As part of the bountiful season of videogames we now have instead of E3, the Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase included the announcement of Persona 3 Reload, a remake of a JRPG that only just arrived on PC with the port of Persona 3 Portable in January of this year. A subsequent IGN interview has revealed the remake won't include content that was added in either Persona 3 Portable or Persona 3 FES, most significantly the option to play as a woman instead of the default male protagonist.
"So first I'd like to mention that since the basic concept of the Persona 3 remake was to remake the Persona 3, we don't have the FES and Portable contents included," Persona 3 Reload's producer Ryota Niitsuma told IGN. "We wanted to really genuinely work on recreating the Persona 3 experience."
Persona 3 FES, short for "festival", was an expansion/director's cut that added an epilogue called The Answer, which fans of the series tend to consider redundant at best, but it also expanded on the Social Links system and added bonus features like a Hard Mode and the ability to take your dog for a walk. Persona 3 Portable, initially released on the PSP, also made some changes to Social Links and combat, letting you take direct control of party members, and added two more difficulty modes as well as a separate path through an altered version of the story if you chose a female protagonist.
"So the basic concept of recreating the Persona story was that we wanted to keep everything from the original version, but update everything to the modern day," chief director Kazuhisa Wada said. "So at the same level of Persona 5, basically. So we have the newest graphics, we have updated the system to the newest usability… We have the voice lines in [both Japanese and English.] We also have the text available in 13 languages. So you should be able to have similar experiences to that of Persona 5."
While the trailer shows that Persona 3 Reload will let you take control of party members rather than relying on their AI (at the 38-second mark you can see a command menu pop up before Yukari shoots her bow), leaving out Persona 3 Portable's female main character is a frustrating oversight. Atlus is, however, making other additions. Niitsuma also said that for Persona 3 Reload "we have newly recorded voices, we have new scenes and events. We also have both new and arranged music."
Guess we'll have to wait a few more years for Atlus to get around to releasing Persona 3 Reload Royal Golden or whatever the actual complete edition is.