The primary wave of Persona 5 spin-offs seems to have come and gone. First, there was Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight, a rhythm game that dropped alongside a Persona 3 rhythm game. Next came the release of Persona 5 Royal, an expanded version of the main game that featured a much-lauded expansion and a well-received new party member. Finally, Persona 5 Strikers came out just this year in North America. It took the form of a sequel to Persona 5 that merged the Musou action gameplay style with a Persona game’s structure. Persona 5 fans have been swimming in spin-offs, but there could be something else in the pipeline before Persona 6 is revealed.
However, there’s one type of spin-off that a lot of fans have felt is being slept on. Persona 4 was the first game in the Shin Megami Tensei subseries that achieved enough mainstream success to get multiple spin-offs, two of those being the Persona 4 Arena games developed by Arc System Works. Old JRPG franchises dipping into a more complex action format is becoming more common nowadays, but back in 2012, it was a shock to the system. However, both games went over extremely well with fans, and many would love to see Persona 5 get the same treatment.
Persona 5 Arena, or whatever Atlus decides to call it, would make an ideal sequel to the other Persona fighting games. The Persona 4 Arena titles did what few expected and adapted Persona 4, Persona 4: The Golden, and even Persona 3 into a pair of fighting games set after the initial Persona mainline entries. Fighters from the main casts of Persona 3 and Persona 4, as well as a number of newcomers, duked it out across a pair of large and entertaining (if basically written) story modes. It would be great to see a chunk of these heroes back in a Persona 5 context, especially if Yu Narukami and Joker get a chance to interact.
The Arena games have an extremely solid base for a Persona fighting game. The controls are simple and interesting, with two buttons controlling a fighter while two more control their Persona. Special move inputs are simple, and several more actions like an All-Out Attack can be performed by pressing two or more buttons. Persona mechanics like status effects and One More combo extensions have been adapted to the 2D fighting gameplay. These games work extremely well for players of all skill levels, so if Arc System Works returns for another Persona adaptation, not much would need to change for a Persona 5 fighting game.
Of course, a Persona 5 fighting game would need to focus specifically on Persona 5, and the P5 cast can definitely fill out a roster. The full playable roster of Persona 5 Royal provides around ten characters to cleanly slot into the game, and Strikers adds a couple more. With a handful of older Persona characters and maybe an original villain or two, the base roster is more than set. One of the main reasons why Persona fans are asking and theorizing about a Persona 5 fighting game is because it is very easy to conceptualize; the Persona 5 cast, combined with Persona 4 Arena’s gameplay, is surely a winning formula.
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