It has been over five years since Persona 5 launched, and we still know basically nothing about Persona 6. In fairness, it's not like Persona fans have been left out in the cold: post-Persona 5, we had the bigger and better Persona 5 Royal, plus Persona 5 Strikers which built on the foundations of Persona 5 brilliantly, though confusingly functioned as a sequel to 5 itself rather than Royal, as well as being available on systems where Persona 5 was not. Oh, and Dancing in Starlight was also a thing that existed, I guess. As did – write this down, it will be important later – an anime spin-off. Persona 5 offered a rich world beyond the original video game, but its sun has set and all eyes are on Persona 6. Contrary to fan expectations, I implore the developers to stick with a default character at the centre of it.
We've written a lot about Persona 6 at TheGamer, and by we, I almost exclusively mean 'me'. It's an odd game, in that I didn't really care for it when I first played it. The game was too long, and just when you thought it could get any longer, it turned you into a bunch of rats for some reason. In the years since though I have read about Persona 5, written about Persona 5, and experienced the world of Persona 5 through the spin-offs, seeing it become one of my favourite games despite the fact I'm not even sure if I like it. That makes Persona 6 one of my most anticipated titles on the distant horizon, although in a few years time I will likely find that I prefer the spin-offs to the real deal.
Storytelling is why Persona 5 has managed to worm its way into my affections. The turn-based battling is fine, exploring the world is enjoyable enough, but it's the characters themselves who matter. That's why I've written previously about Ann, about Joker, about Makoto, about Futaba, about Futaba again, and about the adults who swirl around the world. In due course I'll get to the rest of the gang as well. There are a range of storytelling styles in the Persona games, with 2D cutscenes, 3D cutscenes, and in-game action all pushing the narrative along, but the peak of this clash of styles is in the anime. Occasionally, the game stops for a two- to three-minute anime clip to play, and for many players, this is the best part of Persona. With a custom character, this becomes impossible. It might just be doable if you were able to choose between a male or female avatar with all their other characteristics fixed, but that's as far as it can go if we want the anime to remain.
Persona is a smorgasbord of stylistic choices, and I'm sure it could still conjure something up with a character creator, but (and I say this as a person who has never owned a body pillow and never watches anime – yes the two are related) I think we would all miss the anime too much. It's always cool when games let us be ourselves, or spin our own yarns through character creation, but it's too much of a trade-off with Persona.
If we want Persona 6 to let us tell our own stories, why not let us be an influencer in a gay, poly throuple with with a trans woman. Told you we wrote a lot about Persona.
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