While certain Western gaming outlets have been denigrating the localization of Persona 5 in order to stir up controversy and hate-bait, the game’s director, Katsura Hashino, has taken time to actually thank fans for their dedication and love that they’ve shown to one of the best reviewed and best-selling games of 2017 in the West.
Over on the PlayStation Blog Hashino put together a lovingly appreciative letter to fans both in Japan and abroad for supporting Persona 5, and helping it to sell more than a million copies in a short amount of time after releasing in the West in April of 2017.
Hashino was originally worried about the reception of the game, thinking it was “very Japanese” for the tastes of Westerners, saying…
“Persona 5 is a very “Japanese” story with some political aspects to it, so I couldn’t imagine how Western players would react to it. I did know, however, that Persona 5 was highly anticipated by gamers overseas even back when we were developing the game, so I was curious to see how its story would be received.”
But real gamers have taken a strong liking to the game and the insight into the rich themes of Japanese culture. It opened up a lot of gamers to what the school life is like, what the social aspects of Japan are like, and some of the issues that people face over there (which isn’t too dissimilar to what people face over here in the West).
He explains, however, that the theme of the game centers around topics that typically aren’t addressed in Japanese RPGs: evil from within…
“I think that traditional Japanese superhero stories tend to be about fighting off invaders from outside their society, while Western ones focus on fighting against villains and misfits that come from within it. There’s a sense of society being responsible for creating this evil, and such a setting lets the audience’s imagination run wild, like “it could’ve been me.” For instance, doesn’t the Joker from Batman make some valid points that resonate with you?
“Persona 5 is also a superhero story in which you fight villains that are born from within society, so I thought that it might be received differently than the previous entries” […]
It’s true that Persona 5 deals with sexual and physical abuse happening within the school system, corruption within the legal department, politicians using their positions to commit heinous acts, and how innocent people will sometimes have to pay for the crime of trying to do the right thing.
It was actually refreshing that Persona 5 delved into societal corruption in the way that it did, because it’s such a strikingly poignant topic right now, no matter where you are in the world. A lot of normal people are absolutely fed up with how corrupt society has become from the top down. Heck, gamers are still engaged in years-long battles with their own enthusiast press, battling against corrupt ideologues since 2014 through #GamerGate, even while being labeled as “sexist misogynists” for doing so, not unlike what happened to Akira in Persona 5, who picked up a rather undesirable reputation after trying to do the right thing.
Hashino, goes on to say that there is more to come, and that he’s greatly appreciative of the global support they’ve received for the project…
“I hope that the tale of Persona 5 will leave a lasting impression on everyone who plays it. No matter what kind of project I take on going forward, I love creating RPGs that are both moving and relatable regardless of cultural differences—in fact, I’m most interested in strengthening those aspects right now.
“These efforts are only made possible thanks to the positive reception we receive from fans—not just in Japan, but worldwide—of the Persona series and Atlus RPGs in general. I appreciate all your support for the newest entry in the Persona series, and I hope that everyone will enjoy the new Atlus RPGs to come.”
It sounds like all the love-letters from fans – organized by some on the chans and imageboards alike – managed to get through to Atlus. It’s good that all the real love and support from the community managed to make it through all the noise that some anti-gaming, anti-ethics sites tried to use as a cloud to create a murky relationship between Atlus and the West. Some of those sites even suggested that Persona 5 should have been localized to include less Japanese cultural items, terms and references.
Thankfully, the plans of the SJWs were spoiled by the righteous efforts of the true love that gamers have for games like Persona, and developers like Hashino, along with the rest of the team at Atlus.
(ありがとHashino-san。 から ゲーマーの 愛情。)