A translation of a Katsura Hashino interview from the official Persona magazine has revealed new (albeit, vague) details about Atlus’ upcoming PS3 JRPG.
The interview, originally published in Japanese and courtesy of Pepsiman (via Destructoid), gives the Persona series director ample opportunity to wax poetic about the game’s underlying theme, and how the mysterious teaser image of chairs and shackles connects symbolizes that theme. ". . . I feel that in today’s world, there’s no shortage of people that are bored and discontent with their lives," Hashino said. "They’re at a dead end, chained down to a world of which they resent being a part. Persona 5, in that sense, is a game about freedom, the kind that those sorts of people haven’t had living in the real world. I want [players] to be able to attain that sensation by playing through the game . . . I’d say that the image depicts the wait that must be endured for that moment of freedom to arrive."
Hashino elaborates: "I worked with our designer to make sure [the image] really conveyed and embraced the game’s visual motifs and greater overall worldview. The shackles you see in it are especially important. They naturally represent the idea of a person’s immobility, of being unable to move ahead from their current position in life. . . . The characters in this game, through sheer force of will, are out to destroy that which suffocates people in today’s society and, again, keeps them chained down in place. I want players to come away from the game feeling like they have that power to take on the world around them and keep going in life."
The other aspect of the teaser image, its glaring red color, is central to the game, as well. According to Hashino, red is the game’s primary color, much like blue for Persona 3 and yellow for Persona 4. Hashino notes trouble designing the game’s user interface around a color that’s harsh to the eyes.
To summarize, it seems Persona 5 will tell a story about breaking from the shackles of life (likely, a different "shackle" for each character) and refusing to sit idly by while the world, or its people, or their successes move forward. Hashino says this theme, while not necessarily less complex than those of past entries, will be narratively conveyed in a more straightforward manner. Still, "Persona 5 is first and foremost a work of entertainment and we want it to just simply be enjoyable on its own terms as well. It’s my hope that people will look forward to playing it without getting too anxious and worked up about how all of these sorts of things are going to pan out in the end."
Hashino’s call for diminished speculation likely won’t put to rest rumors surrounding the game, including potential character cameos from Persona 3 and Persona 4 and the game’s development suffering in the wake of Index Corporation’s bankruptcy. Persona 5’s official announcement back in November 2013 came alongside news of a Persona 4 Arena sequel and Persona 4: Dancing All Night, exclusive to PS Vita.
Have thoughts or speculation to share on Hashino’s vague hints? What would push Persona 5 to greatness in your book? Sound off in the comments and stay glued to PSU for more.