2021 marks the 25th anniversary of the Persona role-playing series, and developer Atlus recently announced that they have a lot in store to celebrate this milestone.
Starting today, Persona fans can pre-order a bunch of new merchandise based on the series, including clothing, posters, keychains, and plushes, all featuring the main protagonists from each of the mainline games. The new merch even includes pieces for the underappreciated and rarely promoted early installments, which despite receiving PlayStation Portable re-releases are still difficult to obtain and play due the handheld’s age.
More exciting, however, is the news that Atlus plans to unveil seven big Persona announcements, starting in September 2021 and stretching all the way into spring 2022.
Persona, despite beginning its life in 1996 as a spin-off of the Shin Megami Tensei franchise, has since become the more well-known property, growing in popularity with each new release and even spawning spin-offs of its own. Sadly, that attention rarely trickles down to the series’ first two adventures, Revelations: Persona and the Persona 2 duology Innocent Sin and Eternal Punishment, so it’s neat to see Atlus properly acknowledge their place in the series with these promotional materials.
Apart from Perfect World-developed mobile game Code Name: X, there’s been very little indication of what fans can expect from the future of the Persona series. It may seem too early for a Persona 6 announcement, but Atlus has been open about a follow-up to the massively popular Persona 5 since at least 2017, when director Naoto Hiraoka recognised that expectations for the next instalment are high during a recruitment call.
“When we created Persona 4, there was pressure that it had to exceed Persona 3,” Hiraoka explained at the time. “Now, we will have to create a [Persona 6] which exceeds [Persona 5]. However, exceeding [Persona 5] will be difficult with the current staff. I would like to surpass this tall hurdle with everyone who joins us in this recruitment. The workplace is perfect for those who want a creative challenge when it comes to bringing games to the world.”
It should also be noted that we are currently as far removed from Persona 5 and its Royal upgrade as we were from Persona 4 and Persona 4 Golden when Persona 5 was first teased. Just something to keep in mind.
In any case, this dearth of Persona info has naturally only fuelled speculation, and the anniversary merch lineup itself isn’t helping things. Several items are being kept secret in a way that indicates they may have to do with a forthcoming Persona 6 announcement. One particular image of a series of trading cards (seen above) is being passed around as a hint that a reveal is imminent due to the placeholder sitting exactly where one might expect a potential Persona 6 protagonist to join their predecessors.
Persona 6 and remastered releases of the first two games are no-brainers, but how about another Persona 4 Arena-style fighting game? And while the Etrian Odyssey mashups aren’t really my cup of tea, some folks would probably get a kick out of a third Persona Q dungeon-crawler. Heck, I’d even love to see my old-school crushes Yukino Mayuzumi and Eikichi Mishima get their groove on in another Dancing instalment. Persona is bigger now than it’s ever been; Atlus can really do whatever it wants and find success at this point.