Persona 5’s latest trailer seems to point to a return to traditional dungeon layouts
The countdown timer on ATLUS’ official Persona 5 site has finished counting down and with it we’ve been treated to a flood of fresh news about the game, which now has a confirmed Japanese release date of September 15. While ATLUS announced a slew of new details, including the availability of a 20th anniversary-themed Collector’s Edition for Japanese markets that will include an art book, a soundtrack with songs from previous Persona titles, and series-inspired DLC that will feature outfits from Persona 3 and 4, unfortunately, they have yet to confirm when western fans can expect to get their hands on the game.
Despite this lack of new details on a western release, a lengthy new gameplay trailer was released that is sure to ratchet up the sky-high expectations for Persona 5. The footage showcased a wealth of content from the game, including a look at its animated cinematics, the bustling cityscape that players will explore over the course of their adventure and a look at several newly-introduced characters.
As expected, everything looks to be a pretty huge step forward for the series despite the fact the game is being developed for both the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. The visuals look more vibrant than ever and the world looks to be littered with plenty of small details that bring Persona 5’s version of Tokyo to life. However, the most exciting prospect hinted at in the four-minute-long trailer is something we only get a fleeting glimpse of – a massive overhaul of the procedurally generated dungeons we’ve come to experience in the past few iterations of the long-running series.
Several parts of the trailer seem to indicate big changes in the way ATLUS is handling Persona 5′s approach to dungeon-delving, which since Persona 3 has taken place in rather lifeless corridors that change each time you visit them. However, the footage showcased today seemed to imply a more traditional approach to how players explore “The Palace”. In it we see plenty of fixed camera angles offering dramatic views of the areas you’ll be exploring — something you wouldn’t expect to see in worlds that are randomly thrown together — along with what appear to be platforming puzzles, an illuminated walkway over a chasm with branching paths, and even some bizarre, gravity warps that send your protagonist careening through a space-like vacuum.
Another area is littered with hovering platforms, some of which look to have consoles the player would be able to interact with set atop them. It’s not hard to imagine having to manipulate these platforms in a certain way to solve some sort of puzzle or open some inaccessible passageway.
At first glance, these dungeons seem to have much more in common with those found in ATLUS’ own Shin Megami Tensei and Digital Devil Saga games than the past few Persona releases, and I feel that would be a huge step in the right direction for the series. As much as I loved Persona 3 and 4, the dungeons felt rather lifeless due to their random nature. That said, seeing the developer deliver dungeons with a grander sense of exploration and puzzle solving would, at least in my opinion, be a great thing to see in Persona 5.
Of course, this is all speculation, but it’s definitely hard to imagine fixed camera angles and platforming elements handled in a compelling way in procedurally generated environments. And let’s not forget that the game supposedly puts an emphasis on stealth play, which again, would be quite difficult to incorporate in a meaningful way when environments that are randomly cobbled together without careful planning.
In any case, we’re bound to know more about what to expect from Persona 5 with E3 just around the corner, but I’ve certainly got my fingers crossed in hopes that we’ll see a return to more traditional dungeons when the game releases in the west, presumably sometime this year.
So, would you like to see more elaborate dungeons make their way to Persona 5, or are you a fan of the way ATLUS has been handling them since Persona 3? In any case, be sure to sound off in the comments section and let us know.