Back in February of 2020, a viral social media campaign was trending on Twitter among fans of the Persona series. Mainly, fans were asking for and/or throwing around the idea of a #Persona3Remake, which is an understandable reaction in a world where Final Fantasy 7 Remake actually exists. Being that Persona 3 was a very formative game for the franchise, many feel that the modern conveniences and innovations from Persona 5 could reinvigorate the Persona 3 story with a modern interpretation. Obviously a full remake of a Persona game is a lot, especially with the huge jump from Persona 4 to Persona 5. A remaster is more likely, but has very different obstacles.
Similar to Persona 4 Golden, the more likely scenario for the third entry in the series would be a high-res remaster or port to newer consoles. Golden in particular was at an advantage for a modern port, mostly because the PS Vita edition of Persona 4 overhauled and modernized many of the visuals, among new features as well. Unfortunately for Persona 3, it's not that easy. While future Persona games received clear and distinct definitive editions, releases that surpassed and arguably supplanted the original releases, Persona 3's different versions make things a bit more complicated.
The biggest obstacle for a Persona 3 remaster stems from the differences between its vastly different versions. Currently, there's three ways to play the third Persona game: Persona 3 proper on PS2, a director's cut-esque in Persona 3 FES, and an "enhanced" port to PSP with Persona 3 Portable. Obviously Persona 3 was the initial release back in 2006/2007, but Persona 3 FES expanded upon the base game with new features in the base game, as well as added an epilogue entitled "The Answer." Without the Portable port, Persona 3 FES would've easily been the game's definitive edition, but the PSP release has its own pros and cons with its many changes.
Persona 3 Portable makes a ton of quality of life changes in terms of gameplay, but the drawbacks lie in some of the compromises made to bring Persona 3 to PSP. Battle gameplay was expanded to allow for direct control of all party members, a huge change compared to the AI-only party members in Persona 3 and FES. Persona 3 Portable also featured two additional difficulty levels, as well as the ability to guard on battle turn instead of wait. However, many of the 3D environments outside of Tartarus were removed in favor of pre-rendered backgrounds, visual novel-style scenes, removed the anime cutscenes from key story moments, and doesn't feature the epilogue as well.
Remastering Persona 3 presents a conundrum mainly stemming from which version of the game would make the most sense being ported to modern platforms. Obviously Persona 3 FES would be ported over the base game, considering only things were added between each PS2 release. However, remastering/porting Persona 3 FES instead of Persona 3 Portable means missing out on the things added in Portable. Remastering Persona 3 Portable means gameplay supremacy over a ton of visual compromises because of the original PSP's technical restrictions. There's no clear superior version, unlike future examples of Persona 4 Golden and Persona 5 Royal.
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