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Welcome to concept art appreciation, our new semi-regular feature that pays tribute to some the best work done by the artists behind the scenes. Before the developers can start building people out of polygons, the characters and worlds within a game need to be defined on the page by an artist. Some select games feature art so gorgeous that you just have to stand back and appreciate it outside of the game, and that’s certainly true for…

Game: Persona 4
Artist: Shigenori Soejima

Soejima has been the designer on the Persona series since the first game in the series launched on the PlayStation, and he did some of his best work as the art director on Persona 4. Compared to previous entries, P4 lightened the mood, added more unassuming protagonists, and had a much more everyday setting than Persona 3. Despite those changes and constrictions, P4’s cast was distinct, and the town of Inaba was one of our favorites in recent memory.

In addition to the normal demands of character and world design, Soejima and the other artists on Persona 4 put a ton of effort into designing the many Shadows and Personas that were integral to the game’s deep story. Each of these had to express some telling part of the character’s personality that was hidden deep within. Both the art and writing deserve praise for crafting such strong characters--each new Shadow/Persona you come across feels simultaneously like a surprise reveal and a natural extension of a character, and that’s all evident in the concept art.

Soejima and the rest of Atlus’ design team also found interesting ways to incorporate bright yellow throughout their work. The color is immediately eye-catching, partially because so few games use it as a dominant color, but the art team made it feel natural without detracting from the reality of the world.

If you want to see more of Shigenori’s work, you can see severaltranslated versions of his art books on Amazon. And of course, be sure to play Persona 4: Golden on PS Vita to see his most recent work in motion.

15 comments

  • gryzor - January 22, 2013 5:11 a.m.

    That's a good idea. I'd be great to have some descriptions about influences and such for each picture. Piggyback beware.
  • RuBIX - January 21, 2013 7:03 p.m.

    Im really diggin this feature. Keep it up!
  • sandplasma - January 20, 2013 4:25 p.m.

    The whole Persona 4 art would be 5x cooler without those stupid hipster glasses everyone is wearing.
  • RebornKusabi - January 20, 2013 4:33 p.m.

    *talks like a nerd* Actually they're special glasses that help them see through supernatural fog GAWD!!!
  • RebornKusabi - January 20, 2013 4:33 p.m.

    P.S. They're just an excuse for the artist to draw women with sexy hipster glasses
  • alex-roy-bristol - January 20, 2013 7:46 p.m.

    Again, the rules of eroge! ;D
  • Cyberninja - January 20, 2013 9:29 p.m.

    They wore the glasses before they were mainstream.
  • shawksta - January 20, 2013 3:28 p.m.

    Nice idea for a feature, #5 HAHA NO ONE WILL KNOW WHO I AM
  • avantguardian - January 20, 2013 6:55 a.m.

    it's weird, but, with all of the great games coming out in the next couple of years, and the shift to the next console generation, the one thing i'm holding my breath for/looking forward to is a new persona game. arena is all well and swell, but no new (real)persona game in this generation (the longest one ever!!) is a fucking travesty. A TRAVESTY!!! ps i agree w/ the others that this is a great new feature. it's unfortunate that people can look at art and somehow say that that's not what it actually is...
  • JMarsella09 - January 19, 2013 9:25 p.m.

    My love for Persona 4 is beyond words.
  • RebornKusabi - January 19, 2013 5 p.m.

    This is a novel idea, pity that game sucks- what kind of tool would use Persona 4 artwork as their avatar picture?
  • alex-roy-bristol - January 19, 2013 3:41 p.m.

    When I was really young, I played the 1st Persona and thought that it was an Eroge... I can never unthink that now, even as I play all of the others... XD Great article, and I agree with RacialEpithet, keep it up please! <3

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