With the Persona 3 Portable Remaster being discounted on Steam for the first time, Atlus and Sega Asia Blog have released an interview with series Producer Kazuhisa Wada about the making of the remasters.
Wada has been working on the Persona series since Persona 2 where he was a design special advisor. He would eventually take the helm as the director of Persona 4 Arena and has since produced the Persona 3&5 Dancing All Night Games and Persona 5 Royal. During the interview, he spoke about developing the recent ports of Persona 3,4, and 5 to next-gen consoles.
Why did the company decide to create remasters of the games?
Our biggest reason for releasing the remasters was that we wanted to bring the Persona series to gamers all over the world. Our goal is to establish Persona even more as a franchise, so creating the remasters was one of our projects to accomplish that.
In particular, there weren’t many ways to play P3P until the beginning of this year. We wanted to make it available on current-gen platforms and PC through the remaster. P4G and P5R were also remastered with that same mindset.
With how different the hardware is for each platform, I imagine that porting P5R to the Nintendo Switch was quite a difficult process.
Yes, SEGA really saved us there. [laughs] Thanks to their help on the technical side and in other ways, we were able to fully optimize P5R for all platforms.
What else was difficult about preparing for a multi-platform release?
Unlike consoles, Steam is used on an endless variety of hardware and specs, so taking care of the framerate was our first task. Also, a surprisingly large portion of users prefer to play RPGs with a mouse, and implementing mouse and keyboard support with the UI was quite difficult.
Another challenging aspect was managing version control for multiple platforms all at the same time. With Ease-of-Play Features, the P3P Remaster Breathes Life Back into the Original Game
When I replayed P3P on Steam, I noticed that the load times that bugged me on the PSP were basically gone.
Yes, we didn’t just port the game as-is. A lot of optimizations were made in order to ensure a smooth and comfortable performance.
One notable change was the addition of a quick saving function. Also, if your party is wiped out in Tartarus when playing on Normal difficulty, you can try again from the beginning of that floor.
Yes. We had a lot of opinions like, “Since we’re modernizing the game, how about adding do-overs [to Tartarus]?” amongst the dev team. The quick save function allows players to stop and restart the game in a casual way.
Something that stood out to me, personally–and I don’t know if this is part of releasing a game in the social media era–was seeing so many people reading into the English lyrics in the opening song.
Yeah, that was really surprising. I received a proposal for the song during development for the original game, so I understood its meaning. But to think that people would investigate the lyrics so deeply. [laughs] I’m glad that the team in charge of that took their time to really connect the song to the game.
On social media, a lot of fans were analyzing the English in the opening for P3.
Speaking about P3P, I’d imagine that having two protagonists heavily increased the amount of work involved?
Yes, absolutely. I think P5R still has the longest individual storyline, but accommodating two protagonists was quite the undertaking. It’s not exactly two games’ worth of work, but 1.5x sounds about right.
A lot of RPGs nowadays make the main stories short and focus on fleshing out the sub-quests. However, the Persona series is not like that.
Yes, but we don’t want to forcibly make this game as long as possible. [laughs]. In Persona, the important thing is living each day to the fullest.
One of the strengths of the Persona series is its cast of unique and interesting characters. Do you have any favorites?
I have a ton, but if I had to pick… I really like Kanji Tatsumi and Teddie from P4. Also, I was involved in the development of Persona 4 Arena (P4A), and I became a fan of Labrys, Aigis’ little sister.
There is more and more room for interpretation of the characters thanks to the spinoffs, wouldn’t you agree?
There were a lot of Persona fans at Arc System Works, the developer of P4A, so they brought tons of ideas to the table and were able to create some really cool action combat that wasn’t in the original game. Also, the story mode provided opportunities to dive deeper into the characters, and I think we were able to portray them in a larger variety of ways because of that.
I’m sure there are a lot of things that you can’t divulge yet, but how will the Persona series continue to grow in the future?
We are working on various ways to bring the Persona series to a wider audience. I can’t say any specifics at this time, but please look forward to it.
Are there any game genres you want to experiment with while using the world and characters of Persona?
We’ve already done the genres that I wanted to, like fighting games and rhythm games. We also tried out the action genre with Persona 5 Strikers. The action genre is quite popular worldwide, we’d like to try making another game in that genre later on.
Thank you very much for this interview. To end things, would you like to say anything to the Persona fans in Asia?
In Asia, Persona 5 is really popular among teenagers and people in their twenties. We hope the next generation enjoys our games too, so please recommend the Persona series to them.
We believe that the popularity of the Persona series was bolstered by die-hard JRPG fans who spread their love for our games through word-of-mouth. The anime and action game spinoffs like P5S also drew in a broader audience of gamers.
It’s great to see the Persona series continue to grow and find new fans around the world and releasing Persona 3 and Persona 4 to modern consoles certainly helps with expansion, considering they’re two of the best JRPGs ever made.
Best of luck to you Mr. Wada, we can’t wait to see what the Persona series does next.
Persona 3 Portable, Persona 4 Golden, and Persona 5 Royal are available for PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.
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