Persona director reveals Persona 3 saved Atlus from “collapse” almost 20 years ago

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Persona 3’s director, Katsura Hashino, recently detailed how the game’s departure from tradition and new features saved Atlus from “collapse” nearly 20 years ago.

The Japanese video game developer and publisher Atlus has been around for some time, and is most well known for its Shin Megami Tensei and Persona series.

The Persona series in particular has garnered a large following among Western audiences, with 2017’s Persona 5 becoming a breakout hit overseas.

However, the studio didn’t always enjoy this level of success as the Director of Persona 3, 4, and 5, Katsura Hashino, highlighted in a recent interview where he detailed how Persona 3 saved the company from “collapse.”

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Persona 3 director reveals how the game saved Atlus

Hashino shared the story on a Japanese radio program called J-Wave Radio, as relayed by Genki_JPN on Twitter.

According to Hashino, when Atlus was working on Persona 3 for the PlayStation 2 the studio was about to collapse and was told it may be their last game. Hoshino urged the development team to broaden the series’ appeal starting with Persona 3 to try and save the company.

As most dedicated Persona fans know, Persona 3 marked a shift in the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona series. The game introduced the popular Social Link mechanic, the Calendar system, and a central dungeon area that centered around the combat system.

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However, Hashino struggled to convince senior members of the staff about these new changes but argued, “If we make a game that just makes the intense fans happy, how will it attract new people? the company will disappear.”

During the radio segment, Hashino said he made an effort to analyze and break down the previous Persona titles’ systems, settings, and themes when proposing the new direction for the series.

Ultimately, the development team accepted these new changes and Persona 3 was a hit among fans. Now, the series has continued with two major installments in Persona 4 and Persona 5.

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Fans of Persona 5 who have not had a chance to play the previous games can do so readily, as Persona 4 Golden is now available on all modern platforms.

Additionally, a ground-up remake of Persona 3, called Persona 3 Reload, is set to release on February 2, 2024.

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