Shigenori Soejima, Persona 5 Character Designer, Discusses Project Re Fantasy's Development

He also discusses the difficulty that comes with creating a new party member in Persona 5 Royal.

10.04.19 - 10:27 PM
written by Tyler Trosper

When it comes to Shigenori Soejima, the character designer for Persona 3 through 5, he has a lot on his plate. Not only did he create new characters for Persona 5 Royal, he's still hard at work on the mysterious Project Re Fantasy. But, according to an interview in Game Informer's November 2019 issue, Project Re Fantasy appears to be coming along quite well.

Project Re Fantasy

Soejima discusses his philosophy on the game and its development:

[Project Re Fantasy] is completely different from what I've worked on [previously]. I've always loved fantasy, but once I started working on it, it became, 'Well, what exactly is fantasy and how can we bring a meaningful fantasy game into this world? What can we bring to this sort of genre and game?' And so there's a lot of trial and error and thinking about this whole genre and how to [create] the design. I feel like we are finally at a place where we have a direction and are moving forward with it. Hopefully, we'll have something to show everyone in the not so distant future. We're creating something only we can bring to the table-a very unique design. [It's] something for fans to look forward to.

The game is being handled by Atlus' Studio Zero, led by Persona 5's Katsura Hashino. Though it was first announced in 2016, not much is known beyond the title beyond a few pieces of art, which you can find in our gallery. Here's to hoping we'll hear more about Project Re Fantasy soon!

Persona 5 Royal

With that being said, Soejima also went into the struggles of creating an original new party member for Persona 5 Royal:

It was definitely a challenge. It's always a challenge to actually bring in new elements to something that's already loved by fans. With Persona 5 Royal, there's a new character [Kasumi] that's custom made. We are aware that bringing a new character into an existing storyline, they're not at the same starting line as other characters in terms of familiarity to the fans and how they'll be received. So we're all kind of nervous about how new characters are seen.

With Kasumi in particular, we wanted someone outside of the Phantom Thieves [who is] viewing the situation from a whole different perspective. We also [wanted to] bring her close in standing to one of the main characters, kind of in the protagonist way, where fans will be able to see the story from a brand-new perspective and [have] a new character.

This might be a little bit different in the west, but in Japan, the manga I grew up reading, the main [female] characters always had a ponytail, and their club activity was gymnastics. I really wanted to just shoot for that female protagonist archetype. Maybe in the States or in the west, it'd be [comparable to] a cheerleader type of girl.

With most of the characters in Persona 5, we really design them to have kind of a twist, kind of make them unique and different from what the standard character archetypes might be like, but with Kasumi, we wanted to just go straight for that heroine type of girl.

Persona 5 Royal releases for PlayStation 4 on October 31st in Japan and in Spring 2020 for the West. Project Re Fantasy does not have a release date. Check back at RPGFan as we learn more about both games!

Tyler Trosper
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