Neni, could you please comment about Hashino saying P5's theme is based on the Star Arcana in this interview if you have time? --> p5jouhoukyoku( . )jp/blog-entry-255( . )html . I feel like your insight about arcanas would be interesting to analyze this.
OHHH boy, in order to talk about this, translating the entire text is necessary. So I did that.
Director Hashino Katsura on how the Tarot symbolize the progression of the stories of the game’s he’s made:
The story of Tarot, starting with “The Fool”
To my understanding, Tarot doesn’t simply symbolize a human life from the crib to the grave, but much rather, the individual process of proceeding in life while taking on values from the people around you, realizing that overcoming hardships with only those values is difficult, deciding to start over from Zero and finally attaining happiness that way, over and over again, in an endless circle. Seen from this perspective, the name of the Arcana Number 0, “The Fool” is not to be taken to literally mean “a foolish person”, but rather the idea of a “blank slate” who is still open to absorb many different influences.
The flow beginning from Arcana #0 and ending at Arcana#3 - namely, the “Death” Arcana of Tarot, is the them of Persona 3. The story ends after the encounter with Number 3, at which point you’re supposed to look back at the experiences and values you’ve fostered within yourself. The player, who has been projecting themselves onto the protagonist up to that point, is supposed to continue this journey from that point on in their real life. That’s the intention I had when making the game, at least.
Persona 4 is the Arcana #14, “Temperance”. It’s the story of people who have already passed the point of deciding to start over from scratch and are continuing on while trying to keep a sense of balance in their lives. You’re not supposed to just absorb the information and emotions all around you unfiltered, but think for yourself and draw your own conclusions in order to reach all the way to the True Ending. That’s how the “Temperance” theme shows in the way we constructed this game.
Catherine is a story of the Arcana #15 and 16#, “The Devil” and “The Tower”, meaning it is a story of “temptation” and “ruin”.
Persona 5 is the Arcana #17, “The Star”, the theme of rising up from “ruin” into “hope”. In the planning phase of the games, I made source to thoroughly follow this concept, but I haven’t really ever spoken about this before. I just feel like the Arcana are applicable to all these different eras (of me producing video games), which is something that can really be felt, and this sort of universal interpretation of it just intruiges me.
The final card of the Major Tarot Arcana is “The World”, which stands for the possibility of reaching fulfillment in the end, so you are ready for a new departure. The endings of Persona 3 and Persona 4 are very different in nature, but both of them depict an arrival at this goal.
That same idea lies at the core of Persona 5. The idea may overlap with those of the past games, but I sincerely hope you will be able to enjoy this new game in it’s very own way, as its very own story. That would make me very happy.
So basically, Hashino makes his games with a progressive theme in mind. He tries to tackle a new stage of humanity’s quest for happiness with every game he makes, with Persona 3 being about the “basic” idea of deciding to start over from scratch (as outlayed by the Death Arcana), and Persona 4 building from there, by examining what people do *after* they’ve decided to start over, exploring the tightrope walk of character progression. (Hence Temperance)
In between, there’s Catherine, with it’s theme of basically being at your lowest point, susceptible to temptation and destroying your own life with bad life choices.
And now we have Persona 5, with a theme of *raising up* from your lowest point, finding new hope (even if it is a naive hope) to continue on.
It’s basically the philosophy he’s creating his games with, and I find it really interesting. That would naturally mean that his next game would be about being trapped in illusions and despair after having your hope crash down onto you, since that’s what “The Moon” is about.