John Alas
Message From Persona 5 Director Thanks Western Fans
Handing over the reins.
05.07.17 - 12:19 PM

Persona 5 director Katsura Hashino posted a message on the PlayStation blog thanking North American and European Fans for the positive reception the game has received in the west. In addition, lead designer Shigenori Soejima posted an autographed illustration featuring Ann, Morgana and the Persona 5 Protagonist. See them both below.

persona 5 director thanks western fans

As a developer, I am very happy that Persona 5 is being played by so many people overseas. To be honest, it's really hard to gauge its popularity in the West when our team's in Japan; we're not able to see everyone's comments and discussions. It'd be great to interact with the fans abroad, but sadly, I'm stuck in the development room slurping instant ramen (laugh). Persona 5 is a very "Japanese" story with some political aspects to it, so I couldn't imagine how Western players would react to it. I did know, however, that Persona 5 was highly anticipated by gamers overseas when we were developing the game, so I was curious to see how it's story would be received.

I'm going off on a tangent here, but I think that traditional Japanese superhero stories tend to be about fighting off invaders from outside their society, while Western ones focus on fighting misfits and villains that come from within it. There's a sense of society being responsible for creating this evil, and such a setting lets audience's imagination run wild, like "it could've been me." For instance, doesn't the Joker from Batman make some valid points that resonate with you?

Persona 5 is also a superhero story in which you fight villains that are born from within society, so I thought that it would be received differently than the previous entries. Of course it could've missed the mark completely and been criticized for it, so my anticipation and anxiety were split half and half. Since the game just launched in the West, I'd like to look back on it at a later time, once I receive feedback from the Western audience–how their gameplay experiences were, what kind of things they felt, etc. I hope that the tale of Persona 5 will leave a lasting impression on everyone that plays it. Non matter what kind of project I take going forward, I love creating RPGs that are both moving and relatable regardless of cultural differences–in fact, I'm most interested in strengthening those aspects right now.

Last year, with the milestone of the series' 20th anniversary, I handed off the series development to my successors and announced the start of my new RPG project that takes place in a fantasy world. Be it a game set in modern day, like the Persona and Shin Megami Tensei series or a game set in a fantasy world, I aim to crate games that provide an invaluable experience of reflecting on oneself through a journey, while roleplaying as characters that players can deeply relate to.

These efforts are only made possible thanks to the positive reception we receive from fans–not just in Japan, but worldwide–of the Persona series and Altus RPGs in general. I appreciate all your support for the newest entry in the Persona series, and I hope that everyone will enjoy the new Atlus RPGs to come.

And with that, Hashino steps down as director of the Persona series. Hopefully, his successors preserve his legacy and create a bright future for the series. In the meantime, stay tuned for our upcoming Persona 5 review!