Highlights Persona 5 Royal introduced firearms as an important gameplay element, adding a new dynamic to combat. Persona 6 may struggle to include guns due to the series’ potential shift in theme and aesthetic. The game could navigate this dilemma by excluding guns, finding a way to justify their inclusion, or introducing new elements to replace them.
Persona 6 has quite the shoes to fill once it finally releases. While the Persona franchise has always been excellent, Persona 5 brought the franchise into the mainstream; what was once a niche series has become a genre-defining phenomenon. In raising the bar for the series, Persona 5 Royal introduced numerous changes to the Persona formula which could make its success hard to repeat. While many of these changes are related to aesthetic, story, and themes, there are some gameplay elements in P5R that would be missed if absent. One such element that Persona 6 will have to navigate is P5R’s firearms.
Persona games have always been set in Japan, where firearm access is notably restricted. In spite of this, Persona 5 Royal armed each of its characters with different guns. The game neatly navigated this by making them models, but because of their realistic appearance, they are perceived as real in the Metaverse where the game’s dungeons are set, letting them function. Persona 5’s Phantom Thieves are in essence vigilante criminals, and as so their use of firearms makes sense. Persona 5’s theme was flashier and more pervasive than previous entries and the inclusion of guns fit the title’s edgy aesthetic while introducing new gameplay elements.Guns Changed Persona 5 Royal’s Gameplay
Persona 5 Royal’s guns are central to combat. The Persona franchise runs on an elemental damage system; while it may not be one of the most powerful elements in Persona, gun is an element in the series latest entry, and it’s an important part of gameplay. In Persona 5 Royal, each of the Phantom Thieves is given limited ammunition for each fight. Some enemies have a weakness to guns, so players must conserve ammo while trying to deal out the maximum amount of damage. The base game of Persona 5 only refilled bullets when one entered a Palace and made strategies around ammo usage even more difficult.
Persona 6 is still a mystery to fans. While the game hasn’t been announced yet, it is hotly anticipated and Persona 6 leaks have suggested that it is far along in development and on track for launch in the next two to three years. How Persona 6 will handle its theme and aesthetic remain an unknown. Persona 5 leaned all the way into its gentleman thief theme with codenames, disguises and Palaces structured after heists. These inclusions made this latest entry an outlier. Previous Persona titles were more grounded and mellow in their presentation.
Whether Persona 6 will opt for an over the top theme like Persona 5 or return to series roots with something more subdued remains a mystery, and the game’s ability to include firearms hangs in the balance. While Atlus has proven with Persona 3’s Evokers that it is not afraid of stirring controversies with its depictions of guns, including them in a game with a more subdued theme could feel out place. If P6 opts to channel an aesthetic similar to Persona 5 Royal, guns could work again, but the game might struggle to stand out as unique. How guns will fit into Persona 6 will be determined by how Atlus chooses to approach the game’s theme and visual language.
Persona 6 could navigate its gun dilemma in a few different ways. The first is excluding them as previous entries before P5 did. The game could also simply include them and find a way to justify it. The most interesting approach, however, could be to come up with some new element to replace it. Persona 5’s use of guns as an elemental type could be used as a starting point for game exclusive elements, each with unique mechanics. While there won’t be an answer to how Persona 6 will handle fire arms for a while, the upcoming Persona 3 Reload could provide insight into how the studio might approach guns in new Persona titles.
Persona 6 is rumored to be in development.