Hello dear readers and welcome to Shoot the Rookie. Today I’m doing something I don’t think I’ve ever done before: I’m pitching a game to a developer. Yes, that developer is Atlus and yes I know they are not listening, but I think I’ve got a fantastic idea here and I’d really like to share it with you!
Atlus are a weird bunch. On the one hand they make amazing games, but on the other they don’t seem to understand how much we love those games. A few months ago a questionnaire they put out suggested that they still hadn’t decided whether or not Persona 5 Scramble was going to get localised despite the fact we are literally crawling around on the floor begging for it. The recent port of Persona 4 Golden to PC was an extremely welcome move, but not porting it to PS4 seems like an odd choice given the Persona series’ fanbase. I’m not the type that makes demands of games companies, I know they have their own priorities and don’t owe me anything, it’s just that I want these games so much!
With all this in mind it goes without saying that I have already accepted that they won’t pick up my idea, but I still think it is worth sharing as I think a fitness game set in the Persona universe could be a wonderful game that me and many of you would enjoy.
The inspiration for my idea came to me after my recent purchase of Fitness Boxing on the Nintendo Switch. In this game you learn boxing moves and perform routines to music that involve combinations of these moves. You also have an instructor who goes through the moves with you and tells you what to do. It got mixed reviews, and I can understand why – it is quite simplistic for its price and its recognition of your movements isn’t always perfect, however I find the music and the encouragement from the instructors to be more motivating than just peddling on my cross-trainer in a cupboard, so overall I am enjoying it…
…but it could be so much better! Obviously the issues with movement recognition would need to be fixed, but I mean it could be so much better in other ways. It could have real personality, amazing music, a sense of humour and motivational characters. This could be done as a new IP sure, but as it turns out Atlus already has most of the components for this game, so why not use them?
The Persona Dancing games have almost everything I’m looking for in a fitness game except the actual fitness element. They are rhythm action games set to the awesome music from the Persona series, and feature all the characters we know and love. But what if, instead of using buttons, the rhythm action element was transposed into a fitness game where you throw different moves and dance along to the music? What if, instead of the samey instructors from Fitness Boxing, you had the stars of the Persona series instructing you?
This could lead to an entertaining and varied game. Many characters from the Persona series are experts in various sports and martial arts, meaning you could combine different styles in the game. For example, Ryuji is on the track team, Junpei does baseball and Chie does Kung Fu. The series also has one character who was seemingly made for this purpose in the form of captain of the boxing team, Akihiko, although to be honest I think I may struggle to keep up with his levels of discipline.
They could feature only the athletic characters as instructors, but ideally I’d like to see every character featured, as each would have their own way of motivating you. You could have the less athletic characters (like Futaba) as instructors early on, and only unlock the more active ones as you progress. You could even include Morgana as some kind of crazy motivational uber-trainer that you only unlock after completing it with everyone else. They could cast the player as one of the protagonist characters, or alternatively feature the protagonists as instructors in their own right. I’ll leave that up to Atlus.
As rewards for completing particular exercises or achieving a certain score, you could unlock story elements or conversations, allowing you to have interactions and learn a bit more about the trainer you are using. You would also be able to unlock costume changes, music and locations from the series. Although the characters are probably the main thing that I think makes this a good fit, the music is also pretty important in a fitness game and Persona has some of the best video game music I’ve ever heard, so I think it would work perfectly – they wouldn’t even need to write any new tracks for it. Come to think of it, they wouldn’t need to actually create much except the exercise elements, as the locations, the characters and the music already exist.
A fitness game crossover could work with many games, however there is another reason why I’ve chosen Persona. A lot of the messaging, at least in Persona 5, is about self improvement – being the best you – and this is exactly how the messaging around a fitness game could work. Wanna be like the protagonist (or any of the other characters)? Well you have to work hard to get there. It is really difficult to find motivation to exercise every day but with these amazing characters to spur me on I think I could establish a great exercise routine that I actually enjoy doing and by doing it I’d be increasing my stats – both in real life and in game.
There are obviously a lot of details that need working out for this, most importantly how to make it into a high quality game rather than just a novelty crossover, but the idea of what could be done really excites me. This is a shame in a way as it is never going to actually happen but I can keep dreaming… and maybe have videos of Persona 5 Dancing in Starlight playing on YouTube whilst I play Fitness Boxing!
So, what do you think? Do you reckon this would make a good game? Perhaps you have other ideas for existing series that would translate well into fitness games? Let me know your thoughts below and don’t forget to share this with Atlus at the first opportunity *wink*
Thanks for reading,