And what about P4U too?
Earlier this summer, Atlus revealed they have something special in store for Persona fans with seven announcements on the way for the series’ 25th anniversary, but no one knows what any of them are yet.
Now that we’re in September, the month where the first showcase will be made, let’s take a closer look at the chances of Persona 5: Arena finally being announced — or any fighting game tied to the RPG franchise for that matter.
Back in May, we reported Atlus had relinquished a number of their unused website domains tied to the Persona games, but one that lived on was that of P5U.JP.
This effectively kept the dream alive that a new Arena spin-off fighting game could be coming down the pipeline at some point considering the Persona 4: Arena titles went under the abbreviation of P4U.
A bit later in July, Naoto Hiroaka, the senior managing director and general manager of the consumer software division of the studio, took part in an interview with Famitsu for Atlus’ 35th anniversary where they had some interesting things to say about their upcoming projects.
“Currently, we have five or six development lines in effect, and around 10 if you include the ones we’re working on in collaboration with Vanillaware and other companies, as well as technology research and development,” said Hiroaka via Persona Central.
Moreover, the Atlus manager stated they’re busy working on “some other big unannounced projects that will surprise you” though it wasn’t specified whether those will be connected to Persona or not.
The largest tidbit from said interview was the part about collaborating with other companies, which they of course previously did by working in tandem with Arc System Works on Persona 4: Arena and Ultimax.
All of that sounds fairly promising from the Atlus side of things, but what about the fighting game experts part of the equation?
Since Ultimax released back in 2014 on consoles, ArcSys have found themselves to be quite the hot commodity on the front of licensed fighting games.
The massive success of Dragon Ball FighterZ seems to have firmly cemented the developers as the go-to studio for other companies looking for their own fighter spin-offs.
We next saw that with Granblue Fantasy: Versus in partnership with Cygames and then more recently with the upcoming Dungeon Fighter: Duel with Neople.
All of these projects create a potential hurdle for Persona 5: Arena getting off the ground because there’s only so many resources going around.
ArcSys is still supporting Guilty Gear Strive as their big focus right now as well as Granblue continuing to see new DLC and DBFZ recently receiving a large balance update.
There’s seemingly four teams at the studio to work on fighting games at the moment with the Guilty Gear, BlazBlue, Granblue and DBFZ groups.
Guilty Gear isn’t going anywhere any time soon though we don’t know what the other three are working on right now.
Given that BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle is the oldest among them to stop seeing new content, it would make sense that team may be the most likely to be working on DNF Duel right now.
As for the Dragon Ball team, we reported that a new large-scale fighting game based on a popular anime / manga series has recently started development, and they look to be the best or only candidate.
That would only leave the Granblue team to potentially pick up the Persona mantle, which does make it possible P5U is next on their docket… but the production timeline feels that it’d be much too early to make an announcement in the near future.
Even if the schedules don’t exactly line up at the moment, however, that doesn’t mean there won’t be some sort of fighting game announcement coming out of Atlus among the seven.
Interestingly, the first showcase coming this month appears as though it may be tied to Persona 4 judging by the styling on the anniversary website.
This could point to Persona 4: Arena Ultimax receiving an updated release on modern hardware, which fans would certainly still appreciate if P5U isn’t close to being here.
Following the big rollback netcode update to Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R, ArcSys did state that they were keen to give some of their other previous titles a similar makeover — and Persona may fit that bill best at the moment.
Currently, Ultimax is only playable on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 (it’s not even available through backwards compatibility on Xbox One or Series X|S), so it’s stuck on old hardware that many / most players no longer have access to.
Atlus themselves recently found phenomenal success in re-releasing Persona 4: Golden on Steam as a first for the series, where it managed to sell over 1 million copies and opened the company’s eyes to trying more ports.
This would also match up with what video game leaker Zippo said in July, considering they wrote an Ultimax remaster would be coming as part of the anniversary announcements with a release slated for 2022.
Zippo’s track record in these sorts of leaks are kinda mixed, however, so their word alone is definitely not enough to make this a done deal yet.
Just because Atlus has seven things to reveal too doesn’t mean most of them will be actual video game releases. Fans are also expecting to see events like concert series and something like new apparel as part of the celebration too.
Right now though, a Persona 4: Arena Ultimax re-release is looking like the most likely project that could come out of both the video game and fighter hopes for the series.