Persona Production Manager Talks About Persona 3 Reload’s Development Budget, Koromaru’s Voice Actor, and More

Persona 3 Reload is looking to join its contemporaries not just as a standard remake but as an installment in the long-running series that intends to be a benchmark on how to handle and modernize classic titles with care and precision.

There has been a resurgence of JRPGs in recent years, and that is part and parcel of the contributions of Persona 3, which launched back in 2006.

“Persona 3 has been a huge turning point for the series,” says Kazuhisa Wada, Production Manager of the Persona Series. “It was a very special title for us.”

persona 3 reload production manager kazuhisa wada
Persona Series Production Manager Kazuhisa Wada

“The remake has input from fans of Persona 5 Royal, and we were aiming to make sure that [Persona 3 Reload] has outperformed Persona 5 Royal in terms of comfort.”

With such a high bar to aim for, Persona 3 Reload has its work cut out for it. From the quality-of-life additions to the improvement of its visuals, and even down to the nature of the combat, Persona 3 Reload has used Persona 5 Royal as a template and sought to bring the same feeling as the original did 18 years ago.

“[Persona 3 Reload’s development] started from 2019 up until the summer of 2023, approximately 4 years,” narrated Wada-san. “The development budget and the cost for Persona 3 Reload were so much higher than the original cost of Persona 3. That was definitely a shock to us (laughs).”

Persona 3 Reload Velvet Room

“Ideally, we’d like to think that everything has improved as compared to the old titles. We would like to say that the visual improvements were the most notable part and the usability as well. We found it very difficult to decide what can be changed and what must be kept the same as the original. This took us a lot of time to get the right balance and a lot of debate internally to move forward with certain changes.”

His concerns, as far as we can tell, are very much misplaced. Having spent quite a bit of time with the game in our Preview, Persona 3 Reload strikes a good balance between the old and new, with thoughtful upgrades that not only looked good but functioned well at the same time. Mission accomplished, as the saying goes.

“We definitely want to use the combat system in a way that will be useful to the story and give characters additional side stories to make it more interesting. The battle system in Persona 3 Reload has used Persona 5 Royal as a basis and has further improved in Tartarus. So we hope the new development will help bring out the story as well as the characters.”

“As pointed out, quality of life is really important to us. We aimed and strived for better usability overall from Persona 5 Royal to a better improvement since that title.”

Persona 3 Reload Breakable

Related – Persona 3 Reload Hands-On Preview

Before speaking with Wada-san, we played Persona 3 Reload and experienced many of these quality-of-life features ourselves. We asked about the details of the auto-recovery and dash functions, especially when traversing Tartarus. Wada-san excitedly commented about its many save features, which we look forward to because it saves a lot of time from the massive title that was Persona 3.

“One of the features we can mention here is the rollback system,” Wada-san explains. “This system allows you to have different forms of auto-saving as well as rewinds to go back to certain parts with more ease as opposed to reloading your game from an older save file. In Tartarus, you can rewind as required to go back to certain parts from the entrance, and you can go to certain floors to save time.”

Wada-san also mentions a mailing system in the game that helps with transitions: “You can easily go to that location to allow you to have a smoother transition within the game. As for the community mail, if you receive mail from community members, you can click on it and go to the place where the member is.”

Persona 3 Reload Dorm

As seen in the preview, a couple of new additions that spoke to me as a returning fan are the Linked Episodes and Dormitory Stories. They add a new depth to the storytelling aspect of Persona 3 Reload, exploring and fleshing out the relationship of the party members to the main character at large.

“There will be elements that will be added on to the background story,” Wada-san explains. “This can be found in the linked episodes as well as conversations in the dungeon. The background story will be there to increase the overall appeal of the characters themselves as well as tying in some story that could be for the future and the past.”

“The side stories and the background stories strengthen the main story of the Persona series, just to add an additional side story as well, namely referring to the side stories of the members of Strega. You can also find new stories during dorm life.”

“With regard to the background story linking into the other future titles as well, referring to Persona 4 Arena and Persona 4 Arena Ultimax,”

Persona 3 Reload Linked Sanada

Finally, an interesting addition to the cast is Shinya Takahashi, who voices Koromaru, SEES loyal mascot, and personally, the heart of the team. While he doesn’t chew scenery the same way Teddie from Persona 4 Golden and Morgana from Persona 5 Royal do, he is the bestest boy any party can ask for. We asked Wada-san if he could share stories of Takahashi-san’s performance and how it elevated the upcoming remake.

Joyfully, Wada-san recalls many funny stories about Takahashi-san’s performance as Koromaru: “Shinya Takahashi was well received when he voiced Koromaru within the animation series, we really want the voice into the game as well. As for Koromaru’s voice and the impact it has, the director really enjoys dogs and is a huge dog fan (laughs), so they wanted to have a dedicated voice for Koromaru to give him more opportunity for him to play and to give something special to dog lovers everywhere.”

“During the recording, having the voice actor have very specific forms of voice acting such as the barking to fit the situation scenarios of the game. It is very unusual for a game, but it is something that we enjoyed! We also hope that fans, when they play the game, will notice these little differences and changes with the voicing of Koromaru. The recording included a lot of dog noises such as the barking. It must have been very interesting to have it go along.”

Persona 3 Reload Japanese voice cast Shinya Takahashi - Koromaru

We ended the interview by commenting that we’ll add Koromaru to the party as much as possible because, with his fire and darkness abilities and heavy slash skills, it’ll help us explore as much of Tartarus as possible and make it through the Dark Hour!

Wada-san had a final message for all the Persona fans in Southeast Asia: “Currently, we are not considering a huge version change like that of Persona 5 to Persona 5 Royal that involves major changes and additions to the entire series. So, fans can have peace of mind knowing that Persona 3 Reload offers a full experience. With this title, we put in a lot of effort so that fans all over the world, including Southeast Asia, have simultaneous access all at the same time. As such, we truly hope that users and fans all over the world can enjoy Persona 3 Reload and have lots of fun.

Persona 3 Reload Yukari Win

Special thanks to Kazuhisa Wada for taking the time to answer questions about Persona 3 Reload!

Persona 3 Reload is scheduled to release on February 2, 2024 for PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series, and PC.

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