With the release of Persona 5: Strikers on the horizon, the buzz around the Persona series is once again at an all-time high. Perhaps more exciting than the upcoming Persona 5 spinoff, however, is the rumored Persona 6. Fans have been eagerly awaiting a follow-up since the original release of Persona 5 back in 2016, and while there's little-to-no indication such a thing is in development, it seems likely Atlus would not let the momentum slow down now.
While Persona 5 was the first entry in the series to really be picked up by the mainstream, its formula isn't all that new. Fans of Persona 3 and Persona 4 had already been introduced to the series life-sim JRPG hybrid years before its HD successor released. For as much as Persona 5 improved on these elements, it didn't exactly rock the boat when it came to changing how things operate, and thanks to the enhanced re-release, Persona 5: Royal, it's safe to assume that gamers have had their fill of the hundred hour long JRPG. If Atlus is hoping to reach the same level of critical acclaim and fan praise, it might be time to make some drastic changes to surprise players when they get their hands on Persona 6.
There hasn't been a Persona game to date that hasn't forced players to relive the high school experience in some way. One of the easiest ways to offer up a change of pace would be to remove the restraints that come with high school, which the last game felt similar to anyway. In comparison to earlier Persona games, the cast of Persona 5 often felt closer to a group of a college students than anything else.
When they weren't being forced to go to sleep by their talking cat, players could head outside at night and live life in a way most high schoolers never could. It felt unnatural for the underaged Persona 5 protagonist to be working in a bar, shopping at an ammunition shop, and calling up their teacher to come over and clean their room while dressed as a French maid. Aging up the next game's cast could open up new story opportunities that couldn't be done in past games. It's clear that the game could tell more mature stories, but the high school setting the series is known for may be holding it back. As Persona fans grow older, it would be great to see the series itself be allowed to grow with Persona 6 as well.
The argument that if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it could be made for Persona's fusion mechanic. It's gone practically untouched since the early days of the Shin Megami Tensei franchise, and it still holds up perfectly fine in Persona 5. It's for this reason though that the idea of an overhauled fusion system sounds like it could be such an exciting shakeup.
If there's one thing Atlus could change that might please fans, it would involve devising a way to keep earlier usable persona relevant. A potential change that could be interesting would be having persona evolve through their own forms of social links. As the persona matures, perhaps learning through choices the player makes outside of battles, it may evolve into a different persona entirely. While things are fine as they are now, it's always a matter a time of time before several persona wind up as fusion fodder, regardless of how cool they might be.