I keep thinking this blog should have a few directions, one of which is obviously design. Most probably design pertaining to things I like. So one of those things, of course, is video games.
So here is the first edition of "Design and Video Games." Since the release date in Japan was just announced, and since I'm extremely excited for it, I'll be covering Persona 5!
Persona has always been a particularly specific franchise in terms of visual language. I was only recently introduced to the series a couple years ago, but ever since then I've realized that I was missing out on a lot of symbolism and imagery that obviously has a high functioning thought process put into it.
P5 looks to be no different so far. Where P3 has quite a somber approach of art direction, exemplified by the blue-ish color palette, and P4 is lively and energetic and very yellow, P5 goes for a rather stark black-white-red approach. Blood and fire have been imagery displayed in most of the trailers so far.
The overall mood achieved is pretty dark. The main characters are 怪盗, "Phantom Thieves," a recurring character type in most media associated with a gentleman or lady-type personality paired with the act of thievery. Sometimes they rob to help the poor, sometimes for seemingly no reason but to fulfill their own prideful desires. This franchise typically deals with characters and how they fit into or react to societal norms. So, needless to say, a band of wild teenage thieves is not likely to be typically well received.
This is shown again and again in trailers. The bosses shown seem to be altered devil or shadow versions of adults and authority figures. It's an interesting development to go from P3, where the police outwardly helps the characters in S.E.E.S., to P4, where the protagonist is directly linked to the chief of police and is secretly helping to solve a murder case, to this.
In Persona 5, the characters have been shown in general opposition to the authorities. Defying the system, so to speak.
But back to the over all look of the game, now that some context has been established...
Persona games, as they have been recently (not including spinoffs), can be chunked into two more or less equal parts. The regular world, where you control your protagonist in his or her daily life, juggling school, relationships, and personal health. This part of the game can often be played in a sort of visual novel fashion, and you can even date other characters in it. The world in P5 appears very dynamic! It also seems highly focused on the protagonist, accentuating the idea that he might be more separated from society as a whole.
The second chunk would be basically a dungeon-crawling RPG system. One where you utilize "Personas" and change them out to use different spells and abilities during battles, which navigating labyrinths. The UI of P5 seems much smoother than before. Less menus to navigate to get to the selection you want.
It's also, of course, very nice looking.
I could go on for hours, what a great game menu layout...
I'll probably touch more on P5 once I actually get to see it in action, but its safe to say, I am excited to see what it turns out to be!