People keep asking me this as well… from what I remember (plz correct this post if I am wrong somewhere) you don’t need to play ANY previous Persona game to understand the plot and most concepts present in the one you are playing. However, these games are all related so you are missing some of the Persona lore, concepts and knowledge of the returning characters (but they are very minor, barely cameos most of the time).
You can play the Persona games in any order EXCEPT FOR:
- Persona 2: Eternal Punishment (the continuation of Persona 2)
- Persona 3: The Answer / Episode Aegis (epilogue of P3)
- Persona Arena and it’s continuation Ultimax (continuation of Persona ¾)
- and Persona Q (P3/P4 spin-off based on the idea that you have already played the main titles… they still kind of introduce the characters to you, but you are only going to spoil yourself a lot if you play Arene and/or Q before Persona 3 and 4).