Atlus has confirmed that certain scenes in Persona 5, which were considered homophobic and offensive by many fans, will be updated and altered in the Western release of Persona 5 Royal.
Speaking to IGN during a Persona 5 Royal preview event, Atlus Communications Manager Ari Advincula explained that dialogue in certain scenes – specifically ones involving Ryuji and two effeminate male characters – would be changed so that those men were no longer shown in a “negative light.”
“We actually were able to go through some of the lines that players may not have received as well, look at that feedback, and then [update it] for the current generation,” Advincula said, explaining that they’ve changed both the first scene in which you meet these characters as well as the notorious beach scene they are featured in later on.
The dialogue in these scenes has been widely criticized since Persona 5’s Western launch for a variety of reasons. Many fans consider the depiction of these characters to be offensively stereotypical, presenting the most prominent homosexual characters in Persona 5 as extremely sexually aggressive (toward a minor, no less) and intentionally ridiculous with intent of making their “weirdness” the joke – made worse by the fact that your protagonist provides similarly insensitive responses to their actions.
While Atlus didn’t share exactly how these scenes would be updated in response to these complaints, Advincula said asking if they would be addressed was one of the first things she did when joining the team. “That’s really important to me, and I think it’s really important to the community as well.”
Advincula also explained that their localization team has an “internal content review team” she described as “very on the pulse about what’s right and what to do.” She explained Royal was “a chance to make it right.”
That said, reports around Royal’s Japanese release late last year seemed to indicate these conversations were generally unaltered in Japanese, and we still don’t know exactly what the updates for the Western release will look like.
Atlus also told us that fans shouldn’t give up hope for a Persona 5 port on Switch, asking them to keep telling them they wanted it or they would never be able to make it. Persona 5 Royal is out in the West on March 31.
Tom Marks is IGN’s Deputy Reviews Editor and resident pie maker. You can follow him on Twitter.