Persona 5 is riding high as the second-highest rated game of 2017, and Atlus has certainly noticed the broadening appeal of its once niche franchise. The series broke ground back in 2007 when the North American sleeper-hit release of Persona 3 stole the limelight from AAA franchises like Mass Effect, and its fandom has only expanded with each passing release.
Longtime series Director Katsura Hashino took the time to thank its English-speaking fans in an open letter on PlayStation Blog, explaining how Atlus views the reception of the series in the West.
As a developer, I’m very happy to hear that Persona 5 is being played by so many people overseas. To be honest, it’s really hard to gauge its popularity in the West when our team’s in Japan; we’re not able to see everyone’s comments and discussions. It’d be great to interact with the fans abroad, but sadly, I’m stuck in the development room slurping instant ramen (laugh). Persona 5 is a very “Japanese” story with some political aspects to it, so I couldn’t imagine how Western players would react to it. I did know, however, that Persona 5 was highly anticipated by gamers overseas even back when we were developing the game, so I was curious to see how its story would be received.
The letter also explains in depth how Japanese and Western games approach their storytelling in a different manner before finally thanking fans, promising them more in the years to come.
These efforts are only made possible thanks to the positive reception we receive from fans—not just in Japan, but worldwide—of the Persona series and Atlus RPGs in general. I appreciate all your support for the newest entry in the Persona series, and I hope that everyone will enjoy the new Atlus RPGs to come.
Series director moving on to a new franchise
However, Hashino confirmed that Persona would no long move forward under his watch as he has elected to leave it to a successor. Instead, he will be moving on to something brand new.
Last year, with the milestone of the Persona series’ 20th anniversary, I handed off the series development to my successors and announced the start of my new RPG project that takes place in a fantasy world
Fantasy world sounds good to me. I love modern Japan as a JRPG setting, and nobody does that better than Persona. But after a decade in this country, I don’t mind some good old fashioned fantasy escapism. I can’t wait to see what he has in store next.