Persona 3 Director Says The Game Saved Atlus From Collapsing

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Story Highlights

  • The Persona 3, 4, and 5 director Katsura Hashino recently appeared in an interview and talked about the turmoils that Atlus has faced. He said that Persona 3 could have been its last game ever.
  • The studio was on the verge of collapse when Persona 3 came out, and things were looking quite grim for Atlus. Regardless, many decisions made in the game paid off and became a staggering success.
  • Atlus had to broaden its horizons with the entry and target a wider audience. The senior staff was against it out of concerns that it may cause core fans to feel shunned but eventually accepted.
  • The studio is currently brewing a bundle of unannounced projects that are planned to be revealed later this year.

The Persona 3, 4, and 5 director Katsura Hashino recently appeared in an interview with J-Wave Radio and discussed Atlus’ past and struggles. As initially uncovered by Genki on X (formerly known as Twitter), the director elaborated that Persona 3 was the key player in saving Atlus from collapsing into mere rubble. He noted that the burdens were slowly rising on the studio, and Persona 3 could have proven to be its last title ever.

It became necessary for Atlus to broaden its horizon to target more than just a small minority of Persona series fans at the time. The studio during the mid-2000s was not in its heyday phase by any means and struggled a lot to stay afloat, so a slew of expectations were riding on the Persona 3 release.


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Atlus was in a bit of a predicament and had to make a major decision regarding the director of Persona 3. The senior staff at the studio struggled with the ideas proposed by the director; Katsura Hashino wanted to make the game appealing to new audiences instead of targeting a small bunch of fans. The staff was worried that it may shun the main fan base but eventually accepted the pitch.

The title made some serious modifications compared to the first two installments in the series, and it paid off quite well. Persona 3 was a successful release that put Atlus back on track and eventually led to the highly popular Persona 5. The Persona 5 series has generated over 9 million sales since its launch globally. 

The studio seemingly has its hands full with several unannounced projects being prepared to be revealed sometime this year, as previously clarified by the studio. We can expect announcements for the secretive projects, including Persona-related titles, in the upcoming months as the year comes to an end.

Persona 5 Royal
Persona 5 Royal.

Atlus has come a long way since its inception, boasting a huge array of IPs with some of the most popular titles around the globe. We can also anticipate Atlus to elevate the quality of the upcoming Persona 6, rumored to release sometime in late 2024.

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