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Persona Going Multiplatform Marks a Big Change For Atlus

Atlus finally announced a multiplatform release for Persona 3 Portable, Persona 4 Golden and Persona 5 Royal, breaking a longstanding trend of making their games as inaccessible as possible to a wider audience. The ports of the modern Persona trio were announced during the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase for Xbox Game Pass, with Playstation and Steam releases announced a day later. Time will tell on a potential Switch release, as Nintendo are yet to make their usual E3 announcements for this year.

Either way, this marks a big change for Atlus as a company, who were averse to porting any of their legacy games to modern systems for many years until Persona 4 Golden’s Steam release in the summer of 2020. The success that port had was clearly the evidence Atlus and Sega needed to pull the trigger on putting all three of the modern Persona titles on most major systems. 

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There was a period in time, not that long ago, that Atlus was on the verge of going out of business during the development of Persona 5. The company had gotten every last ounce out of Persona 4 with its original Playstation 2 release in 2008 and the upgraded version on Playstation Vita four years later in 2012. Persona 3 and 4 had both been ported to PS3 with their ‘PS2 Classics’ releases on the Playstation Network.

Given that fact, it’s understandable why they thought a PC port would not have made a substantial difference in their financial status at the time. The company’s sale to Sega allowed for the development of Persona 5 to continue and become the global hit that Atlus had been hoping for. Both Persona 3 and 4 had their followings and weren’t poor sellers by any means, but neither struck the way 5 did. 

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Both Persona 4 Golden and Persona 5 Royal are no-brainers to be ported to all consoles, as both are the definitive versions of those games. Persona 3 however, finds itself in a much more confusing position than the other two. No matter which version of Persona 3 Atlus had chosen, they would have been missing something.

The original release of Persona 3 is missing the full party control that would be become a core part of every subsequent Persona release. Persona 3 FES, the upgraded version of the PlayStation 2 game, has full party control, but removes the Female MC route from Portable, and adds a post-game story continuation called ‘The Answer,’ which was not very well received. Persona 3 Portable, the version of the game Atlus chose, does not have the 3D open world to explore like the PS2 versions have, and removes the anime cutscenes featured in both the PlayStation 2 versions of the game.

Many fans had been clamoring for a remake of the third Persona title, rather than a single port that would undoubtedly leave out major mechanics. This is almost entirely attributed to the fact that there is no definitive way to play Persona 3 compared to both 4 and 5.

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