Just a few months ago, the parent company of Atlus, Index Corporation, filed for bankruptcy, and it was announced that Sega Sammy Holdings would be purchasing Atlus, along with all of its titles and properties. Atlus is best known for its stable of JRPGs, the most successful of these being the Shin Megami Tensei franchise, and its very popular spin-off Persona series. Whenever a huge corporate shakedown like what Atlus is undergoing occurs, it can cause fans to be concerned about the direction their favorite games might be forced to take while under new management. In order to head off this apprehension, Atlus’ CEO Naoto Hiraoka released a statement, telling fans that they were very excited to be working with Sega. Shortly thereafter, they announced three new Persona titles, so make of that what you will. The announced titles include Persona 5 (Finally!), an RPG combining the characters of Persona 3 and Persona 4 (all right, looks like fun), and a dancing game staring the cast of Persona 4 (…Wait, what?). Well, if Atlus is fine with expanding the Persona brand this way, then we here at The G.A.M.E.S. Blog have some ideas of our own. To that end, here are some other spin-offs that we feel should be next in line.
Persona Warriors (Jimmy Stephenson – Staff Writer)
I love the combat in the latest Persona games; it offers an enormous amount of customization in strategies and manages to be very exciting. However, there are times when I wish that the gameplay moved even faster. Why should I just sit there and let that demon cast Megidolaon and wipe out my entire party? That’s why I’m taking a page out of Nintendo’s book and suggesting a third-person brawler in the vein of Dynasty Warriors. Players could take their pick of characters from the entire Persona franchise, and then battle their way through waves of marauding Shadows. As they progress through the game, new Personas would be unlocked, granting the user special abilities. Persona 4: Arena has proven that the franchise can handle action games; this would just be on a much grander scale. Imagine summoning Surt to unleash Maragidyne on a horde of foes in a grand explosion of fire, or summoning Mara to…. you know, on second thought, don’t imagine that one; this is a family program. The point is, its a little bit silly to think that all of these horrific monsters would be willing to just wait their turn, so making an action game could up the stakes of the encounters and make them that much more exciting.
Naoto Shinogane: Ace Detective (Jennifer Griffith – Managing Editor)
Frankly, I’m pretty excited about the Persona 4 rhythm game; if it weren’t already announced, that would’ve been my first choice for this piece. But since it has been announced, I’ll have to say that I’d play the heck out of a visual novel/adventure game that revolves around the Shadow Operatives. Maybe we could see the Yasogami kids join up with the Gekkoukan team to look into shadow-related stuff and find other Persona users. It’d be awesome to play as Naoto or Mitsuru to solve supernatural cases with an investigation mechanic like the one in the Ace Attorney series. I could even see room for some brain teasers if the Shadow Ops track down mysterious artifacts and have to figure out how to shut them down. Of course, it’d make all sorts of sense to keep some kind of combat element: if you find the shadows, you have to take them out, right?
Tartarus Defense (Jimmy Stephenson – Staff Writer)
When the S.E.E.D.S. team finally manages to clear out Nix at the top of Tartarus, they look down to discover an army of Shadows making their way to the tower. They have no choice but to summon their Persona to fight off the monsters, who were polite enough to arrange themselves in waves. Hey, that makes about as much sense as Dancing All Night, and would allow Atlus to tap into brand new markets. Obviously, this game would work best as a cell phone game, and it could be simplified to a touch interface. I’m on the fence about how many Persona to be allowed in. On the one hand, it would be much more balanced to restrict it to just the party’s default guardians, but at the same time, how awesome would it be to be able to summon the entire pantheon to protect you. The Velvet Room could be streamlined, allowing players to combine Personas on the fly. Imagine the pressure of trying to build up enough experience to change your weak little Jack Frost into King Frost. Darn it, now I want to play this.
Persona: the Summoning (Dan Furnas – Editor-in-Chief)
Who says Atlus and Sega have to stay in the realm of video games; why not a card game? Yes, some of the Persona characters have already appeared in Weiβ Schwarz, but with the number of Personas available across all the games (and even more if you include the pantheon of the entire Shin Megami Tensei universe), the series seems ripe for its very own collectable card game. I’m thinking it could be structured similar to the now-defunct Magi Nation Duel card game. You can put together a party of two or three characters from the various games, which determines the types of Personas that can be summoned from your deck. Characters and Personas can be divided up either by elemental alignments (a la Magic: the Gathering) or grouped by their representations within the Tarot. Along with the abilities on the various Personas, special attacks, spells and item cards could be used to turn the tide of battle. Players could face off against each other one-on-one or team up for a Magic: The Gathering Commander-style match against their Shadow forms or other major bosses from the games (Reaper battle, anyone?). Maybe the base set could use Persona 3 and Persona 4 as a starting point, and the expansions could add other games in the SMT univese to the card list. Of course, I’m sure someone would be up-in-arms over being able to summon Satan, so I don’t know if it would ever make it out of Japan, unfortunately.
These are just some of the ideas we came up with when we were talking about potential spin-offs; there are just so many ways they could take the series. If you have any other ideas that we can send to Atlus and claim as our own, please let us know in the comments below. Obviously, a lot of our ideas are just plain ridiculous; there’s no way that Atlus would be willing to do something that silly.
Oh…well, never mind then. I stand corrected. Carry On.