Like previous rumors confirmed, the acclaimed Persona 3 is well on its way to getting the long-deserved remake treatment. Persona 3 Reload aims to give the 2008 title a much needed facelift and overhaul in the same way Persona 5 did for the entire franchise, reimagining the series’s formula in a more streamlined and approachable way.
In preparation for the game’s eventual release, here is everything we know about Persona 3 Reload.
New Crisp User Interface
Persona 3 and 4 suffer from having a relatively archaic menu interface, especially when held to the slick and intuitive layout Persona 5 (and its many spinoffs) are renowned for. It is symptomatic of being a product of its time, being produced in the late 2000s, and it shows. Aside from the deep blue hue of Persona 3’s user interface, Persona 3’s UI is straightforwardly boring by modern day standards, giving nothing of its personality and flavor throughout.
Persona 3 Reload’s teasers and trailers deliberately show the reimagined menus, bearing a striking resemblance to the personality and attitude Persona 5 showed off in its various menus, all while retaining Persona 3’s more somber and subdued vibe. The ocean and moon are key motifs much like how the punk and edgy aesthetic was Persona 5’s own.
Though, this change has earned its fair share of detractors, calling Persona 3 Reload a Persona 5-ification of Persona 3, which in turn makes the latter lose core parts of its identity. A key argument for this sentiment was the replacement of Persona 3’s combat wheel with a combat menu reminiscent of Persona 5’s. The six-cylinder combat wheel of 2008 was an intentional design choice that aligned with the party’s main method of combat: the Evoker, guns that the user’s would shoot themselves with to awaken their Personas (though these guns resemble semi-automatic pistols more than revolvers, but that’s just nitpicking).
Still, it will be fun to discover just how much personality will be packed into something as simple and mundane as the user interface, especially as someone who has played the original before.
Fatigue is Gone
Dungeon-crawling is a major aspect of Persona 3’s gameplay loop where players must manage their social simulation with their SEES missions to prevail at the end of every month. Excursions that push party members to their limits will render them unusable immediately the following day, requiring players to carefully balance how far they carve a path through Tartarus. This was the original Persona 3’s Fatigue System, another layer of strategy players must balance on top of everything else.
Persona 3 Reload claims to have removed this system for its gameplay loop, allowing players to tackle Tartarus at any pace they deem fit. Though many fans see this as a quality-of-life improvement, as Fatigue management was annoying to deal with, a vocal group of hardcore players scorn this decision, claiming that removal of Fatigue removes a part of Persona 3’s strategy and identity.
Hopefully Persona 3 Reload comes with dual modes that satisfies both parties.
Social Links will Remain Faithful
To those who might have worried that Persona 3 Reload might seek to alter its many side stories outside of its main quest, worry no further. Atlus has confirmed that Social Links, Persona’s staple friendship/relationship builder, will remain intact to their 2008 iterations.
This also means that new social links and relationships from other Persona 3 games will NOT be in Persona 3 Reload, the main victims being the female protagonist’s social links from Persona 3 Portable, which leads well into our next point…
Key FES and P3P Content will NOT be Present
Persona 3 Reload’s Director confirmed in an interview that the game will not be including much of the game-altering content featured in Persona 3’s various versions, FES and P3P. This means that The Answer Epilogue and the female protagonist option will not be in Persona 3 Reload.
This was a massive disappointment to many eager fans who either wanted to play Persona 3 the way it was meant to (as FES was a Director’s Cut of sorts for the original) and/or wanted to see Persona 3 Portable’s female protagonist beyond her PSP confinements. These were massive inclusions that added substantial content over Persona 3’s base game, leading some to theorize that Atlus is doing this to milk Persona 3 content for the foreseeable future, releasing new alternative versions with content from those games (though this is merely speculation, so please take it with a giant grain of salt).
However, this does NOT mean that the improvements and other side content added from those games, particularly FES, will not be included. A story specific Social Link added in FES as well as other activities encountered, along with the QoL changes added by P3P, will be present in Persona 3 Reload, so in a way we are getting bits and pieces of those titles. It still does suck that we are not getting those elements after all this time.
Tartarus will Implement Rogue-like elements
Tartarus has not aged well. It is a long, randomly-generated gauntlet of rooms players need to clear for story progress and EXP that becomes monotonous within an hour or two. It is virtually identical to Persona 5’s Mementos except it runs skyward instead of delving into the earth.
Developers confirmed in an interview that they would be “adding elements” that will further encourage exploration as well as improved movement via dashing to make the going easier and more bearable.
Though this is incredibly vague, it does show that the developers acknowledge the weakness Tartarus poses if it was remade one-to-one like the original. If this means that the enemies encountered will be more in line with the Persona enemies in Persona 5 as opposed to anomalous blobs in Persona 3 and 4 or if Tartarus wil implement actual Rogue-like elements that change how each Tartarus run plays out is not known. However, any new addition that helps break the monotony of the original will be a welcome addition.
New Voice Cast and Scenes
Just as Persona 3 Reload is getting a fresh coat of paint and visuals, the audio department is getting a revamp. The old voice cast has been completely replaced by new blood and new songs by the legendary Lotus Juice are being added.
Though it is bittersweet to see the classic cast go, Atlus needed new voices primarily because this game has the most spoken lines of dialogue in the series to date. This is because Persona 3 Reload will be voicing all Social Link level up scenes as well as adding entirely new scenes and events that flesh out the characters and party members in a way the original could not. This does soften the blow of not having the female protagonist-exclusive social links as it allows the players to deepen their bonds with the cast in new ways. It will also give certain characters with less screen time to get their time to shine which is big plus in my book.
In terms of remaking a game, this is a great direction to go in, further justifying Persona 3 Reload’s existence as a game that can stand on its own two feet, rather than just being a carbon copy of the original.
Releasing on All Major Platforms
Persona 3 Reload marks the first mainline entry to be released on all major platforms (sans Switch) instead of being a Playstation exclusive. It was bound to happen, especially with all major Persona titles being recently ported to the shores of PC and Microsoft for gamers of all platforms to enjoy. Having the games on a variety of platforms will bring in all sorts of new fans, which will boost sales and popularity of the franchise.
It’s a good time to be a Persona fan and 2024 cannot come soon enough.