The amount of work that is going into Persona 5 is truly staggering.

So with Persona 5 just a few months away from release in Japan, I feel pretty good about its chances of being everything I want out of a Persona sequel and more. Director Katsura Hashino, Shigenori Soeijima, and the rest are on a mission with this game, and they don't care how long it takes to get it right. The result is probably the most lavishly designed game I've ever seen - a bespoke gem that is also a positively gigantic RPG.

If this is what we can expect from the final game, then it's been worth the exceptionally long wait. Persona 5 is really going to be something special.

We're at E3 this week, covering the year's biggest gaming event. Be sure to check out all our coverage on our E3 2016 hub!

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Kat Bailey

Editor in Chief

Kat Bailey is a former freelance writer and contributor to publications including 1UP, IGN, GameSpot, GamesRadar, and EGM. Her fondest memories as a journalist are at GamePro, where she hosted RolePlayer's Realm and had legal access to the term "Protip." She is USgamer's resident mecha enthusiast, Pokemon Master, and Minnesota Vikings nut (skol).

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