Persona 5’s handling of the shadow world has big implications for Persona 6

Because Character games don’t all belong to one story, they are always free to reinvent themselves in different ways. Atlus made the most of it; everything from the appearance of Persona users to the structure of the shadow world to the process of accessing this other reality has constantly changed over the past 25 years. personas 5 is no exception, and it marked the franchise for a remarkably unique portrayal of this parallel world. Casting the protagonists as noble thieves carrying out heists in fantasy palaces gave personas 5 a debonair flair that makes it completely different from the rest of the franchise.

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personas 5 did much more than add a new aesthetic to this other world, however. During this game, the human world interacts with the Shadow world to a rather alarming extent. Usually Character presents this other world as a secret shared by Persona users, but personas 5 sets the precedent that large numbers of people have at least a passing knowledge of a cognitive world outside of reality. personas 5the drive to blur the lines between these two worlds could create any number of major plot points or lore shifts in Personas 6.

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How Persona 5 Connects Humanity and the Shadow World

personas 5 makes a big deal out of a new scientific field called cognitive psience. Futaba’s mother, Wakaba Isshiki, was a prominent researcher in cognitive psychology before her death; it deepened the existence and impact of the cognitive world. Masayoshi Shido had him killed so he could steal his research and use it for his own nefarious purposes. Persona 5 Royal expands on the importance of this area by introducing Takuto Maruki, another cognitive psychology researcher whose work was thwarted by Shido. This tradition continues to be important in Persona 5 Strikers, where it is revealed that EMMA was altered with cognitive psience technology by Madicce.


The personas 5 family of games even goes so far as to allow some normal people to experience the cognitive world. At the beginning of personas 5, Joker is stopped by a horde of real human policemen who have been let into the cognitive world, which means that dozens of people have tasted this other reality without ever waking up to a Persona. Similarly, Kuon Ichinose spends a lot of time in the depths of the Shadow World at the end of Persona 5 Strikers, even commanding several Shadows, despite the absence of Persona. Due to cognitive psience and those vivid non-Persona user experiences

The active study of the cognitive world by normal human scientists is not strictly a new concept in the Character franchise. those who played Persona 3 probably remember the Kirijo Group, a huge corporation whose shadow research contributed significantly to the game’s plot. Persona 4 also sees a few notable characters spending time in the Shadow World without getting Personas. However, personas 5 seems to elevate these concepts to an entirely new scale. Tons of influential people, including a wide variety of independent scientists, corporations, and government officials, all seem to have some knowledge of the cognitive world, and some even have first-hand experience.


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Cognitive Psyche Could Matter In Persona 6

Even though Masayoshi Shido and Madicce’s circle of conspirators will be long gone by the start of Persona 6, it’s hard to imagine that cognitive psience and broader experience with the Shadow World won’t impact the next Character sort of game. These groups have established that cognitive psience research is happening behind the scenes everywhere, which means that the world of Shadows and Personas is no longer exactly the secret it used to be. In other words, players may have to deal with more human interference than they are used to.


personas 5 featured many more human antagonists than later ones Character games, and Persona 6 can follow suit if cognitive psience falls into the wrong hands again. The group of Persona users who run the new game could find themselves facing autonomous weapons created by cognitive psychiatrists, perhaps drawing inspiration from Persona 3‘s Aigis, or the cognitive world could change around them as researchers manipulate it using psychology or medicine. The real Shido’s attempt to destroy the Phantom Thieves while in the Cognitive World may have been just a taste of the kind of interdimensional interference that Persona 6The protagonists have to deal with it.

The plot of Persona 6 could involve more central human antagonists than ever before. personas 5 saw players technically defeat a lot of real humans, but the game had something of a revolving door policy for its antagonists, with villains like Kamoshida and Kaneshiro appearing and disappearing in sequence. Persona 6 could have a more central and consistent series of human enemies that players have to grapple with, maybe even fight multiple times over the course of the game. Whereas Character is known for its divine final bosses, Persona 6 could use cognitive science to make a human antagonist the real antagonist, bucking franchise tradition by mimicking the inventive Persona 5 Royal final boss.


More Human Villains Would Benefit Persona 6

A more abusive use of cognitive psience would be an excellent direction for Personas 6. Misguided but well-meaning Takuto Maruki argued for letting human antagonists play a bigger role in the Character the universe, and the personas 5 the games generally show the potential of letting characters other than teenagers interfere with the Shadow World. Greater human agency could help Persona 6 tell the fresh and gripping story it needs to be a worthy successor to the best-selling Personas 5.

Atlus has set the stage well for cognitive psience to remain important, but Character is a franchise that eschews change, so an even more human-centric story may be unlikely. In place, Persona 6 can go in the direction of Persona 4, letting human knowledge of the other world flow back to create a sense of mystery. It would somehow be a waste of the tradition established by Persona 5, however, and it would be a bit illogical for this search field to disappear between Character Games. Hopefully Atlus doubles down on this lore concept in the next game, exploring what scientists can actually accomplish with cognitive psience and what that means for Persona-wielding protagonists.


personas 5 is now available for PS3 and PS4.

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