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The Real Reason Persona 5 Strikers Changed Its Name

Fans have been waiting a long time for the release of Persona 5 Strikers in the West, but it finally comes out on Feb. 23, 2021. And when it arrives, it'll have a different name than the version that was released in Japan, where it was called Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers

Actually, Persona 5 Scramble wasn't its original name, either. Developers say that the game has been in progress since 2016 — back when the role-playing game Persona 5 was released. At the time, the name of the game was Persona Musou (Warriors), Koei Tecmo's Kazutoshi Sekiguchi told SiliconEra. In the "story-filling stage," the company decided to turn it into a hack-and-slash action game that looks deeper into Persona 5's characters.

This follow-up released in Japan in February 2020 as Persona 5 Scramble, and fans have been eagerly awaiting it on U.S. shores. They started to worry in October 2020, when many noticed that the localization of Persona 5 Scramble for the West was not mentioned in Koei Tecmo's financial report. In December, however, the release date was leaked by a YouTube trailer. At the time of this writing, it's official.

But why the name change? Here's the real reason Persona 5 Strikers is now called that instead of something else.

Localization, localization, localization

When games are localized, aspects within them are changed to reflect the language, laws, and culture of the regions for which they're being altered. As that process happens, name changes do occur. One well-publicized such change was with Japan's Biohazard, which became the Resident Evil series in the U.S. when it was pointed out that Bio Hazard was the name of an already-existing PC game as well as a New York City band. Capcom would've had trouble getting the rights to the name as a result.

In the case of the Persona series, there's precedent in the ways previous game titles were localized to be more English-friendly. Japan's Persona 4: The Ultimate in Mayonaka Arena from 2012 became Persona 4 Arena, while Persona 4: The Ultimax in Ultra Suplex Hold eventually became Persona Ultimax. Persona 3: Dancing Moon Night was changed to Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight, while Persona 5: Dancing Star Night debuted in the West as Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight. Additionally, Personal 5 The Royal was shortened slightly in the West to Persona 5 Royal

In each of these cases, the wording was changed to make the titles shorter, more understandable, and easier to remember for English speakers.

Persona 5 Scramble vs. Persona 5 Strikers

While fans may never get official word on why the name change occurred, the word "strikers" has a more action-oriented tone than the word "scramble." As one Twitter user pointed out, the term may remind English speakers of eating eggs. Another pointed out it just sounds cooler. In the previous games mentioned, titles got shorter and the word "the" was often removed, so Persona 5 Strikers is really just following consistent localization methods and trends. 

However, in simplifying the title, Atlus might have gone a bit too far. Some fans can't help noticing that the "strikers" part of the name is reminiscent of forwards in soccer. This makes the Persona 5 sequel sound like a game in which players engage in the world's most popular sport, or that maybe it is a spinoff of Mario Strikers instead.

As expectant gamers know, neither of these are the case. The game follows the high-school Phantom Thieves, led by Joker, as they battle corruption in Japanese cities after a Kyoto detective enlists their help. Persona 5 Strikers will be out very soon, so devotees of the series and new players alike will be able to find out for themselves if the Americanized name truly fits.