Atlus has officially announced that Persona 5 Strikers, the Musou spin-off of the JRPG series, is coming to the west. As of right now, we’ve only seen one trailer for the English localization, so there’s not much to go on about how the game might handle some of the less savory parts of Persona 5. However, it does seem like Atlus West made one change that is very much appreciated by fans of the character Ryuji Sakamoto.
In the Japanese release, Ryuji was being struck in the face by a shadow on the game’s box art, while every other character on the cover had a super cool action pose. While it might have been viewed as a joke, it was part of a larger, distressing trend with the character. Ryuji is the lovable doofus of the Phantom Thieves, and is often the butt of a lot of the series’ physical “humor,” meaning that if someone has to take a volleyball to the face or get hit by his friends in an attempt to quiet his more annoying moments, he’s the one on the receiving end of the blow. What made this tone deaf in the grander scheme of the Persona 5 games was that Ryuji was a victim of physical abuse, but that was only treated as unforgivable in the story until the abuser was behind bars. Then his friends promptly took it upon themselves to hurt him instead.
So here comes Persona 5 Strikers’ western launch, and I’d been loathing the thought of putting a physical copy of the game with such needlessly disrespectful art on my shelf. And lo and behold, the western cover actually gives Ryuji an action pose more in line with the art as a whole.
Fans took notice on Twitter, appreciating the change for the better.
— SMT Network (@SMTNetwork) December 8, 2020
As for why Atlus West decided to make the change, it was pointed out this is likely due to ESRB restrictions, which restrict box art that features “violent blows to the head.” This will likely not have any effect on the actual content of the game, but it will at least mean Ryuji will get some respect on the cover.
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Persona 5 Scramble is coming to PC, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch on February 23. The game acts as a sequel to the original Persona 5, but trades the turn-based RPG mechanics for an action game similar to Dynasty Warriors. However, given the omission of Goro Akechi and Kasumi Yoshizawa as playable characters, it seems like it might not take place after Persona 5 Royal, but the original game, specifically. If you’ve never played Persona 5, I can definitely say Royal is the game to start with, even if it’s not the jumping off point for Scramble. This is simply because the new content is excellent, and if you get invested in Persona 5 you’ll wish you’d gone with the definitive edition when you realize you’re missing out on new characters and stories.