Persona 4[a] is a role-playing video game developed and published by Atlus for Sony’s PlayStation 2, and chronologically the fifth installment in the Persona series, itself a part of the larger Megami Tensei franchise. The game was released in Japan in July 2008, North America in December 2008, and Europe in March 2009. Persona 4 takes place in a fictional Japanese countryside and is indirectly related to earlier Persona games. The player-named protagonist is a high-school student who moved into the countryside from the city for a year. During his year-long stay, he becomes involved in investigating mysterious murders while harnessing the power of summoning Persona. The game features a weather forecast system with events happening on foggy days to replace the moon phase system implemented in the previous games.
The plot of Persona 4 was inspired by the work of mystery novelists owing to its murder mystery premise. The rural setting was based on a town on the outskirts of Mount Fuji and intended as a “‘nowhere’ place” and is the central setting to have players sympathize with the daily life of the characters. The developers added many in-game events to prevent the game from becoming stale. During the localization, numerous alterations to names and cultural references were made to preserve the effect through translation, but some Japanese cultural references were altered or removed. The release of the game in Japan was accompanied by merchandise such as character costumes and accessories. The North American package of the game was released with a CD with selected music from the game, and, unlike Persona 3, the European package also contained a soundtrack CD. The game’s score was primarily composed by Shoji Meguro, with vocals performed by Shihoko Hirata.
The game was positively received by critics and developed into a full franchise. An enhanced version of the game for the PlayStation Vita, Persona 4 Golden, was released in 2012. Various other manga and light novel adaptations and spin-offs have been produced. An anime television adaptation by AIC ASTA, titled Persona 4: The Animation, began airing in Japan in October 2011, with an anime adaptation of Persona 4 Golden airing in July 2014. The game has also spawned two fighting game sequels, Persona 4 Arena and Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, and a rhythm game, Persona 4: Dancing All Night.
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