Someone Can't Handle Persona 5's Fourth-Walling

By Julian Benson on at

At the start of Persona 5 is a notice stating the game is a work of fiction. This isn't that common for a video game but, hey, so what, right? It then gets a little weird. Before you're allowed to proceed a character called Igor says you must sign a contract stating you agree this is a work of fiction. It's a bit of a joke and gets you warmed up for the game.

But not everyone is a fan:

persona

That's over on NeoGAF where, to its credit, the thread quickly descends into a collective facepalm. It's not like many people would disagree with the idea that Persona 5 is a work of fiction.

I don't want to pour scorn on the guy for getting the heebie-jeebies, though, because it actually taps into why I love this opening. Persona 5 is the first Persona game I've got properly stuck into and part of the reason I was drawn in was how it so quickly alerted me to the oddities which make this world so enjoyable. This opening is narrated by a character you learn is Igor. He's a series regular, I later found out, who sits as warden of a prison in the metaverse. He deals in contracts and agreements, talking to you about the characters you meet and the Persona you amass as contracted companions.

In other words, this is a character who lives in the metaverse speaking directly to you outside the 'boundaries' of the game, and he does it in order to get you to agree that the events of the game are fiction. Persona 5 is a game which is all about a world existing outside the real world.

This first interaction is Igor breaking the fourth wall, subverting your expectations of a game's opening and making you take notice of what's going on. Think about it: how many times have you booted up a new game and just clicked through a few pages of text to get to the title screen? Yeah of course I agree to your terms, now let me play. Igor knocks you out of this autopilot mode and makes it clear that, even when you're not paying attention, Persona 5 is.