Saturday, 25 May 2024

A Glimpse into the Artistic Vision of Persona’s Art Director

Atlus’ Shigenori Soejima is renowned for his exceptional art direction in the Persona series. His creative genius brings to life captivating characters and immersive worlds. In our exclusive interview with Soejima, he shares insights into his creative process, favorite designs, and valuable lessons learned throughout his career.

Unveiling the Creative Process

Soejima’s primary objective is to infuse realism into his designs. As the Persona series typically takes place in Japan, it already possesses a distinct essence. During the initial stages of development, the team engages in conversations to establish a thematic color for each game. For example, Persona 4’s vibrant characters and rural setting inspired the use of the cheerful color yellow, reminiscent of wildflowers blooming along the streets. Soejima also incorporated a touch of warning symbolism into the palette to align with the murder-mystery premise. In contrast, Persona 3’s darker storyline and serious characters were elegantly represented by the color blue, reflecting the game’s urban style.

To breathe life into his characters, Soejima draws inspiration from real people. Whether they are celebrities or individuals he encounters, he analyzes their physical appearance to extract insights about their personalities. Although he strives for authenticity, he ensures his designs retain a distinct feeling and personality, occasionally exploring rough concepts that stay faithful to the essence of the original inspiration.

Cherished Characters and Favorite Persona Game

Having been involved in the Persona series since its inception, Soejima has contributed to the creation of numerous beloved characters. Curiosity piqued our interest in his personal favorites. Soejima’s most cherished game is Persona 3, and his all-time favorite characters originate from this installment. Topping the list is the enigmatic android Aigis, followed closely by the captivating Yukari. Beyond these characters, Soejima has a profound appreciation for the protagonists of Persona 3 and 4. The challenge in designing these characters stemmed from striking a delicate balance between creating relatable figures that players could project their own identity onto, while also ensuring an enjoyable gameplay experience. Soejima dedicated considerable time and effort to ideate concepts for the main protagonists, and nothing delights him more than hearing fans express their enjoyment of playing as these characters.

Designing for Persona Q

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, an eagerly anticipated dungeon crawler, seamlessly merges elements from the Etrian Odyssey series with the casts of Persona 3 and 4. This game introduces adorable chibi versions of each character, requiring a thoughtful approach. Soejima emphasizes that simply shrinking the designs wouldn’t suffice; instead, he needed to identify and emphasize the defining features of each character in their miniature form. To accomplish this, Soejima and his team conducted thorough research to align the chibi versions with fans’ perceptions of the characters’ trademark attributes. This process often yielded unexpected insights, as fans’ perspectives differed from his own during the initial design phase.

Valuable Lessons Learned

Soejima openly admits that he often contemplates whether he could have approached previous projects differently. However, he remains committed to preserving the originality of his work for Atlus, as opposed to yielding entirely to fan demands. While he highly values the satisfaction of the fanbase, he believes that constantly presenting new and innovative creations is paramount. He hopes that with Persona 5, people will recognize and celebrate the unique aspects of his work. Soejima tantalizes fans with the promise of forthcoming information for Persona 5, assuring them that Atlus will deliver something extraordinary.


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Conclusion

Shigenori Soejima’s artistic prowess has undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the Persona series. Through his unwavering dedication to realism and innovation, he has crafted unforgettable characters and captivating worlds. As we eagerly await the release of Persona 5, we can anticipate another masterpiece that will awe and inspire fans worldwide. Stay tuned for further updates.


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