By tweaking its successful formula while keeping with the path laid out by the first two Persona titles, Atlus was able to create the third installment, the monumental turn that would lead the franchise to its foundational success. It would be praised as an adventure worth playing again by many news outlets, despite of or perhaps due to its 70-hour playtime.
Following the success of Persona 3 were its numbered sequels Persona 4 and 5, which would echo the same mechanics to solidify the imagery and gameplay style that would define the Persona franchise. These enhancements are due, in part, by technological advancements given simply by time, but also by the experience that Atlus gained over these years by improving upon its groundbreaking games again and again.
The Persona series has always encompassed the lives of teenagers who can summon allies known as a “Persona” that enables them to fight supernatural enemies in one format or another. While the idea of an adult group of Persona users has piqued the interest of some fans, because of Japan’s draw to follow the lives of high schoolers in its entertainment, this would be a major turning point for the series that may not go over well with avid franchise fans. Though, some have suggested the idea of playing as the aged versions of past characters, for example, in a direct sequel of Persona 5.
However, Persona 3 successfully combined adult themes while continuing the trend of playing as teenagers. Atlus did this by discussing themes such as death, loss, and depression in its main cast. Even the way that the heroes summon their Personas, a big charm for the series, is far darker than other games, both preceding and succeeding. In Persona 3, the playable characters shoot themselves in the head to summon their Personas, which, for a country that is big on gun control, is a pretty heavy element that also echoed one of the game’s major themes and its dark tones.
Without spoiling anything, the reverberating themes of death and dealing with grief are a powerful throughline until the end and even in the expansion, The Answer, that was praised for providing narrative closure and would be a great pre-packaged addition to a remake, so long as it brings back the mechanics of the vanilla game, such as Social Links, that were missing in Answer‘s original release.
There’s a lot that was improved upon in Persona 4 and 5 to the franchise, but a Persona 3 remake could utilize these elements to become another huge success for Atlus. For example, though it may be small, the implementation of weather in P4 allowed for the player to increase knowledge stat further by studying in the rain. It also affects enemies Shadows in the TV World, so players can map out their plans more efficiently.
In Persona 3, the protagonist is only allowed to visit the mall at night or stay in the dorm, while in Persona 5, after a certain point, the player has completely free reign of where they can go in the afternoon and evening hours once Sojiro trusts him enough. This allows for date and job opportunities that also exist in P3, but it used to be far more limited.
Social links are another important enhancement that appeared in P3, but was vastly improved in future Persona installments. It was Atlus’ first attempt at adding the social elements such as building personal skills and increasing friendship levels with classmates, so it was a bit rough in comparison to P4 and P5 and more limiting. Dissimilar to Persona 5, the protagonist couldn’t share social interactions with their male teammates the way they could with romanceable female classmates. Also, P5 allowed them to spend time with obscure characters that would improve combat and abilities in Palaces. Again, more variety here would prove a Persona 3 remake to be a major success.
Finally, a significant appeal of Persona 5 was the overall aesthetic of the game, pulled together by the Phantom Thieves’ supporting visual and musical design. This is partially due to the armor designs when the Thieves enter a Palace, where each character is given a cohesive design that supports their arc and narrative, but also makes the group feel more like a team. Persona 4 was the first game that implemented this element, and it would be interesting to see the cast of P3 handled the same way.
There are many more points that future Persona games would improve upon such as the overall redundancy of the Tartarus world and lack of full SEES party control during battles. But all of these would seemingly be changed if Atlus were to run with a Persona 3 remake.
Perhaps the most insufferable elements of Persona 5 was Morgana telling the protagonist he should just head off to bed, especially at times when it didn’t seem necessary. Though P5 kept with calendar tracking, a system that P3 started, the third installment allowed the character somewhat more freedom when deciding how to spend time wisely. For example, the player character had the option to stay up late and study but risk being sleepy the next day by doing so.
Additionally, P3 allows for other time zones to talk to others or get tasks done that are not present in the fifth installment, such as lunchtime. Combining P5‘s expansive list of activities that can be done around the house and city with P3‘s varying time zones would amend the criticism made by fans that it’s a hindrance to daily in-game productivity.
Persona 3 was a rebirth for the series, starting the trends that avid fans know and love today, but this also means that it was the first time Atlus implemented these elements and they have since been majorly improved upon. By tweaking P3‘s successful formula to follow the format of P5, creating more variety in setting, characters, and relationships, a Persona 3 remake would likely be met with high praise from both veteran and new Persona fans.
A Persona 3 Remake is not in development.