When is Persona 6 Coming Out?
The Persona series has been a beloved franchise by the company and the players. It’s in the way so many spinoffs have been made for Persona 3, 4, and 5, plus ports for Revelations: Persona and Persona 2. In contrast to their upbeat facade, the games usually touch upon dark themes (yes, even the “cheerful” Persona 4).
Of course, fans can’t be satisfied with only spinoffs and remakes, so they’ve been looking for the next game in the series. It’s been seven years since Persona 5 and three years since Strikers were released. It’s high time that the next game in the franchise appears.
Hints, Rumors, and Speculation
Last year, Atlus celebrated the franchise’s 25th anniversary. They announced various things, showed some merchandise, and made fans happy. On the final day, participants were given flyers. These said that Atlus still had many things to announce but deeply regretted not being able to yet.
Things will be shared at the right time, or so it said. Many have thought this was supposed to be a Persona 6 announcement or reveal. However, something happened that prevented them from saying anything about it. The reasons can cover a range of developmental troubles, though we won’t be privy to those.
There is one thing we can infer about Persona 6. While it could be just a rumor, it concerns the color theme of the game. Previous games have this, such as 3 being predominantly blue (or pink), 4 having yellow, and 5 being red.
The primary source of the rumor is a picture of all previous protagonists for Persona games standing in front of a graffitied wall. Some characters have colorful splatters on them, and Joker is even holding a spray paint can. Beside him is enough space for one more character, a bucket of green paint, and a spray can of the same color.
Curiously, this picture has little to no green other than the mentioned bucket and can, a splatter across Joker, and a flower-like form at the very top of the mural above Maya and Tatsuya. This ‘flower’ has six petals and looks slightly like a clover.
Developers usually use colors to evoke specific emotions and feelings. Persona 3 deals with the inevitability of death, fitting to have melancholic blue as its theme. Persona 4 is an upbeat and somewhat lighter detective mystery, matching with cheerful but cautioning yellow. Persona 5 has themes of rebellion and opposition, making red a perfect complement to the danger they face and the passion they have.
Green evokes a feeling of envy, but it is also the color of plants, symbolizing growth and prosperity. If the game’s symbol is a clover, it could also represent luck and the unfairness of your circumstances. The new protagonist could be someone envying the upper class, being born poor, or something similar. Granted, it doesn’t look as high-stakes as death, a serial killer, and a ‘god’ who wants to strip free will away. Still, depending on the writing, it could be an exciting story.
What We Want to See in Persona 6
Despite being in the same franchise, the flow of time demands that it will have changes to the usual formula. Here are some things players want Persona 6 to have.
A Protagonist With a Personality
Sure, blank-slate player characters are a way for you to project yourself into them. However, the most common way to create one is to make them mute and non-expressive most of the time. It was somewhat averted with P5’s Joker, as he can vocalize in cutscenes and is established as brave. At least brave enough to fight against one of the antagonists, even if he doesn’t notice until meeting him again.
It’s also averted with Tatsuya, who has some personality tidbits mentioned by other characters. Some supplementary materials also detail other characteristics. The same goes for Maya Amano, by being characterized in Persona 2: Innocent Sin while being a mute protagonist in Eternal Punishment.
The protagonists for P3 and 4 are blank slates. They don’t have much background, and you can choose various tones for their dialogs, but much is left open for the player to fill in. P3P’s female protagonist changes it up. Her dialog choices are more optimistic, upbeat, and varied than her male counterpart’s. Still, other than that, she’s a blank slate.
While both styles have merit, fans would like to see more of a character’s personality in future games. There’s little character growth to see if they have nothing to start with. A choice to play as a female protagonist would also be welcome. It was possible for P3P, and Maya is a female protagonist, so why not for the other games?
Shadows That Fit the Theme of the Dungeon
One of the most prominent differences between P5 and the two previous games is that Joker fights against possible personas. He then gets new ones by negotiating with them successfully. In contrast, Persona 3 and 4 let players obtain new personas through Shuffle Time, which adds an element of randomness.
The latter seems a downgrade from the former, but it allowed the dungeons to have unique enemies. Those that match where they are thematically and without having to know trivia about the persona.
The negotiation mechanic also makes it a little too similar to the SMT franchise, which is the origin of this series. However, a distinction has to be made between the two, and this is one easy way to do it. One alternative could still have thematic shadows and have the persona be a hidden enemy to negotiate with.
In some dungeon’s hidden corners is the persona, and you can battle it, negotiate, or it could ask you to do something for it so it’ll join your team. That is a reasonable compromise between the two mechanics.
There was a gay option in Persona 2 if Tatsuya chose Jun as a love interest. In P3P, it’s possible to choose to enter a romance with Aigis, even when using the female protagonist. While the former is coded as female, how much it counts is vague since she’s a robot.
Afterward, the games never really give the choice to do it. Players must turn to fanworks to get their fix and are never officially canon. Subtext and implications are everywhere, but fans need more than that. See Yu (P4 protagonist) and Yosuke’s relationship. Much of the latter’s dialog can be interpreted as romantic toward the former, but it never becomes an actual relationship.
An official homosexual character(s) or other representations of the sexuality spectrum could help the game be more accepted. As mentioned, there are subtext and background characters that do suggest they exist in the Persona universe. Still, putting them at the forefront and making them shine will give players more incentive to play and empathize with the characters.
Especially if the theme does end up as ‘envy.’ That goes hand in hand with jealousy, and since part of the game is the power of friendship, it will work well with it. Love triangles are a cliched trope, but add jealousy and the complications of sexuality in the mix to make it more interesting. It doesn’t tie in with luck, but a case can be made for it.
Waiting Is Hard Until It Isn’t
Since we’ll be waiting for an announcement from ATLUS, here are some things to do to tide you over.
You can play the Shin Megami Tensei games. While they are more challenging than the Persona series, they’re also quite long and have different endings for replay value. Even one will take up so much time you won’t notice it flying by.
The franchise also has Devil Summoner, Devil Survivor, and other titles. This totals a staggering number of games related to the series. Even taking out Persona games doesn’t make a dent. For a sense of scale, there are 6 mainline games and 12 spinoffs in the Persona franchise alone. That includes updated rereleases such as P5 Royal and P4 Golden. It’s 18 games in one sub-franchise, but you can jump straight to the ‘better’ versions with the rereleases. Still, that’s so many games you can sink your time into.
Going through them will surely make the time pass so fast; Persona 6 will be out by the time you finish. That is if you’re not speedrunning them. ATLUS also has the Etrian Oddysey and other games to tide you over outside the SMT/Persona series. Your only problem is getting the consoles to play the games, but with porting and remastered versions, they have workarounds now.
If you want something other than games, there are movie and anime adaptations you can watch. Persona 4 and 5 have animes, and 3 has movie adaptations. There are also musicals, but they don’t show those outside Japan. There could be videos on the internet, though it doesn’t compare to watching it live.
While the information about the game is scarce, many eagerly await it. Until further notice, anything above is just speculation and nothing official (even if it is sometimes treated as so). Things could still go differently, but at least we’ll get Persona 6 out of it.