Persona 5 may not have received a direct sequel just yet, but Persona 5 Strikers went a long way to scratch that itch for fans, even though it didn't play the same way as its source material. Persona 5 Strikers offers just about everything one could ask for in a direct Persona 5 sequel: charming new allies, compelling new villains, and valuable character arcs that explore the past and future of many individual Phantom Thieves. Out of all those benefits, though, one could argue that the new characters stole the show. With every arc of the game, the Phantom Thieves' new AI companion Sophia was always at the heart of the narrative.
Sophia goes on quite a journey thanks to her desire to understand the human heart. Not only does she come to begin understanding how humans think and feel, but Sophia understands herself better in the process, learning to claim her independence and will of rebellion. Although Persona 5 Strikers might seem to wrap up Sophia's character arc, there's actually some reasons for her to reappear and begin a new journey. What's more, the context of the Persona franchise might have given Sophia the perfect reason to return in Persona 6 by coincidence. Humanity's companion may have only just begun her story. Warning: Persona 5 Strikers spoilers ahead!
Persona 6's Potential Road Trip
For one thing, Sophia would be easy to introduce if Persona 6 uses the original concept for its predecessor. Persona 5 was famously once supposed to be a game about a road trip or backpacking tour, where a team of Persona users would travel around the world and discover themselves abroad while interacting with the supernatural. Atlus later decided to keep Persona 5 within Japan, but it's possible that it could pull the concept of international travel off the shelf for Persona 6, especially now that Persona has a bigger international audience than ever. A global Persona tour that visits some of the franchise's new major fan regions sounds like fun.
It's also a big convenience for Sophia. At the end of Persona 5 Strikers, Sophia decides to join her creator, Kuon Ichinose, on a journey to learn more about the human heart. Although Persona 5 Strikers isn't specific about where Sophia and Ichinose will go, it's possible that the pair of them will go abroad, which means they'd have ample opportunity to meet a new party of Persona users on an international journey. Strikers may have taken Sophia all around Japan already, but Persona 6 could take her outside her home country to learn even more about powerful emotions like empathy, pain, and determination.
Sophia's Growth in the Persona World
Another crucial part of Persona 5 Strikers' ending begs for a second Sophia appearance in the next game. In the game's final hour, during the penultimate Jail's boss battle, Sophia replaces her simulation of a Persona with a true Persona, showcasing her independence, willpower, and love for the Phantom Thieves. While it's an excellent moment for Sophia's character arc, it also means she only uses her true Persona very briefly, since the Phantom Thieves break their connection with the Metaverse once more later that day. On the whole, Sophia is a novice to her own Persona.
Persona 6 could be the perfect opportunity to let Sophia learn to use her real Persona and gain even more independence than ever before. She could readily be a member of Persona 6's starting party, so long as she and Ichinose run into the new group of Persona users. As someone who has already entered the Persona world and used a Persona before, she could still be a little bit of a guide for the other characters in spite of how much she has to learn. She could be just like Morgana and Teddie, who serve as guides for their respective teams in spite of their own inexperience.
Connecting the Persona Games
A broader question about the Persona franchise's status could lead to Sophia's prompt return to the forefront. Although the Persona games usually all star a unique cast of characters and don't have much connectivity with one another, there's always one character that ties them together: Igor. However, it's a little unclear if Igor will be in Persona 6. Igor's Japanese voice actor, who played him since the beginning of the series, died during Persona 5's production and has yet to be replaced, which may be why Igor isn't in Persona 5 Strikers. It's possible that Atlus will phase out Igor entirely in favor of a new Velvet Room attendant, but then Persona will lack a bridge between games.
Sophia may be a very new character in the vast Persona mythos, but her recent introduction could make her the perfect connection between the Persona 5 games and a new Persona generation. Although Sophia probably wouldn't serve as a replacement for Igor in mechanical and lore terms, from the perspective of fans, she'd be a symbol of continuity, handing down the experience of the Persona world from one team of characters to another. Even if Igor returns, she'd be a valuable symbol of how the franchise has changed leading up to Persona 6.
Sophia's Next Chapter in Persona
Persona 6 stands to gain a lot from hypothetically reintroducing Sophia. She has already shown her value as a party member throughout Persona 5 Strikers, providing crucial healing as well as Bless damage. She's a big help outside of combat, too. Sophia's Shop would be a great way for Persona 6's party to get healing items and new equipment while they're on the road, and her knack for finding Jails could be repurposed into new supernatural senses for whatever threat looms over Persona 6's protagonists. Perhaps most importantly, it'd be great to see how Sophia changes as an increasingly emotional being through a Confidant arc in Persona 6.
For the time being, all that anyone can say for sure about Persona 6 is that Atlus is working on the game, and it's putting a lot of pressure on itself to make Persona 6 big. What exactly makes the game big remains to be seen, but Atlus' ambition is cause for optimism at the very least. Although it seems most likely that Persona 6 will star a group of wholly original characters, it's entirely possible that Sophia will play a major part in the game. Persona 5 Strikers certainly paved the way to make that possible.
Persona 5 Strikers is available now for PC, PS4, and Switch.
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