Persona 6 Needs to Break From the Franchise's DLC Mold
Several Persona games have had DLC in the past, and Persona 6 likely will too, but Atlus ought to take a different approach if that's the case.
Persona 6 is a matter of when, not if. While the Persona franchise has spanned decades, and many of the older titles have aged like fine wine, Persona 5 launched the franchise to new heights. Persona 5 effectively blended the edgier parts of its aesthetic that are prominent in the game's visual language with wholesome character interactions and cozy slice of life inspired extracurricular activities. While Persona 5 was genre defining in many ways, other elements of it felt archaic. The DLC is perhaps the worst offender in this regard, and Persona 6 needs to show improvement in its approach to DLC.
Persona 5's DLC is one of the few marks against an otherwise excellent title. The base game of Persona 5 had over 20 pieces of DLC available. All of these items fit into a few different categories. The vast majority are cosmetic costumes for characters and additional background music from past Persona titles and other Atlus games. The other mainstay of this DLC was Personas from previous games in the series, some of which totally destroy the game's balance. Notably, Persona 5 Royal received its own array of DLC on the PS4, and Persona 5 Royal launched for PC with over 40 DLC packs.
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Persona 5's approach to DLC is old-fashioned in more ways than one. While many developers have embraced DLC as a way to expand a game or add to its story, Atlus has yet to do so. Much of Persona's DLC feels analagous to Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion's horse armor. Almost all of Persona 5's DLC is fan service designed to pull on the threads of fan's nostalgia. The costumes and alternate BGM packs are one costume per character and a song or two. This mindset is extended to the add-on Personas from past games, which are often summoned at high level, making them either overpowered for most of the game or something players will have to wait to use in late game to preserve the experience.
Persona 6's approach to DLC needs to be better. Cosmetic packs like the ones in P5 need to come with more music or extra Easter egg content for the game its pulling from, and the add-on Personas need to be implemented in a way that doesn't impede the intended experience. Better yet, Persona 6 could include more substantial DLC that offers more than fan service to returning fans. While leaks suggest that Persona 6 is a few years away still, other titles from Atlus receive and have continued to receive similar DLC, including Persona's many spin-off titles.
Not only does the Persona franchise need a better approach to DLC, but it deserves it. More substantial DLC could allow Atlus to expand the game with new quests, characters and stories. While DLC probably wouldn't be the size of the content added on to Persona 5 in the Royal version of the game, It could allow for smaller stories to be added. Takuto Maruki is one of Persona's best confidants, and he was only added in Persona 5 Royal. Atlus has shown that it is capable of adding strong content to a title after its initial launch, and DLC could allow it to do more of this in bite sized chunks.
Persona 3 Reload could be a good testing ground for Atlus. As a remake of Persona 3, it'll be interesting to see if the game has DLC packs from games later in the Persona timeline. Persona 3 Reload will also lack The Answer, a campaign added in FES, as well as Persona 3 Portable's female protagonist. The theoretical post launch addition of the playable female protagonist and the added story content in FES could be an opportunity for Atlus to show a dedication to more substantial DLC for the series going forward with Persona 6.
Persona 6 is in development.
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Having worked as a writer, filmmaker and musician, Tessandra Smith has experience across much of the entertainment industry. As a lifelong gamer, first discovering the wonder of RPGs on her Gameboy Advance, and general fan of nerd culture, Tessandra now works to share her love for the medium with others. Taking a multimedia approach to media consumption and analysis, she has become an avid lover of video game music. This love has fueled much of her own work in the music space, working as a composer, producer and a vocalist. Tessandra is also deeply passionate about gaming as a medium for storyelling and is fascinated by the ways the medium can bring people together. Up until this point, much of her work has been in the academic sphere in pursuit of her degrees in Film and Media Studies from Bucknell and Columbia University. Even while working in these spaces, Tessandra's work focused on nerd culture, having completed pieces on Neon Genesis Evangelion and importance of games journalism in the new media space. She is now excited to share her writing with the world.Persona 6RELATED: Why Persona 5 Spin-Offs May Still Happen After Persona 6's ReleasePersona 6