persona 5
"Persona 5" director Katsura Hashino made his farewells to the franchise in a new statement thanking fans for the game's success in the West. PlayStation Blog

“Persona 5,” the most recent release from Atlus, finally became available to shores beyond Japan as of last month. Most recently, the game’s director, Katsura Hashino, released a heartfelt message to Western fans, thanking them for the success of his new release overseas. Along with his thanks came the reveal that Hashino has passed the “Persona” franchise to his successors, marking his exit from the series.

Though Hashino working on another project had already been revealed before, his leaving the “Persona” series in the hands of his successors is news to some. Posting his thanks on the PlayStation Blog, Hashino went on to thank fans in the West for their warm reception of the latest “Persona” game before delving into the future of the series, mentioning how he passed on the baton to other designers at Atlus.

“Last year, with the milestone of the Persona series’ 20th anniversary, I handed off the series to my successors and announced the start of my new RPG project that takes place in a fantasy world,” Hashino wrote. “Be it a game set in modern day, like the Persona and Shin Megami Tensei series, or a game set in a new fantasy world, I aim to create games that provide an invaluable experience of reflecting on oneself through a journey, while roleplaying as characters that players can deeply relate to.”

Seeing as “Persona” games take place in the real world — with the most recent one notably taking place in Tokyo — Hashino’s venture into a fantasy setting is something to be looked forward to. His upcoming project, called “Project Re Fantasy,” will be the first project under Studio Zero, a newly launched internal studio at Atlus.

“Within the studio’s new logo is a story in and of itself,” Atlus said of the new title, as Polygon reported at the time. “The number 0 is the ‘Fool’ arcana for tarot cards — the void from which all other things begin — and punctuated with the imagery of a young child on a journey.”

How the “Persona” series will fair following the departure of Hashino from the franchise is up for discussion, especially as he was responsible for bringing the franchise back to the fore with “Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3,” which brought in several of the game’s elements that many fans have come to know and love.