It's really real, Persona 3 is coming to PC. After decades of PlayStation exclusivity, other games in Atlus' RPG juggernaut series have made their way to our platform. In June 2020, Persona 4 Golden's (opens in new tab) "surprise" release marked the first Atlus RPG on Steam (and also removed one of the last reasons to own a Vita, outside a zombie apocalypse). Since the Persona 5 Strikers launch on PC in 2021, we were hopeful for the rest of the series—a faith that's finally paid off.
As Persona 3's Akihiko would say, "I've been waiting for this"—here's what we know so far.
Persona 3 on PC's first trailer
We got confirmation for Persona 3 on PC at the Xbox and Bethesda showcase in June. It was focused on the series coming to console, but PC players are benefitting too. Persona 3 is definitely coming to Windows PCs.
What's the likely release date for Persona 3 PC?
Although it's been confirmed for a PC port, we still don't actually know the Persona 3 PC release date. Persona 5 Royale has gotten an October date, but no such luck for Persona 3.
What we do know is that during the showcase where Persona 3's port was revealed, Xbox made a pretty big deal about all these games coming within the next 12 months. Maybe it's leaning on the October date for Persona 5 to fulfill that commitment in this case, but it seems fair to hope for Persona 3 by summer 2023.
What’s the deal with Persona 3?
Persona 3 was actually the fourth series entry (Persona 2 came in two parts), first released on the PlayStation 2 in 2006. While each Persona game's story is self-contained, they retain common themes. Earlier entries often get passed over when talking about the Persona series, and that’s because of Persona 3—this is the game that established the life simulation mechanics that have come to define Persona and set it apart from so many other JRPGs.
Events unfold on a day-by-day basis as you attend school and take exams while also defending your world from a mysterious threat known as Shadows. To do this, each party member utilises the power of Persona, a manifestation of their inner psyche (P3’s summoning method famously has the cast firing a gun-like object called an Evoker at their heads).
Our protagonist can form friendships with other characters and get into romantic relationships, creating bonds that become your strength. Make enough bad decisions or neglect your friendships and bonds can reverse, especially if you start dating multiple people. You can't decline romantic relationships in P3 once some bonds reach a high enough level, so know what you're getting into.
How does Persona 3's story unfold?
It takes place in Iwatodai, seeing our nameless protagonist enrolling at Gekkoukan High School. Within this world exists an unusual phenomenon called the Dark Hour, one that most humans remain unconscious during, outside a select few. Moving into a school dormitory, the protagonist soon becomes involved in a Shadow attack during this hour, awakening to his Persona in the process.
Joining your fellow students as part of the Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad, you'll investigate this Dark Hour with SEES and the mysterious tower that appears with it, Tartarus. There's no separate dungeons to explore within P3, just different levels of Tartarus that open up further after each major boss fight.
What's the combat like?
Tartarus can be explored with four SEES members. Combat is turn-based, but only the protagonist is directly controlled by players. To control your teammates' actions, all you can do is issue tactical orders. Each member has a melee attack but Personas also bring their own skills, allowing elemental spells or support moves.
There are hundreds of different Shadows within Tartarus, all holding their own damage resistances and disadvantages. The protagonist can uniquely equip multiple personas, so a diverse move set is key. Hitting a shadow's weakness knocks it off balance and if all enemies are down, an all-out attack can be initiated for heavy damage.
P3 uses a standard EXP system but experience isn't shared with the SEES members you don't take into a fight, so it's wise to frequently rotate them. Party members will get fatigued over time, including the protagonist, so be careful, as this makes you susceptible to falling ill and will impact studies.
So which version of Persona 3 are we getting on PC?
Atlus loves releasing expanded versions of its games, and Persona is no exception. Unlike P4 and P5 though, there's no definitive edition for P3 and each release has different content.
Persona 3 FES, released just a year after the original version on PS2, brought several gameplay updates but prominently included a new 30-hour epilogue called "The Answer." You play Aigis, a robotic SEES teammate designed as an anti-Shadow weapon. The expansion is notoriously hard to beat but brings some additional closure to P3's ending.
Persona 3 Portable, released in 2011, was scaled back to fit the PSP and removed P3's anime cutscenes, 3D environments and The Answer. But it introduced big gameplay changes, including a female protagonist with her own social links and full control of your party in battle.
According to its initial reveal, Persona 3 Portable is what's coming to PC.
Will it be a full remake or a port?
We can only speculate, but if Golden's PC release is anything to go by, an enhanced port looks more likely. Even without a top-to-bottom remake, it should be the best way to experience Persona 3.
Persona 4 Golden runs at an unlocked framerate and at high resolutions that crisp up its PS2-era graphics. For Persona 3, we'd expect similar treatment, but the version Atlus decides to base this port off of will make a big difference.