Over at Atlus’s Japanese site, Persona’s director Katsura Hashino posted two tiny clips of early prototypes from Persona 3, and for the first time you can really see how the game connects to older Persona titles. Specifically, you can see how the old battle system was scrapped, but how the residue of isometric-perspective (seen above) remains in the dungeons. Check them out below. (Silicon Era was kind enough to upload them to YouTube.)
One of the things I think about when I think about Persona is why the newer games in the series look and play so radically different than the older. The PlayStation era titles were maze-crawlers—like Etrian Odyssey, or better yet Wizardry—with isometric battles of the trench warfare variety. Since Persona 3 however, fighting and dungeon-raiding are much easier on the eyes and more dynamic. Why the clean break? Well, herein lies your answer. You can clearly see hints of the old mixed in with the new.
Now I’m curious more than ever about what sort of evolutionary advances have taken Persona 5 so long.