Many fans of Atlus' Persona franchise are under the impression that the days of Persona 5 are nearly over. The fifth chapter in Persona has already had plenty of installations, fleshing it out into a solid, beloved time in Persona history. The original Persona 5 got an extended edition, a Dynasty Warriors-styled spinoff, and a dancing game. The Phantom Thieves have also had plenty of appearances in other franchises from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate to Identity 5. Atlus recently acknowledged that it's looking into Persona 6, which would suggest it's done working on Persona 5 related titles. It's sad to think that fans might part ways with the Phantom Thieves soon, but saying goodbye was always inevitable.
Does Persona 5 really have to go away to make room for Persona 6, though? If anything, Persona 5 seems to have the perfect set of characters for engaging and entertaining fans of Persona while Atlus works on the next core game in the franchise. Even though there are no known Persona 5 projects on the horizon, the state of Persona 6's development suggests that there's room for more adventures of the Phantom Thieves to come forth while the next game gets made. Persona 5 still has plenty of time to stay in the spotlight before it needs to give way to Persona 6.
Persona 6 Could Be Far Away
At the same time that it started teasing several Persona projects related to Persona's 25th anniversary, Atlus confessed that it's working on the next core installment in the series. Fans believed that Atlus was already working on Persona 6, but now they got a better sense of where the game is actually at. It turns out Persona 6 isn't as deep in development as expected, even though about five years have passed since the original Persona 5 came out. Atlus is expanding aggressively to ensure it has the resources it believes it needs to make Persona 6 a success.
The expansion initiative shows that Persona 6 isn't far along whatsoever. There could be several years still to go before Persona gets its next central title, introducing a new roster of Persona-using protagonists. Atlus needs to entertain Persona fans in the meantime, which is why recent hints about 7 Persona-related projects to be revealed within the next year are a big deal. Atlus clearly isn't making Persona 6 its sole priority right now. It's acknowledging the importance of being patient with Persona 6, celebrating the franchise as a whole rather than knuckling down on the next big game.
That's why it would be strange to end Persona 5's winning streak now just because Persona 6 is in the making. Persona 5's many spinoffs are so successful that Atlus has nothing to lose from adding a few more projects to the list of games involving Joker and the Phantom Thieves. Such spinoffs are appealing to both longtime fans and new players brought into the series by Persona 5. The Phantom Thieves are more important than ever. They're the modern ambassadors for the Persona franchise, and they're pivotal in keeping eyes on the series while Persona 6 goes through what could be a long development.
Persona 5 Still Has Room to Grow
An important reason that Persona 5 shouldn't wrap up as a chapter of the franchise is that there's still a lot that Atlus can and should do with it. For instance, Persona 5 fans, especially potential players who don't have PlayStations, desperately want to see the game come to other platforms. Persona 5 Strikers was once thought to be a Switch port of the game as fans found listings referring to it simply as 'P5S'. Between Joker's appearance in Smash Ultimate, Persona 5 Strikers releasing on Switch, and the newly announced Switch OLED, Nintendo would likely be open to a Persona 5 Switch port. Similarly, PC users are still waiting for Persona 5 to join Persona 4 Golden on Steam.
Persona 5 is also a solid anchor for all kinds of potential spinoffs with different genres and new stories. Persona has tried fighting games before with positive results; Persona 5's Phantom Thieves, as well as some of their enemies, would make a great list of playable characters in a fighting game set in Mementos and across Palaces. Other Persona 5 spinoffs and expansions could include an action-oriented game focusing on Goro Akechi's life story, a game exploring the Phantom Thieves' lives several years after the first game as they become adults, and so on.
Although the ending of Persona 5 is meant to suggest that there are no more adventures in store for the Phantom Thieves, the games that came afterward consistently prove that that couldn't be farther from the truth. Atlus is full of great ideas on how to keep using Persona 5's characters, as well as the game's take on the world of Personas and Shadows. Dropping Persona 5 now would be to leave only the tip of an iceberg explored. There's still room for more characters arcs and more setting exploration using Persona 5 and its cast.
Persona 6 is On the Horizon
Inevitably there'll be a time for Persona 5 to step back. Although there's time for Atlus to release some extra Persona 5 content right now, it wouldn't be wise to flood the gates with more spinoffs related to it once it actually releases Persona 6. As valuable as Persona 5 has been in terms of drawing in new fans of the series, there's also a risk that it could be a distraction from Persona 6 if Atlus tries to focus on both the games at the same time. Instead, the Phantom Thieves will probably someday become distant background characters like the cast of Persona 3 and Persona 4.
That day is clearly pretty far away, though. Again, Atlus says openly that it has a lot of work ahead of it when it comes to Persona 6; it's still assembling the team it needs to make the game, which probably means the game itself still has a lot of the planning phase ahead of it. Fans haven't heard about it because its development isn't nearly as far along as many once believed. In the years before Persona 6 is ready, Atlus should feel comfortable leaning on Persona 5. Considering how beloved its characters still are, there's no harm in letting them remain the dominant influence on the Persona franchise until it's truly time to end their story.
Persona 5 is available now on PS3 and PS4.
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