The Persona franchise is bigger than ever nowadays, with mainline installments selling millions and spin-offs popping up left and right. That’s why it’s so surprising to hear that the entire series almost ended with Persona 3.

Persona 3, 4 & 5 Director Katsura Hashino recently appeared on J-Wave Radio to talk about the Persona series, and he mentioned that the franchise was in real danger of disappearing back in the day. According to Hashino, Atlus was in incredibly rough shape during the Persona 3 days, and he was told that Persona 3 would be the studio’s final game.

Hearing this convinced Hashino that things had to change up with Persona 3, as it was crucial to woo new fans to the series. There was pushback on this idea from older staff members, as many were resistant to change. When Hashino forged on with the changes, numerous staffers shared complaints about the changes. Hashino responded to them by simply asking the question of what if the franchise dies instead?

In 2023, it’s easy to see that Hashino’s push for change was exactly what the Persona series needed, and it helped bring it much greater success. In turn, that helped Atlus get back on track, leading to the studio’s profile raising considerably over the years.

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10M ago

The fact of this can actually be seen in the game’s core design philosophy, where it consists of day-to-day life with a supernatural twist, allowing them to reuse the same two base areas throughout the game, saving on costs of designing multiple dungeons and a whole world, while still delivering the traditional “adventure” RPGs were expected to bring.