It took me a few years to track this down after reading about its existence off-hand in an interview, but here’s one of two videos that Persona 3 and 4 director Katsura Hashino posted years and years ago that I finally dug up depicting a prototype version of Persona 3’s battle system. (Don’t worry, it’s not supposed to have sound. This is how I found it at the source!) The most notable feature is that it shows battles taking place on the dungeon field itself, rather than requiring a separate load to a battle screen as is the case in the final game. This is likely just an animation produced for brainstorming exercises and not something that was captured using actual PS2 hardware, however. To hear Hashino tell it, the PS2’s memory limitations required a change in plan. The second video shows another battle system that looks more familiar to the one present in the final version, most notably featuring the ability to jump in on battles started by AI characters while exploring Tartarus.
To my knowledge, this hasn’t been archived by any other sources outside Hashino’s original blog post, hence why I’m going out of my way to post all of this on here and on YouTube. Even if we can’t often play development version of games, I feel it’s important to preserve that history so we have a better understanding of how games have come to be what they are today and how they’re moving forward. Old footage like this is hard to come by from Japanese development houses in particular, so the more widely available it is, the better.
The original Japanese blog I retrieved this from is host to all sorts of posts about the development history of Persona 3 and 4, as well as Nocturne. If there’s an interest in it, I’d be happy to translate some of the material, the topics for which include Nocturne’s battle system and planning out the Persona 3’s social link and calendar, among others.
While we’re on the subject of development politics with Atlus games, I thought I’d resurface some old blog posts I ran a while back that most of you probably haven’t seen, starting with this one showcasing Persona 3’s battle system being brainstormed at the beginning of that game’s development. As I wrote above, this was almost never certainly implemented in a playable capacity of because of PS2 system limitations, but still a neat rare inside look at Japanese game development.
PS: In the event that this does look familiar and you didn’t first see it on Tumblr, you might very have seen this before on Siliconera, albeit mainly because they took all of my research work and ripped the videos off my YouTube page without giving me a lick of a credit, all so they could seemingly increase their ad revenues. They claimed we simply had eerily similar timing running our respective posts, but it was a god damn pain in the ass ripping the videos off Atlus’ site and converting them to a YouTube-friendly format and Siliconera’s “copy” has all the same compression quirks as mine, so… yeah. Still really sore they had the gall to try and offer me a job when I politely called them out on it. But I digress.
breaking news: evil feminist leader Anita Sarkeesian ruins gaming everywhere forever by saying “that’s pretty sexist, how about not doing that.”
nice guys everywhere are suffering. now they cannot beat up a hooker and steal her money without thinking “maybe this is sexist”. the american way has truly collapsed and our nation will never be the same. please take off your fedoras for a moment of silence.
What did she do this time?