Games

A Simple Reason Why Switch Owners Should Stop Asking for Persona

Can anyone say Shin Megami Tensei ?

Move Over Joker, Here Comes Shin Megami Tensei

Since Joker from Persona 5 joined Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as a DLC fighter, a good number of Nintendo fans have been persistently pushing for the release of the Persona games on Nintendo Switch – or at least ports of Persona 3, 4 and 5. It was always a request that felt more like hollow entitlement than a valid reaction; after all, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots never made its way to Wii despite Snake’s inclusion into the roster of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and neither the Wii U nor the 3DS saw any kind of Final Fantasy VII ports after Cloud’s inclusion into those Super Smash Bros. entries.

Despite this, demand has continued to remain strong, with requests seemingly reaching an apex with the ‘#BreakFreePersona’ trending earlier this year. One may think that the announcement of two mainline Shin Megami Tensei games coming to Switch next year (an HD remaster of 2003’s Nocturne along with the next mainline entry, Shin Megami Tensei V) would be enough to satiate fans and quell some of the requests. But still, a sizable group of Switch owners continues to bombard Atlus with requests for Persona, when the fact of the matter is that Nintendo Switch ports of Persona now feel less vital than ever.

Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne Demi-Fiend.

While most with an interest in Persona already know this, it’s worth reiterating that the franchise initially started as a spin-off from the main Shin Megami Tensei franchise, before dropping the branding altogether with 2012’s Persona 4 Golden. Since then, the two have been separate entities, with Persona being the slightly more approachable of the two due to its generally lighter tone and social sim aspects. While Persona is an excellent series in its own right, its more beginner-friendly nature doesn’t necessarily make it a better game. In fact, Switch fans should be celebrating the fact that the next mainline entry in one on the most influential and unique JRPG franchises is coming exclusively to the platform, along with a remaster of one of the most revered entries in the series.

The distinct and niche nature of Shin Megami Tensei makes it a more alluring game to have access to in some ways. It shares the similarly addictive fusion systems and snappy turn-based combat as the Persona series, but exchanges the pseudo-visual-novel elements and anime-inspired aesthetic for something more divergent from the typical conventions of popular Japanese games. The more persistently bleak and oppressive tone of the mainline entries is something that can be found in very few other games, while the RPG mechanics make the titles just as enjoyable to play as any of their best contemporaries.

Shin Megami Tensei V protagonist.

Comparatively, Persona’s individual components don’t feel as novel, even if the execution manages to eclipse most of its competitors. Despite being a turn-based strategy game as opposed to a turn-based JRPG, last year’s Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a Switch exclusive that offers a lot of the same appeal as Persona, with its social mingling’s, strategic gameplay and general art style ticking a lot of the same boxes. It’s not a direct comparison, but it goes to show that there are other games filling a lot of the same niches as Persona. Meanwhile, the Shin Megami Tensei games exist as entities that feel almost completely alien from the rest of the genre.

Games that truly stand out in an industry that often feels crowded by the same ideas and trends are truly admirable. What’s even more admirable is when those games manage to deliver unmistakable quality alongside their distinct identities, and the mainline Shin Megami Tensei installments have been delivering on this notion for over 30 years now. So, is it really justifiable for a vocal group of Switch owners to constantly beg for Persona to come to the system when they’re being treated to two key entries from its older – and arguable cooler – sibling next year? Instead of begging for Persona ports on Switch, owners of the system should be ecstatic with the fact that they’re getting exclusive dibs on what is likely to be another stellar entry in an incredible franchise; the franchise that birthed Persona, no less.

Francis

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4 comments

Col July 28, 2020 at 8:13 am

How come whenever stuff like Wonderful 101 skip Xbox they are allowed to petition against it?
How come when Octopath Traveller skips PS4 they are allowed to petition against it?
How come when PC owners ask for God of War they are allowed to get away with it?
How come every group is allowed to ask for Bayonetta 2 and Asral Chain?

You cannot single out a group especially when you know full well SMT V is likely a timed exclusive. This is where the corruption in video game journalism comes from. Notice you call this out but you do not address the fact that Sony is diverting their resources away from PS4 by porting PS4 games to PC instead of porting PS3 games to PS4.

If Xbox owners can complain, if PS4 owners can complain, if PC owners can complain then Switch owners have a right to as well.

And if anybody says “Switch owners go further” seriously just get off the internet and go outside. The saddest people of all are the anonymous fools behind their computers who feel ashamed because other anonymous people online are campaigning.

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Francis Kenna July 28, 2020 at 9:52 am

I do think the truth of the matter is that the response to Persona has been more obnoxious, though. It’s also been less justified than some of those other examples (bar God of War on PC). I’m not going to write an article about the reaction to Bayonetta 2 when the bulk of that happened over six years ago. Talking about Astral Chain would just be re-iterating points from the Bayonetta 2 conversation; if people weren’t willing to listen to the reasoning behind Bayo 2 being Nintendo exclusive, they aren’t going to listen to the same reasoning being applied to a different game.

The Wonderful 101 not coming to Xbox One was a weird exclusion, even if Platinum later justified the decision (whether or not you believe it was a good justification is up for debate). Octopath Traveler only coming to PC seems like a headscratcher, assuming there wasn’t some kind of behind-the-scenes exclusivity deal there. With Persona, the demand only came from Joker being added to Smash Bros, and history has shown that a character being added to Smash doesn’t inherently mean that a port will come with it.

To touch on PS3 games not being available on PS4, there’s PlayStation Now as one alternative (albeit, not a very good one), and this is a discussion that’s been had for years, much like the Bayonetta 2 discussion. People have been calling out the lack of backwards compatibility on PlayStation 4 since its release, and it seems like Sony is making some effort to address this issue with PlayStation 5. If you want my stance on the matter, I think it’s annoying that PlayStation 3 games can’t be played on PlayStation 4, but I’m not sure how this is entirely relevant to the discussion of Persona on Switch though.

As for the timed exclusivity thing, I’m not willing to place bets on either side of that argument. If SMT V comes to other platforms later I wouldn’t be entirely shocked, but I also don’t expect it at this moment in time. SMT IV and Apocalypse never came to Vita, for example, and Strange Journey never saw a PSP release.

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Russell Morrison July 29, 2020 at 3:30 pm

To be fair Francis Kenna given you mentioned Joker being added to smash there WILL be Scramble on the switch which is said to be a sequel to Persona 5. Also I’m not sure if this counts but DOES involve persona characters there are the Persona q games on 3ds (Main reason I originally GOT a 3ds) So there’s more than just “Joker’s Inclusion in smash” Now I have a PS4 and just this year got a switch but I would LOVE it if people who own a switch got to play Persona games as well I want as many people as possible to play it as its an amazing series….(I played Persona 1 before I did any of the other SMT games so while I do enjoy SMT I have preference for Persona over that).

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Francis Kenna July 29, 2020 at 10:00 pm

Scramble coming to Switch is definitely an odd choice, but I don’t think it’s any kind of indication that Atlus has a plan to bring the main Persona games to Switch. If anything, it feels like the opposite. If Atlus were planning on bringing P5 or the other games to Switch it would make sense to announce them first before the sequel spin-off.

Just to clarify, I would be thrilled to see Persona on the Switch. I just don’t think it’s going to happen, and fans should stop demanding it as if it’s an obligation on Atlus’ behalf, especially since Switch owners are getting a good outcome with the SMT titles next year.

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