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Friday, April 26, 2019

Scrambling to Find Meaning With Persona 5 Scramble

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Was Joker in for this?

For some time now after Joker from Persona 5 was announced as a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate playable fighter, there's been murmurs of a “Persona 5 S” that many assumed meant “Persona 5 Switch”. Then Joker was released, and Atlus, the Persona franchise's owner, was promising an announcement on “Persona 5 S” at the same time Nintendo would give their annual financial report. Makes perfect sense that a Persona 5 port would be announced for Nintendo Switch.

Instead, the S stands for Scramble, and the game is Persona 5 Scramble, a Warriors-style (an action genre where your character mashes combos against waves of enemies...the whole game. You may remember it from Hyrule Warriors and Fire Emblem Warriors) game developed by Koei Tecmo for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. Here's the trailer (in Japanese):

A spin-off based on Persona 5 isn't a port of Persona 5, and it's leading many—including myself—to wonder why Joker was selected as a playable character in the first place. The mainline Persona series doesn't have a Nintendo presence. They're not trying to give it a Persona presence.

That doesn't mean that'll permanently be the case.

Cloud was announced as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. For Wii U in November 2015. His game, Final Fantasy VII, finally came to a (different) Nintendo console in March 2019. That's a long time waiting.

It only makes sense that Persona 5 will have real representation on a Nintendo console. I'm not really sure what the rationale is for releasing Persona 5 Scramble on the Switch without Persona 5 on the Switch first, but either the representation Persona 5 has in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is all one needs to appreciate the game, or Persona 5 (or its improved version, Persona 5 Royal) will secretly and speedily be ported and released first before this spin-off (which lacks a release time period) comes out, or when they release Persona 5 later they'll re-remind people Persona 5 Scramble exists with a discount or a bundle.

As far as I'm concerned, one cannot enjoy Persona 5 Scramble—which exists as fan service, not a Persona primer— without being familiar with Persona 5 first.

Persona 5 Scramble Joker musou wave of enemies
That's without saying “one cannot enjoy Persona 5 Scramble”, period, because this is a stupid genre.

I've seen some interpretations that it's a good thing that characters are getting into Super Smash Bros. without being “advertisements” for their game, and they can independently get in. (See: Roy and Corrin of Fire Emblem.) I'm not really sure how that's a good thing. Why would it be beneficial to anyone that franchises are represented without people being able to experience those franchises for themselves? Why would less games being available for you to play be a good thing?

Let me know in the comments if you have intelligible answers to those questions. 

There are a few exceptions where a game staying away from a console is a good thing, but the Nintendo Switch has already allowed the likes of Undertale, Fortnite, and Minecraft to arrive and make interacting with the self-described Nintendo fanbase a hazardous experience. Ludwig won't buy Persona 5 (or any Warriors game) even if it does get on the Nintendo Switch, but this isn't about his preferences. It's about logic and making business sense.


  1. It is strange, but maybe spin-offs is all they have in mind for Persona on Nintendo systems right now.

    But why wouldn't you buy Persona 5 even if it was brought to the Switch?

    1. I don't care for, uh, media where the setting is a (Japanese) high school.

      You're free to convince me I'm shallow and that it's much much more than that!

    2. I wouldn't really describe the high school as being the setting. Yes, it plays a role--there are scenes where you're in class and you answer questions to (hopefully) raise your intelligence stat, but the vast majority of the gameplay and story takes place outside of school, either in Tokyo or in the alternate dimension dungeons.

      Unless you just mean you don't want to play as a group of teenagers.

    3. Hey, I'm not gonna discriminate against the young generation. Even if they deserve it.

    4. Well, how about we revisit this conversation if/when it actually gets announced. :)

    5. So we'll probably never revisit this conversation. XD But here's hoping.

    6. If it's not on a Nintendo console by the middle of 2022, then I'll give it up.



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