With Persona 6, the next mainline game in the Persona series, developers could choose to update some of the companion archetypes that have persisted through the franchise. While each title features unique and distinctive party members, their personalities and their roles on the team can sometimes become predictable for those familiar with the games. Persona 6 could re-invent these archetypal characters, creating companions that fulfill the same roles, but in less predictable ways.
A number of different factors shape the personality and background of a Persona companion. Each party member represents one of the major arcana of the tarot, with that card’s interpretation giving context to their life and actions. Next, Persona borrows from Jungian psychology by giving them a power called a Persona – a manifestation of their true, underlying feelings – based upon a relevant figure from mythology or religion. With these factors as a baseline, characters are developed in order to serve a particular role either for the main character or for the team as a whole.
However, certain archetypal roles have been frequently re-used in modern Persona games, making some characters feel less like uniquely-written companions and more like checked-off boxes on a list. Persona 6 does not need to do away with these character archetypes entirely, but it can improve upon them by executing them in a different way. Here are some companion archetypes that the next Persona game can re-examine.
Persona 6 Character Companion Archetypes: The Buddy
Companions that fall into the “Buddy” archetype are often the first friend the main character makes in a Persona game. While never available as a romance option in Persona, this character grows incredibly close to the protagonist, forming a tight bond early on. Junpei from P3, Yosuke from P4, and Ryuji from P5 all fit this role, sharing in common poor academic grades, a tendency for impulsive decisions, and a penchant for perverted behavior toward women. On the surface, companions fitting this archetype are depicted as very laid-back and are often comic relief. Eventually, though, all are revealed to be outcasts with few friends, often harboring some sort of difficult past or trauma that they can finally overcome with the help of their new comrades.
Persona 6‘s Buddy character, by contrast, could be a serious person that the protagonist helps to be more easygoing. Similar to Margaret’s Social Link in Persona 4, this version of the character may seem stoic and standoffish initially, only for the player to bring out their more silly or playful side over time. With this, their close friendship with the protagonist could feel more authentic and earned, having been established little by little. Alternatively, instead of masking their insecurities with humor, the character might wear their troubles on their sleeve, making it hard for them to make friends or relax. In this scenario, the character could still be an outcast or have a troubled life, but their path to recovery would be fresh and new.
Persona 6 Character Companion Archetypes: The Mascot
“Mascot” archetype characters are central to the plot of Persona games, playing a large role in the story as a whole. Unlike the human teenagers that make up the Persona games’ teams, Mascots look distinctly inhuman: Persona 3‘s Aigis is an android, Persona 4‘s Teddie is an anthropomorphic bear, and Persona 5‘s Morgana is a talking cat. Starting off as a source of comedy, each companion of this type inevitably goes through an identity crisis and often spends the majority of the game trying to find out the secret to who they really are. On multiple occasions, Persona games have used the same tactics of amnesia or suppressed memories to prolong the mystery, and each character has at some point desired to be the one thing they are definitively not: human.
While Mascot companions have been executed to great effect in past Persona titles, Persona 6 may want to consider dropping the secret identity angle for the Mascot character. Perhaps in Persona 6, the Mascot is a unique Shadow that is initially antagonistic toward the player, such as a servant to one of the game’s bosses. After multiple interactions with the party, the character could change their mind about the heroes, eventually assisting in one of Persona 6‘s boss fights before joining the team. This way, the character could still have an inner conflict character arc without the need for another amnesia story.
Persona 6 Character Companion Archetypes: The Strategist
Persona companions that are “Strategists” are the party members who devise their team’s plans and tactics, but they fall into the same predictability pitfalls as the other archetypes. Both Mitsuru from P3 and Makoto from P5 are third-year students who are their respective schools’ student council presidents. Each seems to have a curt, domineering personality at first, but advancing their Social Links reveals that this is because of rigorous upbringing and stunted social education. Burdened by expectations from their own families, much of their dialog is spent reminding the team to study for school. Both also have an affinity for motorcycles, craving the freedom and rebellion associated with them.
To improve the archetype, Persona 6 should avoid the school’s elite students when choosing a Strategist. While the student body president with the highest test scores seems like a convincing background for the role, Persona 6 could subvert expectations by making the Strategist a socially awkward, unnoticed student. This character could have the potential to have top marks and accolades, but their social anxiety prevents them from showing their genius. With the support of the team, this student could rise past their fears, revealing themselves to be a master at coming up with plans and tactics for missions. With this, the trait of having poor social skills is still present, but it leads into the Strategist role in a satisfying way.
Potentially, the reveal of Persona 6 could occur within the next few months. As part of the 25th anniversary of Persona, developer Atlus confirmed the reveal of seven new Persona projects between September 2021 to Fall 2022. Should one of these revealed projects be Persona 6, fans will likely finally meet the game’s new cast of characters. Even if these new companions fit into the archetypal roles of their predecessors, changes will hopefully be made to make their implementation feel fresh and new.
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