Persona 5 teaser heralds a New Wave for JRPGs

Last night, after a week-long countdown, Atlus unleashed a flurry of Persona-related news. The big one is the release of Persona 5 for PS3 in winter 2014, although they backed that up with announcements for (deep breath): Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, a series-spanning 3DS dungeon-crawler; Persona 4: Dancing All Night, a Vita game in which you dance to the series’ jubilant J-Pop in the game and not just quietly, in your own apartment, while holding a Vita; and also a sequel to Persona 4 Arena called either Persona 4 Arena 2 or Persona 4: The Ultimax Ultra Suplex Hold, depending on your brain’s elasticity. 

All of the games look characteristically absurd and stylish, but the Persona 5 teaser in particular seems to have the verve (and some of the iconography) of the French New Wave. Check it out below:

The morbidity is classic Persona, but the typography, the suggestiveness, the confident use of monochrome and the musical left-turn are more Truffaut than Sakaguchi. Combine this with the Francophilic turn of the most recent Pokemon game and the looming specter of the decidedly French-Canadian Child of Light, and there seems to be a trend brewing in the JRPG world. Long a sort of arch-conservative genre, it’s gaining new life by challenging the, erm, spiky haired, large-sworded traditions it was built on. Can a Dimitri from Paris-soundtracked Final Fantasy be far behind? Only if we’re lucky.