Valkyria Chronicles, Bayonetta, Shenmue, Yakuza—over the last few years, Sega has been gradually bringing some of its most popular Japanese console games to PC. Even though Sega has owned Persona developer Atlus since 2013, though, only one of Atlus's games has made it to PC: Catherine Classic in 2019. Is there any chance that Atlus's JRPG series Shin Megami Tensei, Persona, or Etrian Odyssey ever come to PC?
Catherine was the first sign that Atlus games may one day come to PC. Persona 5 recently got a "director's cut" version, Persona 5 Royal, which launched in the west on March 31, 2020. Is this the version that could finally get a PC port? Chances are looking much better now that Persona 4: Golden is out on Steam.
Here's what Sega has told us directly about Persona's potential PC future, and all the other rumors and bits of information that have popped up around Persona 5 for PC.
A Persona 5 PC listing on Amazon was "an error"
Amazon in France briefly had a listing for Personal 5 Royale for PC. Sega clarified by saying "That listing is an error and we’re looking into having it taken down and how it happened."
They also told IGN that "The listings are not accurate. We have made no announcements to bring these games to PC."
Well, they haven't made any official announcements yet, anyway.
Here's what Sega told us about Atlus ports in January 2019, which could one day include Persona 5 on PC
If you're curious about whether Persona 5 or other Atlus games coming to PC, this quote might give you a bit of hope. "We hope to have more exciting news to share from Sega/Atlus in regards to publishing on PC in the future," Sega told us in January 2019. We were specifically asking why Catherine's Full Body edition came to PS4 but not PC, as Steam got the classic version instead.
The suggestion from this statement is that this probably won't be the only Atlus game to come to PC—which surely makes Persona 5 a strong candidate.
Persona 4 on Steam is a solid evidence for Persona 5 on PC
Persona 4: Golden just got a surprise drop on Steam. That's excellent news for fans of great RPGs, but it's also a good sign for a potential PC version of Persona 5. This definitely shows that Atlus is interested in Persona's viability on the PC, so it's hard to believe they're not also considering releasing Persona 5.
Atlus asked players if they would like a PC port for Persona 5
In 2019, Atlus released a survey to its US players with a number of questions about their opinions on the future of several series. Although the survey is no longer available, Persona Central posted a list of questions from the survey that look pretty credible.
Reportedly, Atlus asked players "What do you want to see from Persona in the future?" with "PC Port" being an available option alongside things like DLC content and other platform ports. Of course this question was one of many, including the future of other Atlus series and players' other gaming habits. It's far from a promise, but Atlus likely isn't testing the water out of idle curiosity.
Atlus targeted a PS3 emulator with a DMCA takedown notice over Persona 5
Last year, Atlus issued an aggressive DMCA takedown notice to PS3 emulator RPCS3, initially going to Patreon to request the project's campaign be removed entirely. At the time, RPCS3's page listed instructions on dumping Persona 5's software from a disc or PSN download. RPCS3 has since removed all reference to Persona 5 on both its Patreon and official webpages.
In its statement on the takedown notice, Atlus says "We understand that many Persona fans would love to see a PC version. And while we don’t have anything to announce today, we are listening! For now, the best way to experience Persona 5 is on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3."
Atlus may not necessarily have immediate plans to port Persona 5 to PC, and companies often do take preventative measures to protect their intellectual property, but its harsh stance on the situation may indicate they have more than a passing interest in releasing their own PC port.
We asked Sega about Persona on PC back at E3 2017—here's what it said
Flash back to E3 2017. We asked Sega's John Clark about the chances of the Persona and Yakuza games coming to PC, a year before Yakuza 0 was announced at our very own PC Gaming Show.
Here's how he responded when we asked specifically why Atlus games hadn't come to PC at that time. "The great thing about being involved with Atlus and you see it through Sega America and Atlus—they’re bringing out Persona 5, which is an Atlus title but they’re bringing out new editions of the Yakuza titles, they’re doing that together—and so it just makes sense that we all talk together about extending all of those, incredible IP, across to Steam and recognise the fact that the PC audience adds to those community and consumer experiences, it doesn’t detract from it and it isn’t anything that they need to be concerned about, so... those conversations definitely happen."
We put to Clark that everyone has a wish list of games they want to see on PC from Sega, and that the publisher seemed to be aware of it, based on the release pattern of its old classics. Here's how he responded: "Yeah, if you send that list to us and I’ll [show] you which ones we can tick, which ones are on our list, which ones are possibilities, which ones are not possibilities, which ones we’ve talked about, which ones we’re talking about, which ones we’re working on—they’ll be on that list." This is pretty non-committal—in short, Sega has a big list of old games it could bring to PC, and some are possibilities, while others aren't.
When we asked about Yakuza, Clark said, "It’s on that list, you know?" Obviously, we know how that ended—with Yakuza 0 landing on PC just over a year later and winning one of our GOTY awards. We then pressed on Persona. "Of course, of course—I keep saying ahead of you, I’m trying to guess what you’re going to say next..." Clark seemed to be referring to Persona also being on the aforementioned wish list, here.
"But we don’t feel that anything is off the table in terms of these conversations," he continued. "The fact that as an organisation, we’re having these [conversations], they’re healthy conversations, they’re constructive, we recognise the value, we recognise the value of the community, we recognise the value of the IP. The IP has got continued life to grow bigger and yeah, we’re having those conversations."
Again—all very non-committal, and I definitely suggest reading the full interview for context on our discussion. But the fact that 18 months later we have both Catherine and Yakuza 0 on PC suggests there aren't many limiting factors keeping games off PC.