How Atlus has kept Persona 5’s localisation authentic to the Japanese original

The studio talks the challenges of adapting the PS4 JRPG for western audiences

Hi, everyone. Thanks for reading this blog entry.

My name is Yu Namba, and I’m a Senior Project Manager at Atlus USA. I joined the company in March of 1999 as translator. Since then, I’ve been involved with the localisation of all the Persona titles and their spin-offs, including Persona 5, which is out now!

When asked to write about the localisation of P5, I thought about my methodology and whether things have changed as I devoted myself to bringing Japanese games to the Western audience for the last 18 years, and I realised: my goal has always been to deliver games in the most authentic and enjoyable form possible.

Persona 5

P5 was a monster in terms of localisation scope. It boasted the most number of translators and editors on a team, and everyone spent countless nights making the English version of P5 a reality.

We set the general direction of the localisation and settled on key terms and ideas at the beginning of the project, so everyone had a clear guideline when working on their assigned tasks. Whenever a big issue arose, it was brought to my attention, and I gave the team my feedback.

Persona 5

As project lead I had to make the final call, but I made sure that I looked at the issues from different perspectives.

When localising a Japanese game, there’s always something that simply won’t make sense to the Western audience if translated word for word. Similarly, there may be lines that are too long to fit in the text window or the time allotted in a scene.

What to keep, what to cut out, what to change, what are the consequences—it’s always a tough call, and the approach is different for each person.

Persona 5

But the process becomes a bit easier to handle when the entire team is on the same page. I’m really fortunate to be at Atlus, where everyone in the company shares the same vision.

Persona 5, as a game, is the pinnacle of the series. From battle system and social sim to playability and UI, it has remained true to its origin but every aspect of the game is at its best. The same can be said for localisation: it’s the best English rendition in the history of Atlus USA thus far.

I’m sure everyone who already purchased the game will enjoy it, and I really hope that people who haven’t heard of the series before will give it a try. This game will take your heart.

0 Author replies

Good read! I’ll be playing in Japanese on the first playthrough then English when i replay it after the 100+ hours from the first
On another note it would be awesome if you could remaster previous Persona games for PS4 the PlayStation fans love Persona I’m sure it’ll do very well one my fave turn based JRPG series of all time

Overall this localisation is great and so much better than what happened to Persona 4. Chief killed my ears with her horrible acting.

But them again I wonder what happened to the pronunciation of last names of many characters? On one hand we have KamoshIda – which is perfectly fine – on the other hand we have TakAmaki and many others – which is the farthest thing from authentic.

So thank you for actually releasing a free Japanese language pack, I will be using it. This is how users should be treated I believe – freedom of choice, regarding how to play games ????

Waited soooo long for P5, but yes i second what Joyrul96 says, please remaster the earlier Persona games with dual audio options.

i agree please remaster persona 3 and 4! would be great for promoting p5


I’d be happy if 3 and 4 came to ps4 as ps2 classics and you remade p1 and both p2 in the style of the later games with a calender and social links

Jeff-Andrew-NL 12 April, 2017 @ 13:22

P3 was awesome. Might give P5 a try. :)

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