Atlus has made quite a splash internationally with Persona 5. The latest entry in the Shin Megami Tensei spinoff managed to bring a somewhat niche JRPG franchise into one of the biggest offerings with spinoffs, a remake, multi-platform releases, and who knows what else might be in the works. What makes this franchise special is that each new entry tells a story that is unique with a brand-new cast of characters. Some familiar elements return with each new entry, but it’s still a unique story not shackled by having to be a direct continuation.
There are enough recurring themes and elements that truly tie this franchise together, may it be the iconic Velvet Room, the carry-over demons and gods from SMT, the high-school setting, and many more. Still, each entry is even freer to explore a story that makes it stand out. Persona 2 Innocent Sin explores the concept of rumors coming to life. The fourth entry explored a murder mystery plot in the small town of Inaba, while the fifth entry just had our main characters turn into literal thieves of hearts.
There’s something unique about what Persona has to offer and the wait for each new entry seemingly gets longer every time. Who knows how many scrapped ideas and concepts were left on the cutting room floor? Plus, the games have a strong focus on the Japanese market, which fits with its constant taking inspiration from real Japanese locations. Persona 5 almost took a very different direction but stuck to its roots after how Japan held together following the Great East Japan Earthquake.
So, who knows where Persona 6 might take the franchise, as it may simply build upon what we saw in Persona 5 Royal or even take a completely new direction. Generally, there’s also a good chance that Atlus looks beyond the gaming market to expand its brand; we’re already seeing it with SEGA busy in hoping to bring Yakuza to live-action. So, who knows how long the wait will be until Persona or generally the Shin Megami Tensei franchise gets a similar treatment.
And there is a lot of potential with a franchise like Persona. It’s made for the anthology series format similar to True Detective, which can explore a similar concept with multiple new cast members. Plus, it would allow some of the scrapped ideas to potentially make it back into the franchise by having them as jumping-off points for the new live-action adaptation. Each season represents a new group of characters that face off against unique takes of the shadows that manifest from the hum consciousness.
They could start familiar with the first season by playing closer to home with something that was already established. Persona 4 seems like the perfect template for a starter season given its more somber tone and a murder mystery always makes for good television. They could give it a different twist and simply use the basic template to build a Western variation to ease viewers into the concept. Once hooked, each season can explore other parts of the world also affected by the Shadows and Personas.
Though, the biggest challenge is to also bring the flair of the visuals many connect with the franchise to a new format. It’s not impossible as with smart cuts and visual additions, they could still keep those elements alive. Different variations on the iconic music with strong inspirations from whatever culture and location the latest season explores open up many avenues to add something fresh to familiar elements of this iconic JRPG franchise.
Of course, they could always go down a cinematic route but there’s something bout the build-up across 80+ hours in the gaming franchise that just feels more natural in a long-form format like television. It may just be a dream for now, but if they ever do decide to bring the franchise to live-action, it would be a damn shame if they don’t make use of this concept to explore new avenues across the world.
Source: Persona Central