There are so many interviews in this magazine…… the anime one is technically first but it’s, uh, really long, so I’m going to procrastinate on it a while longer…
Persona Magazine 2018 Interview Navigation
P3D/P5D (Kazuhisa Wada, Nobuyoshi Miwa, Ryota Kozuka) (You are here)
P3D/P5D Artwork (Shigenori Soejima, Akane Kabayashi, Azusa Shimada)
P5A Part 1 (Masashi Ishihama, Shin’ichi Inotsume, Jun Fukuyama)
P5A Part 2 (Mamoru Miyano)
P5A Part 3 (Nana Mizuki)
P5A Part 4 (Ikue Otani)
P5A Part 5 (Kazuki Adachi)
P5A Part 6 (Lyn)
P5A Part 7 (Shoji Meguro)
Producer – Kazuhisa Wada
Atlus-affiliated creator that worked on several Persona games. He was producer + director for P4D and is producer for P3D/P5D. He’s also a design director for the Persona series.
Director – Nobuyoshi Miwa
P3D and P5D director. He was involved with many other Atlus games, and was the main programmer for Persona 3 Portable. He was also sub-director for P4D.
Composer – Ryota Kozuka
Composer on Atlus’ sound team. He worked on sound production for Persona 2: Innocent Sin and was selected as main composer for Shin Megami Tensei IV. He was also in charge of several songs in the Persona Dancing series.
Please tell us your role and what you were in charge of.
Wada: This time I was the Creative Producer, in charge of overseeing everything. In the early stages of development I was also Director, but I had a lot of things on my plate, so partway through I requested that Miwa handle all of the direction responsibilities.
Miwa: I was a sub-director and programmer for P4D, so I knew a lot about its development and accepted the work.
Kozuka: I also continued my work from P4D, composing the opening theme, rearranging songs, and doing other sound-related work.
What do you think now that development is finished?
Miwa: We had to create a lot of resources, so right now I’m relieved that it’s finally over *laughs*. Since we had the prior knowledge from P4D, I thought we could use 1.5 games’ worth of effort to make 2 games, and everything proceeded according to schedule. But actually doing the work was really tough in the end *laughs*.
Wada: There was also the PS4 edition of P4D that we included with the collector’s edition. The HD remaster was harder than expected, so we were essentially working on 3 games at the same time.
What did you struggle with, Kozuka-san?
Kozuka: Thanks to what we learned from P4D, the development itself went smoothly, but there were a lot of times when the work suddenly felt “heavy” *laughs*. Going off the song list, there’s 2 games, so it was simply twice the amount of work.
Why did you choose to create P3D and P5D at the same time?
Wada: We were thinking of making P3D, but prior to P5’s release we were certain that the game would be really popular. So we thought it’d be more exciting to release P3 and P5 dancing games at the same time, and proceeded with that plan. We considered combining them into one game for a while, but just like how P4D was its own game, each of the works has its own distinctive style, so we wanted to separate them into their own games, which is what you see now. It also would’ve been hard to fit both of them into one game volume-wise.
How was it on the sound end?
Kozuka: These games have a wide variety of songs, since we had remixes from external artists in addition to our in-house composers’ mixes. We also included original songs from both P3 and P5, and the games naturally have their unique aesthetics, but for the remixes, we wanted the artists to expand freely on the songs. The Persona Dancing series as a whole has this kind of variety. I think we’ve got a good selection between the two games.
Tell us about the concept behind the opening songs.
Kozuka: The main idea was to preserve the P3 and P5 styles. For P5D, I wanted to show the mischievous nature of the original game, so it’s a bit of a thrilling song. I wanted to take it 1.5 steps further, and have people think “Yeah, P5 was like this.”
We asked Lyn-san about it the other day, and she said it was really harsh. *laughs*
Kozuka: It ended up being a rather aggressive song *laughs*. But I’m glad that after Lyn-san sung it, it totally fell into the P5 aesthetic.
What about the P3D opening theme?
Kozuka: For P3D, Kobayashi (Atlus planner Teppei Kobayashi, P3D/P5D sub-director) told me he wanted it to sound “VIP” *laughs*. P3 is a long-established series, so in contrast to P5, he wanted something that the veterans would appreciate. So, I thought I’d make something where you could feel nostalgic from the original game. At first I considered putting a bunch of P3 elements together like a buffet, but I changed my mind and settled for “P3-style with a bit of a digression into Dancing-style”. Like if what the RPG had was Salisbury steak, this would be fried shrimp *laughs*.
What did you request from the remixers?
Kozuka: Uda (Atlus business producer Yosuke Uda) was firing off requests left and right.
Wada: Uda used to be a DJ, so he’s really vocal about the music scene and its trends *laughs*. We wanted to have a wide variety of music, so we took super famous artists and up-and-coming artists that were popular online and categorized them by music style. We then selected artists from those lists.
Kozuka: Even with the ones that were popular online, you could sense Oda’s carefulness in picking ones that hardcore music fans would also approve of.
What parts of the rhythm game aspect did you pay close attention to?
Miwa: First, we wanted to overhaul the chart creation, so we had Kozuka the sound pro create a tentative proposal. Although he ended up creating most of the Normal difficulty charts because of that *laughs*.
Kozuka: On Hard and up, the screen gets buried in notes and you have to focus on hitting them all, but on Normal, the chart composition makes a big difference in grasping the rhythm of the song. So, I thought a lot about how the song’s rhythm should be interpreted. I think if you get that part right, then it’s easier to understand which notes to hit. I did my best to create the maps with beginners and people who aren’t good at rhythm games in mind.
Miwa: Also, in P4D we didn’t use many precise notes like sixteenth notes, but this time we had a wider variety of songs, so we didn’t put any restrictions on how precise the notes could go.
What did you do to make it beginner-friendly?
Miwa: The main thing was adding more custom play modes than there were in P4D. We increased the amount of both challenge and support modes. It would be difficult to cater to the entire spectrum between newcomers and advanced players with difficulty modes alone, so we gave the players more choices to fine-tune the difficulty to their liking.
Wada: Rhythm games are the most fun when they feel good to play, so I think it’s OK to adjust it to your personal preferences. New songs and events are unlocked with accumulating achievements, so you’ll be able to play everything just by playing normally.
There are a lot of costumes this time.
Wada: Our artwork team came up with a lot of ideas.
Miwa: There were a lot of dubious designs.
Wada: Everyone was really motivated, so they thoroughly worked on them while keeping them barely technically feasible. There was conflict between the artwork team and the staff who was implementing the costumes into the game.
There are even crossdressing outfits.
Miwa: P4 had a scene where the boys crossdress so we included that in P4D, but P3 and P5 don’t have scenes like that, so we originally didn’t plan for it. However, the artwork team strongly insisted that we add it *laughs*. So we did.
Is there anything that stands out about the crossdressing?
Miwa: The oiran costume for Yusuke that got scrapped. It wasn’t technically feasible to have him dancing in it, but the modeler was swayed by it and wanted to make the best that they could *laughs*. They toiled over it even though we made them hold back.
Wada: For P3, the protagonist’s maid outfit seems to be pretty popular, but Junpei’s getup is just cruel. They left his facial hair on *laughs*. There’s also Sanada-senpai as a miniskirt cop. His outfit was originally going to be pink, but we held off because that would definitely be too harsh *laughs*.
There are also a lot of crossover outfits with Sega titles like Yakuza.
Wada: It was Miwa that matched up the costumes with the characters, and they’re all fine choices. For example, Ryuji wears Ryuji Goda’s outfit, and the physical fighter Makoto wears Taiga Saejima’s outfit. Ann was apparently given Goro Majima’s outfit because of the opinion that “Majima is the heroine of Yakuza” *laughs*.
Miwa: I was worried about how it would turn out at first, but seeing the character models put my worries at ease, because they still looked “Persona”.
What about the Sonic the Hedgehog costume for Morgana?
Wada: I thought they would have good compatibility because they’re both chibi characters, but it was actually really hard to make the costume. There was a suggestion to just turn Morgana into Sonic completely, but in the end we made it a costume worn on top.
And what about the Virtua Fighter crossover?
Wada: There was actually a suggestion to give Aigis Wolf’s costume. This was because I originally wanted Sanada to wear Jacky’s outfit, since he’s always been a showy character. But then it became a question of who would be Wolf… Personally I’m a Wolf main, so I have a lot of attachment to him. After mulling over it, I ended up giving his outfit to Sanada after all *laughs*.
Miwa: Aigis doesn’t have many normal clothes, so I’m glad we were able to give her a crisp outfit like this. I don’t have any problems with Amada as Kage. He makes a cute little ninja. Fuuka is Lau simply because I wanted her to wear Chinese clothes *laughs*. For both Yakuza and VF, we wanted to choose outfits that would match the characters instead of going for shock value. In that sense, I think that Sanada as Wolf is spot-on. It doesn’t look out of place at all *laughs*.
Wada: By the way, we originally thought we’d use Akira’s white uniform since it has a lot of impact, but Sega’s VF team requested that we use his Costume B. We also considered giving Amada Lion’s outfit, but we wanted to use all of the first-gen VF characters, so that was scrapped.
There’s also the Atlus Selection costumes.
Wada: We basically just chose characters from outside of the Persona series, and it was fun matching them up.
Miwa: It’s nice how it feels like all of the heroes and heroines, new and old, are all lined up. Ann as Hiroko from Shin Megami Tensei II looks really cool.
Wada: For Yusuke, we considered Hazama from Shin Megami Tensei if…, but decided against it because it wasn’t very different from his original outfit. Also, for outfits like Ryuji as Shin Megami Tensei II protagonist Aleph, there wasn’t a backside in the original design, so we had to have an official design created for it. Separate from the Atlus Selection, we also have costumes for Morgana like Gouto, Trish, and Hee-ho-kun that will all be free DLC.
What future developments will we see for the Persona series?
Wada: The anime started airing in April, and as for games, Persona Q2 is in fervent development. From next year onward, there’ll be a constant stream of Persona content, and we’re in mid-long term planning for the next mainline title. We also plan to do more collaborations with games from other companies, like the Puzzle & Dragons collaboration that is already available. We also plan to do collaborations with Granblue Fantasy and Phantasy Star Online 2. For PSO2, there’ll be a system where you can watch concerts in-game with content reproduced from P3D and P5D. The UI will also be in our style, and there’ll be rhythm gameplay.
Lastly, a message for all of the fans.
Kozuka: This is a bit of an advertisement, but all of the game tracks are included in the soundtrack that comes with the collector’s edition, so please grab that if you can. Also, the game is a lot of fun to just watch, so even if you’re bad at rhythm games, you should still try it out on an easier difficulty mode if you like Persona.
Miwa: The PS4 version is the first 60 FPS game in the Persona series. 60 FPS is a lot for a rhythm game, and the animation quality is very high, so I think it turned out well. As for the Vita version, watching the characters move around in your hands has a certain charm to it that the PS4 version doesn’t have. There’s cross-save support for the PS4 and Vita versions, so feel free to play on whatever platform you want.
Wada: The music is great and we want you to get into it as a rhythm game, but our main motivation was creating games that focus on our love for the characters. Even if rhythm games aren’t your forte, you can still learn more about the characters and get more immersed in the world of Persona, so I hope everyone will enjoy it.
Daisuke Asakura – The Battle for Everyone’s Souls (Daisuke Asakura Remix)
I’m always really excited to get the chance to remix Persona songs. This time it was a song where the opera-style vocals and guitar riffs stand out the most, and I think it turned out to be a very “Daisuke Asakura” progressive EDM track, with a fun tempo for rhythm gameplay. I think it’ll make you press the buttons harder, so I hope you enjoy playing it.
Tetsuya Kobayashi – Mass Destruction (Tetsuya Kobayashi Remix)
Congratulations on P3D/P5D’s release! This is my second time remixing Mass Destruction – the first time was for “PERSONA MUSIC LIVE BAND”. They told me to do whatever I wanted with the song, so I totally ran off with it *laughs*. I doubled the BPM and combined it with hardcore guitar, jazzy piano, and electro synth. It’s a chaotic track. It’ll probably be hard to play in the game *laughs* but please enjoy!
ATOLS – Want To Be Close (ATOLS Remix)
Hello, I’m ATOLS and I was in charge of the Want To Be Close remix. When I first heard the original song, the lead vocals and funky groove left a big impression on me, so I strove to make that emotion more vivid. It was a lot of fun! I tried to make the vocals brighter and add French house elements to various sounds. I hope you enjoy it in the game!
HIDEKI NAGANUMA – When The Moon’s Reaching Out Stars (Hideki Naganuma Remix)
I think this is a very important song to Persona fans, so instead of making a crazy remix that covers up the original song’s theme, I wanted to preserve its intensity while refining it into something more modern. In order to prevent bias, I first listened to the vocals-only a capella track, and the phrase that stuck with me the most was the “If you hold me tight” part, so I turned it into an emotional hook to bring it to life. I hope you like it.
sasakure.UK – Light the Fire Up in the Night “KAGEJIKAN” + “MAYONAKA” (sasakure.UK Remix)
Both versions of Light the Fire Up in the Night are passionate songs, so my approach was to preserve the coolness of “KAGEJIKAN” and the translucency of “MAYONAKA” while adding my own personal touch. It’s a really easy song to get into, and I love the rap. Overall I made it close to a synth arrange, and it feels “solid” yet “pop”…! I tried to make it suitable for the game.
Lotus Juice – 深層心理 / Deep Mentality (Lotus Juice Remix)
I remember being surprised when asked to remix Deep Mentality, because it’s an instrumental song. It only took a moment for me to realize that by asking me to work on a song with no vocals, they were expecting me to take care of the lyrics as well. When I remixed Backside for P4D, I sampled Hirata-chan’s voice, added hardcore guitar, and wrote striking rap lyrics. This time I wanted to go in a completely different direction and create a dance song, and I remember sampling the original opening and working off of that. It was a conscious decision to have it progress into EDM–it feels like a DJ’s point of view. It’s not a flashy song, but it’s more like long-lasting gum… the more you listen, the better it gets… (in theory). So I hope that you listen to it many times and not just once *laughs*. I want to play P3D and P5D already! I’m excited to play the songs that the rest of the awesome composer lineup made. Congratulations on releasing the games!
Jazztronik – Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There (Jazztronik Remix)
I personally really like the remix that I put together. I hope you enjoy the differences from the original song!
Yuu Miyake – Deep Breath Deep Breath (Yuu Miyake Remix)
Are you all having fun dancing? I’m Yuu Miyake, back again. This time I remixed one of big bro Lotus-san’s rap songs. What I have trouble with every time is fitting everything in. I worked through the night making 3 versions, none of which seemed quite right, and I ended up choosing to mix EDM with my favourite genre, Moombahton! Please dance along as you play.
KAIEN – Beneath the Mask (KAIEN Remix)
I’m really happy to have the opportunity to work on a remix for the globally popular Persona series. The serious theme in the original song was really alluring, so I made sure not to lose that when remixing it. On the other hand, I actively added in new elements, so I think it’s become a completely different work. I hope you enjoy it.
☆Taku Takahashi (m-flo/block.fm) – Last Surprise (☆Taku Takahashi Remix)
It’s an honour to be able to participate in a Persona game–a series that’s very particular about its music. My creator friends in America also love the music a lot, so I hope it gets released overseas soon!
Shacho (SOIL & “PIMP” SESSIONS) – Will Power (Shacho Remix)
I’m not into games, but even I know about the masterpiece that is Persona. It’s truly an honour to remix a Persona song, especially as part of such an amazing lineup of remixers. I mixed in essences of foreign music styles like Brazilian, afrobeat, reggae, funk, etc.
Yukihiro Fukutomi – The Whims of Fate (Yukihiro Fukutomi Remix)
The goal of this remix was to give off a different vibe from the original song’s message. I hope that fans of the original will also appreciate this new interpretation.
tofubeats – 星と僕らと / The Stars and Us (tofubeats Remix)
I really had to rack my brain over this remix for The Stars and Us–a majestic song with a lot of ups and downs. I tried my best to re-interpret the emotional parts as club music. The climax towards the end really makes you want to dance, so I hope you enjoy my version of the song.