Over the weekend, Persona and Shin Megami Tensei publisher Atlus decided to grace us all with the usual annual update. And like a lot of Atlus announcements, the company managed to excite us and disappoint us in the same breath.
The big news here is that the Persona games (or at least the ones you know and love, probably) are headed to Xbox to mark the series' 25th anniversary this October. Not only will Persona 5 Royal, Persona 4 Golden and Persona 3 Portable soon be available on the Xbox platform for the first time, they're also coming to Xbox Game Pass, which will allow a whole new audience to lose entire years of their lives 100-percenting these games. (That's not an exaggeration, by the way.)
More social links — This collection will also come to PC, which will be the first time that any version of Persona 3 or Persona 5 will be playable on the platform. So, all-in-all, this is a pretty big win for Atlus and Persona fans, right? Well, it depends on your perspective. As a Persona fan since the series' PS2 days, I'm glad that more people can finally play them on modern platforms. That said, I'm still a little disappointed, and here's why.
The obvious snub here is the lack of a Nintendo Switch port, which fans have been lobbying for for the better part of a decade now. Seriously, "Portable" is right in the name of Persona 3, but there's nothing portable about this collection, unless you plan on playing the PC version on a Steam Deck. The fact that the pseudo-sequel Persona 5 Scramble graced the Switch (but not the Xbox) in 2021 made many fans think that a port was all but inevitable, but it has yet to emerge.
But why I'm really upset is because Atlus continues to port only the PSP version of Persona 3 (by far my favorite entry in the series) instead of its superior PS2 version, Persona 3 FES. While Persona 3 Portable is a great game in its own right — and boasts several key features that FES doesn't have, including total party control and a female protagonist — it also lacks cutscenes, most 3D environments, and an optional sequel campaign called The Answer.
There are valid arguments for including either version of Persona 3 over the other, and I'll leave those up to the fans. If Atlus could simply step in and build a remaster that stitched together the best parts of both versions, that would solve this problem and silence the arguments. Unfortunately, it seems that Atlus has run the numbers and decided that the least-known entry in a now world-famous franchise just simply isn't worth that level of attention.
Look, compared to the Capcoms and Square Enixes of the world, Atlus is a small company — I get that. But Atlus can do better than porting an ancient handheld version of one of its best games to next-gen consoles, and I think we can all agree on that. SEES forever.