With the huge success of Persona 5 and the Steam release of Persona 4 Golden, the Persona series is looking stronger than ever. An enormous multitude of spin-off games, anime adaptations and manga have also been popular to varying degrees, but there’s one thing many fans have been demanding for years.
Of course, I’m talking about a Persona 3 remake. The original Persona 3 was the entry point of the series for many players, and already has a definitive edition called Persona 3 FES as well as a portable version with another protagonist choice. However, this hasn’t stopped speculation that Atlus may pull some of the best aspects of later titles and spruce up Persona 3 into a true masterpiece.
Here’s everything we’d like to see in a Persona 3 remake.
Bespoke Tartarus dungeon sections
The Dark Hour and the colossal tower of Tartarus undoubtedly make for one of the coolest Persona settings, and I’d argue it was a better concept than both the TV World and the Metaverse.
Its main flaw came with the randomly generated floors within Tartarus, which changed little except the colour of the walls as you progressed. This was slightly improved in Persona 4, where the individual dungeons at least had some distinct character, but it still wasn’t perfect.
In this regard, Persona 5 was a breath of fresh air, and its well-designed, bespoke dungeons are something that should be replicated in a Persona 3 Remake. These dungeon sections should still be within Tartarus, but the blocks of randomly-generated floors before the next teleportation point should be dispensed with. Instead, there should be individualised areas filled with puzzles, gimmicks and explorable segments along with the enemies.
This would greatly break up the monotony of Tartarus and enhance the dungeon crawling experience. Perhaps there could be a separate basement level that randomly generated some further areas akin to Mementos, so there would be a natural grinding spot for those who wanted it.
Both protagonist options
Persona 3’s enhanced editions, Persona 3 FES and Persona 3 Portable, both brought something different to the table.
The defining factor of Persona 3 Portable was its choice of a female protagonist, which slightly altered the story and overhauled some of the social links. Unfortunately, this port lost out in some other ways – strangely it was not possible to explore areas and instead you had to select options from menus. Dialogue was typically delivered in graphic-novel style, rather than the 3D character models appearing in each area. Needless to say, this particular quirk should not be carried over and the traditional areas should be included.
In a Persona 3 remake, it would also be a no-brainer to include both protagonist choices, and implement a New Game+ with the option of carrying over some playthrough benefits whilst playing as the different protagonist the next time around. I’m sure this would spice up subsequent playthroughs and make people far keener to experience the story again from a different perspective.
The Answer improvements
As for Persona 3 FES, this added an additional story section called the Answer, where players could pick up after the end of the main story and continue with around another 20 hours of gameplay where Aigis took the lead.
I personally wasn’t a huge fan of this. Without spoiling anything, it was a grindy affair that didn’t include any additional social sim elements and didn’t even permit you to leave the dungeon area to explore Iwatodai.
Despite its overlong nature, The Answer had some decent closure, so I wouldn’t want a Persona 3 Remake to ditch it altogether, but I would once again like to see the dungeon-crawling adapted with individualised dungeon design, along with some new social links and the ability to visit the outside world again.
Music and graphics
Persona has spoiled us with its music over the years, and Persona 3 is no exception. Burn My Dread, Mass Destruction and Memories Of You are some of the best tracks in the series, and a Persona 3 remake would be a great excuse for some further additions.
An extra battle theme would be very welcome, but the Atlus sound department can hardly put a foot wrong in my book. If you can make this many rhythm spin-offs, you must be doing something right (for the record, I love them!).
Meanwhile, the graphics are an obvious area of improvement since the PS2 era hasn’t aged too well. Persona doesn’t demand anything groundbreaking, and simply replicating visuals on par with Persona 5 would still be a massive step forwards for a Persona 3 Remake. The character models on display in Persona 3 Dancing in Moonlight are a great template to use, oozing the trademark style of the Persona series.
Fully controllable characters
Persona 3 went for something a bit maverick upon its initial release. Despite being a turn-based battle system, the main character was the only one actually controllable. Instead, the protagonist could only give some general tactical direction to the rest before hoping for the best.
I can see what they were going for, making the experience feel exclusively like you were in the shoes of the protagonist and no-one else. However, after Persona 4 and Persona 5 allowed direct commands, it would be virtually impossible to go back. Everyone’s individual autonomy sounds all well and good, but when the latest boss is down to his last inch of health and Mitsuru decides to cast Marin Karin yet again, it’s just a little rage-inducing.
Also, there was a bizarre mechanic where party members would sometimes decide they were too tired and simply head home in the middle of a Tartarus expedition. This needs to scrapped – characters aren’t permitted to leave until their leader dismisses them!
An extra area with more activities
The city of Iwatodai had its fair share of locations, but it pales in comparison to Persona 5’s version of Tokyo, and even the sleepy town of Inaba had more activities to be carried out.
This is understandable, given Persona 3 came first, but a remake would be the perfect chance to add an extra area, or at the very least some new hobbies for either protagonist to utilise in the existing ones. Persona 5 Royal’s addition of Kichijoji was excellent, with Penguin Sniper and the Jazz Club being the pick of the bunch. As such, my preference would be an entirely new area added to the map, like a multi-purpose entertainment area along the lines of Shibuya or Shinjuku.
Since we got a new darts mini-game in Persona 5 Royal, perhaps Persona 3 Remake could give us the opportunity to play a proper game of pool rather than simply selecting shot options. I’d also love a Yakuza-esque karaoke activity that relied on some skill and timing to boost social stats even more. Both of these options could be enjoyed with social link partners to snag some handy music notes along with the stat increases.
Social Link tweaks
Again, owing to Persona 3’s earlier release, there were considerable Quality of Life improvements within Persona 4 and Persona 5. These should certainly be replicated within a Persona 3 Remake.
The original did not give you the choice of whether to romantically engage with a social link, and it was easy to inadvertently break someone’s heart which could cost you precious time to resolve.
There should definitely be a choice either way of how you wanted the relationship to pan out, and let’s face it – I’m sure we’d all appreciate a true harem route (just me?). It was actually possible to romance multiple characters as long as you did it one at a time, but unlike the later games there weren’t exactly any consequences when you did it.
Furthermore, it would be another no-brainer to add a couple more social links to the mix, since I enjoyed Maruki and Kasumi’s additions so much in Persona 5 Royal. These could be fresh characters or even existing ones. Chidori or Takaya from Strega could be interesting, as antagonist social links are certainly not unheard of.
Finally, gameplay perks granted from social links should be implemented along the same lines as Persona 5, which granted bespoke abilities for each Arcana.
In Persona 3, although you could fuse personas in the Velvet Room as normal, the main way of acquiring new personas was via a randomised card system at the end of a battle.
Like the autonomous party members, this one feels dated as well. Persona 5’s negotiation system was a much better method of adding a somewhat tense exchange which could often be figured out by checking the personality type in the top of the screen. Having more control over persona acquisition would be most welcome in Persona 3 Remake.
Admittedly, even here the correct dialogue options were sometimes difficult to decipher. If these were tweaked to make things a bit clearer, it would prove a far superior way of adding to your array of personas.
Will we get a Persona 3 Remake?
Never say never. We live in an age of near-constant remakes, remasters and definitive editions. The fact that Persona 3 already has two doesn’t put me off, since the latest was over a decade ago. In that time the Persona IP has grown considerably, and I’d suggest there is definitely a market for this one.
Atlus has proven time and time again they are more than willing to milk each game for all its worth, with a formidable number of spin-offs in various genres. The 25th Anniversary of Persona has seen Atlus promise a series of big announcements over the next year. Surely Persona 6 will be one of them, but a Persona 3 Remake? I wouldn’t be surprised at all.