Opinion: Persona 5 will be a better game than Final Fantasy 15
I call it as I see it.
This is a point that's heavily skewed in favor Persona 5. Has there been a bad Persona story? I don't think so. There have been some truly awful Final Fantasy stories though. Like Final Fantasy 10-2, which went out of its way to defeat the purpose of Final Fantasy 10, the entirety of the Final Fantasy 13 series, and a number of shoddy spin-offs from the main series.
The problem with Final Fantasy stories is the same problem with Final Fantasy visuals: Square Enix needs to learn when to say stop. Just look at the train wreck of FF13, with the fal'Cie, l'Cie, Cie'th, and the convoluted Focus. Fortunately, SE seems to be toning down their terrible made up bullshit quota for Final Fantasy 15, but at the same time taking the game dangerously close to the same song and dance JRPGs have done for decades. Stop me if any of this sounds familiar:
The bishounen prince of a fallen kingdom, armed with swords and magic, must reclaim his throne from the evil ruler of an empire that has taken over the rest of the world. He'll take on this overwhelming enemy with a party consisting of himself and three friends that come from different backgrounds and social classes. Along the way he'll seek out an oracle, clash with the empire's watchdogs, meet a chancellor that's probably the true villain, and inevitably discover the conflict is much greater than originally thought.
I'm not saying Final Fantasy 15's story will be bad. It may turn out to be a modern classic that builds on its archetypal foundation, but there's not a lot of unique ground to cover after 30 plus different Final Fantasy titles. Not if they want to meet expectations as to what should be in a Final Fantasy game.
That's not to say Persona 5 isn't also borrowing a basic set-up for its story: A high school student arrives at a new school, becomes friends with the outliers, and joins a special club of sorts. In its set up, Persona 5 sounds like just about any high school anime drama seen in the last few years, but then it takes a hard turn into Persona territory with the introduction of Personas and the“Palace.” From there, finds its own identity in the series through the thievery theme.
How many games that you know of involve thieves fighting against demonic casino owners, and stealing the ill intent from human hearts to make them better people, among other things? Unique stories filled with strong characters and good writing are at the core of the Persona franchise, just as integral as the art direction, and that isn't likely to change here.