Persona Q2 dev on how the project came to be, music, decision to feature Persona 3 female protagonist, more
This week, Famitsu has some of the first coverage of Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth. That includes an interview with Daisuke Kanada, who directed the last game and is producer on this title.
During the interview, Kanada spoke about how Persona Q2 came to be, the music, characters, story, and the decision to include the protagonist of Persona 3 Portable. You can read our translation of the discussion below.
Denser, Livelier, and Easier to Play: PQ2!
To kick things off, why don’t we discuss a little about how PQ2 came to be?
Kanada: When the previous game was released, I was able to garner a great deal of feedback from it, thankfully. I was really happy that people enjoyed the crossover between Persona 3 and Persona 4, the chibi-style characters, and the Persona-esque mechanics and story. PQ2’s development began relatively soon after Persona 5’s development had ended; since characters from both Persona 3 and 4 appeared in the last Persona Q game, I had basically decided from the very beginning that I wanted the full Persona 5 cast to appear in the next game. On the other hand, though, a lot of players said the “horror-like” atmosphere came from the amount of difficulty spikes – and I will admit, the dungeons might have had level thresholds that were too high. This time around, though, I can assure you that we spent a great deal of time making sure that you can play through to the end of the game easily and comfortably.
All-in-all this game boasts around 28 playable characters – I suppose that’s good news to people who are already wondering what their party composition is going to look like!
Kanada: I think so, anyway. (laughs) I’ll go more into the specifics of the battle system at a later date, but for now, know that the “Sub-Persona” mechanic from the previous game is returning. Having a Sub-Persona in addition to your characters’ main Personas brings a lot of variation to the game’s battles, so the player should freely be able to switch characters in and out of their party to create all kinds of party combinations. Since the story is mainly centered on the cast of Persona 5 this time, battles will start out using the battle BGM from that game. As you gather party members from Persona 3 and 4, however, the BGM will start cycling through the battle BGM from those games as well. The player can choose to have the battle BGM be random, or they can choose to have their favorite theme play! (1)
Who is the game’s composer?
Kanada: That would be Kitajoh-san (Atsushi Kitajoh, from Atlus Sound Team), who worked on the original Persona Q. He’s made a lot of cool songs for this game, too, believe me. When working on the game’s sound design, the central keywords were “Retro,” “Pop,” and “Kitsch” (2) – we felt that the soundtrack needed some kind of flavor, though. That’s when I went to Kitajoh- san and proposed working with a “Big Band” kind of sound; he was on board with it! Not all of the soundtrack is like that, of course; the opening theme and the like, however, definitely have a fun and exciting feel to them, all while maintaining a mature and sophisticated atmosphere. The artists responsible for the series’ vocals are coming back in full-force*3, too, so the soundtrack will definitely be worth listening to!
Keeping the Main Series Close and Persona Q Closer
So, you’d say that the cast of Persona 5 is the linchpin for this game’s plot?
Kanada: Yes, but I want to go into that a little more. In this game, there’s no mechanic similar to the last game in which you chose between the Persona 3 characters’ story or the Persona 4 characters’ story at the beginning of the game. In the previous game, we had to make the scenario “versatile” so as to avoid story discrepancies between the two routes. By just focusing on the Phantom Thieves’ exploits in this game, I was able to focus on the bonds between the Persona users and refine the story as a whole to make it feel more complete. More so than the previous game, the player’s encounters with other characters are deeply tied to the story’s progression – I think it has turned out to be quite fascinating, so I hope you’re all looking forward to it!
What kind of things do you think will appeal to longtime fans of the series most?
Kanada: All things considered, I think it’ll definitely be the interactions between the characters. For instance, there could be a battle of wits between the two Detective Princes, a bond between the quick to resort to fisticuffs Ryuji and Kanji; Chie and Makoto could bond over their mutual interest in self-defense… You can even meet Akihiko from Persona 3! The list goes on and on… Either way, I’m sure you’ll have a great time interacting with them all; since this kind of crossover is a hallmark of the Persona Q series, we spent a lot of time fine-tuning it all.
While we’re talking about the characters, it was a big surprise to see the female protagonist from Persona 3 Portable!
Kanada: Although some people might have already guessed from the images on the game’s official site, rather than choosing between a male or female protagonist at the beginning of the game, both will be present! We felt a strong sense of support for the female protagonist for quite a while, so we felt that if we were to have her appear we’d have to deal with her very carefully. In P3P, the content of the Social Links and similar elements changed based on the protagonist’s gender; because something like that isn’t realistically implementable in the Persona Q games, we felt the choice wasn’t necessary. Rather, we were thinking that it’ll be more of a crossover story where both protagonists will hold their own as characters. I can’t really elaborate any more on that since it’s a pretty important part of the story, but I can say that it’s a pretty big highlight that’s unique to this game.
Can you tell us about Hikari, Nagi, and Doe, the characters that are debuting in this game?
Kanada: While the original characters in the previous game stood alongside you in battle, this game’s characters are more involved with the story. It’s hard to say much else about them at this stage…
I see… That means they must be important! When it comes to the story, will players be able to enjoy this game if they haven’t played the previous one?
Kanda: Yes! The game’s story is completely standalone, so if you’re fond of the characters from Persona 5 or have yet to play the game and are interested because of the anime, this game is for you, too! As development draws to a close, the staff is currently working on refining the game’s mechanics, so we’re all hoping that you’re looking forward to it!
*1 – You can increase the variety of songs that play as battle BGM by 9 songs (from Persona 3, 4, and 5) as a pre-order bonus and later as DLC. For more information, visit the game’s official site at http://pq2.jp/
*2 – The word “Kitsch” in German refers to things that are an imitation, a sham, or worldly. This game uses it in the sense that Japanese fashion does, meaning colorful or original.
*3 – The artists mentioned here are as follows:
- Lyn – Persona 5
- Shihoko Hirata – Persona 4
- Lotus Juice feat. Yumi Kawamura – Persona 3
As a bonus, below are a few character profiles:
Hikari (voiced by Misato Fukuen): A girl residing within the movie theater that the Phantom Thieves have gotten lost in. She isn’t so great with strangers, and usually has her head down, so leaving Nagi’s side would be next to impossible for her!
Nagi (voiced by Kikuko Inoue): Imprisoned together with Hikari, she serves as the movie theater’s manager. She’s equally confused as to what exactly is going on.
Doe (voiced by ???): A strange creature residing in the projection room; he puts on movies for Hikari and Nagi, but his intentions are a complete mystery. He can’t speak, but he jiggles when you touch him.
Translation by provided by Nico Thaxton on behalf of Nintendo Everything
If you use any of this translation, please be sure to source Nintendo Everything. Do not copy its full contents.