Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's Persona 5 DLC Appears to Include a Disability Slur [UPDATED]

By Laura Kate Dale on at
UPDATE 16:00 UK 19/04/2019

We have published a retraction of this article here: We Screwed Up With That Persona Lyric. You should probably read that, and skip this.

UPDATE 20:34 UK 18/04/2019
A lot of Persona fans are insisting the lyrics are "retort it" or "ritardendo" (a musical term). We've listened again and still don't quite hear it that way, but thought we'd update to allow that there may be an innocent explanation and we're simply dealing with an unfortunate sound-alike. We have asked various companies involved with Persona for clarification on these lyrics, and will of course update again with any reply.

Earlier today an update to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate brought the game up to version 3.0, and brought with it several big changes. Players can now create and share custom stages online and DLC Pack 1 arrived, adding Persona 5 protagonist Joker to the game.

Part of the DLC pack's addition includes a number of Persona music tracks, which can be listened to in full outside of battle. However, one of these tracks caught our attention for all the wrong reasons.

In the track 'Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There', if you skip to around 1:48 into the track, you'll reach a section of the song where words are softly spoken rather than sung. At around 1:58 it appears the term "retarded" is used, and followed up by the assertion that "I can say it." The official lyrics for the song, curiously enough, does not include this spoken word section. This is our transcription of what's said.

Oh Ah Hi

Are you ready?

Ready to pick up the pieces

Let’s go, let’s play, retarded

I can say it

Are you ready?

Uh Huh

You can listen for yourself here.

The term 'retarded' is considered a slur against people with mental disabilities. It has been commonly used as a pejorative term to diminish the capabilities of those with certain mental health conditions, and is widely accepted as a term which should not be used in English-speaking parts of the world. In fact, many parts of the world are trying to phase it out of medical texts and replace it with terms like intellectual disability.

Needless to say, this does not exactly fit Nintendo's family friendly image, nor seem an especially appropriate inclusion in a game with a 12 rating (or indeed any game). As well as that odd detail of the official lyrics not including this section of the song, it's also the case that another version of this theme, which features in Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight, removes this section entirely.

We have reached out to both Nintendo and Persona 5's European publisher Deep Silver for comment, and will update this article with any response.