ATLUS Devs talk about Persona 3 Reload Changes

Fans asked and they listened

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Persona 3 Reload is definitely one of the most anticipated titles by fans as it features what many consider to be the “turning point title” of the Persona series. Persona 3 really set itself apart from the Shin Megami Tensei titles and even Persona 1 and 2 with its overall gameplay and style which has further evolved as Persona 4 and Persona 5 came along. Now, Persona 3 Reload brings us back as it gives us a remake of the beloved game along with some changed that can give us a refreshed experience as well. In a special interview session we did in Tokyo Game Show 2023, we were able to sit down with Producer Ryota Niitsuma and Director Takuya Yamaguchi as they talk about the Persona 3 Reload changes that have been made as well as other elements to the game itself.

Giving the fans what they want and more

During the interview, we did ask the Persona 3 Reload devs the question of “Why remake Persona 3?” and it turns out that a big reason for this remake being done was because fans kept asking for it. “Every year we conduct a player and user survey to get a better understanding of what the market wants, what the fanbase wants, and what the community wants… [remaking] Persona 3 was [always] a leading request. Taking this into consideration, we started making the effort to remake this title.”

They did, however, mention that a simple remake wasn’t going to cut it for them. They wanted to make sure that the remake was going to be updated in a way that would be appealing for both returning Persona 3 fans as well as for those who will be experiencing Persona 3 for the very first time. Although this did prove to be a challenge for them as it is tough to mess around with something so beloved by fans.

As one of the obvious changes in this full-remake title, the S.E.E.S. members now have a brand-new combat uniform. “We didn’t really want to make a 100% copy of the original product… it would have been a bit boring and uninteresting for the fans. Even though it might seem as a simple decision, making even the slightest change took a lot of courage out of us. [This] was probably one of the biggest challenges and hurdles that we had to overcome.”

 

Visually Upgraded while Keeping the Core Story Intact

Persona 3 is a game that came out back in 2006 for the PlayStation 2 – practically 17 years and 3 console gens ago so it definitely will go through a bunch of changes to make the game relevant to today’s gaming standards. Given this, we did bring up just how much changes this remake will entail as some have expressed their fear that maybe Persona 3 Reload changes some things that made the original game as iconic as it was. The devs then weighed in on what the greatest changes would be. “The biggest change is the graphics quality. Everything has been improved to fit the modern gaming experience. So, especially on the Xbox Series X, PS5, and PC (depending on the specs of your build), you will be able to play at 60 FPS as well as obtain 4k imaging. From the story perspective, there have been also some improvements made to accommodate new players as well as returning players. The overall story arc, however, is true to the original Persona 3.” A lot of graphical details were also improved in Persona 3 Reload – from character design to monster (called Shadows in the game) design, combat animations, and more. One specific change they discussed during the interview was about the new S.E.E.S. Combat Uniforms as they took P3R as an opportunity to really let it stand out and emphasize the various personalities of each character even more. It’s something that they’re quite happy with especially with how positively it’s been received by fans.

 

The female protagonist of Persona 3 Portable will NOT be in Persona 3 Reload

 

Speaking of keeping the core story intact, fans who have played previous Persona 3 titles may be wondering if the female protagonist of Persona 3 Portable will make an appearance in Persona 3 Reload. For those of you who don’t know, Persona 3 Portable was released in 2009 which served as a P3 port to the PlayStation Portable handheld console. Persona 3 Portable did have a unique feature which let you play as a female protagonist. Sadly, it was confirmed by the devs that she would not be making an appearance in Persona 3 Reload. “We really focused on Persona 3 – not Persona 3 Portable, not Persona 3 FES. Just the original Persona 3 and how to really perfect that [in the] remake.”

 

A Modern Touch to Gameplay

In terms of gameplay, the devs did reveal that changes were done to keep things fresh although they didn’t run down each and every one of these changes. They did mention though that “the onboarding process should be a lot smoother for newcomers” which most likely means that Persona 3 Reload will be easy to pick-up even for people who will have Persona 3 Reload as their first-ever Persona game. It also helps that they confirmed that a lot of the gameplay changes were based on the learnings, dev team input, and community feedback they got from Persona 4 Golden and Persona 5 Royal.

 

Another notable change that was discussed during our interview was the new Tartarus. For those who haven’t played Persona 3, Tartarus was a tower that served as the central dungeon of Persona 3. It was a dungeon consisting of procedurally generated floors that you had to conquer on your way to scale higher and higher. Certain key floors (like boss floors) would have a fixed layout though. Without going much into detail, the original gameplay of Tartarus risks not being received well by today’s gamers. To address this, they did add “a lot of other features that would improve the entire experience and make it a lot more interesting, a lot more diverse” such as dashing (so you can go through floors faster) and how they removed the fatigue system (which, in the original, would make your characters unusable after spending a certain amount of time in the dungeon).

The devs also mentioned that they will have future announcements revealing more Persona 3 Reload changes that they’ve made to the game so be sure to stay tuned for those! You can check out their website as well.

 

Persona 3 Reload will be released globally on February 2, 2024 and will be available for the PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Game Pass, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.