How Persona 5 Royal Changes Those Homophobic Scenes

In the localization process, P5R got some tweaks. You can see how one of the altered scenes plays out.

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During a preview event for Persona 5 Royal, I spoke with senior localization manager Yu Namba about some of the changes Atlus West made to the new version of the game. In our conversation, he mentioned that two gay characters, who were portrayed as predatory in the original version, had their lines of dialogue tweaked. Namba and company recognized the issue, saying, "the community had a very strong response," and mentioned the process the team went through to change these scenes.

Well, now that we've played the localized version of P5R, this also means we can see how these scenes have actually changed in the localization process. This includes the first time you encounter the two characters as they approach Ryuji in Shinjuku, and the second appearance during the beach scene later on in the game.

The following is the Shinjuku scene from the original version of Persona 5:

Uncanny Voice: Oooh, a real huuuge catch, you say? I'm getting pumped too!

Scruffy Romantic: What a cutie! And so muscular too. I give you an 85 out of 100!

Ryuji: Gah! Wh-Who are you!?

Beefy Trendsetter: Gwahahaha! I'm the naughty troll of Shinjuku! I'm gonna eat you up!

Ryuji: H-Hey, wait... Lemme go! Dude, help! You can hear me, can't you!?

[Player dialogue options: 1) So this is Shinjuku... 2) You're so popular. 3) Show them your inner man.]

Ryuji: You just gonna leave me here like this!? C'mon, your best friend's in trouble here!

Beefy Trendsetter: Hehehe, what an energetic studmuffin, I'll give you all the freebies you could ever desire!

Scruffy Romantic: The night is young, and so are you! Let's party it up!

A snippet of the scene in question from the original version of Persona 5.
A snippet of the scene in question from the original version of Persona 5.

The following is how that same dialogue sequence plays out in Persona 5 Royal:

Deep Voice: Ooh, you're right! He really WOULD be a natural! But, a graphic tee with plaid pants? Ugh, kill me now.

Ryuji: Whoa, who the hell are they!?

???: Oh, hell has nothing to do with it, honey. I'm Angel--straight out of heaven!

???: And I'm Julian. Julie, if you're feeling saucy!

Angel: What a cutie! You'd never guess he was into the drag scene... I say we show him the ropes!

Julian: You can't deny it! We saw you peeking into Crossroads! Well, sweetie, if you're curious, we'll help you look DIVINE!

Ryuji: Wait, hey, it's not like that--Dude, help! Tell them we were just investigatin', or something!

[Player dialogue options: 1) Can't blow our cover. 2) But you're a natural. 3) Knock 'em dead.]

Ryuji: You just gonna leave me here like this!? C'mon, your best friend's in trouble here!

Julian: Oh, honey, you've got the chutzpah. And those cheekbones--I LOVE it! That's what it takes to be a star!

Angel: Just follow my lead, stud! We're gonna put your name in lights! And I know just the dress for you...

That same scene, but from Persona 5 Royal.
That same scene, but from Persona 5 Royal.

One thing to note is that the context behind why the scene takes place is much different, too. In P5R, the two characters here noticed Ryuji peeking into Crossroads, which is a crossdresser bar ran by the character Lala-chan and where you just met with confidant Ichiko Ohya to progress the story. This prompts the couple to approach Ryuji about getting him to do drag. In the original game, they simply approach Ryuji after overhearing his conversation with Joker about their investigation and Ryuji being pumped about it.

Another thing to note is that the two characters now have actual names--Angel and Julian--instead of odd descriptors for names. And there's no longer an implication that one of them put their hands on Ryuji as he no longer says, "lemme go!"

There is a second scene that features the two characters which takes place during the Phantom Thieves' beach trip on 8/29 of the in-game calendar. They once again approach Ryuji and Joker, and in the original version of Persona 5, the dialogue sequence unfolds as follows:

Deep Voice: See, I told you they'd be here! I could sense it deep within my loins!

Brawny Voice: Those lovely boys look like they're just begging to be hit on!

Ryuji: Y-You're those guys from Shinjuku...! What're you doin' here!?

Scruffy Romantic: Oh my! I can't believe we've been reunited in such a stunning place!

Beefy Trendsetter: Smells like destiny to me!

Scruffy Romantic: We're the fashion police! If you don't answer our questions, we'll take you away!

Beefy Trendsetter: So, which of us do you think is more manly?

Ryuji: Wh-What're you talkin' about...?

Scruffy Romantic: Oh dear, your time is up! Sorry, but it was a trick question. The correct answer is...we're both lovely!

Beefy Trendsetter: You interfered with our duties by not answering the question! I sentence you to...stripping! Oooh, my fashionista skills would be perfect for this! Hands behind your head!

Ryuji: A-Aaaaaaaaaagh!

[Ryuji and Joker run away]

Beefy Trendsetter: The suspects are escaping! Catch them!

Ryuji: I think... we lost 'em...

Part of the beach scene in the original Persona 5.
Part of the beach scene in the original Persona 5.

Now, here's how the dialogue unfolds in that same scene in Persona 5 Royal:

Deep Voice: O-M-G. It's the golden boy himself!

Brawny Voice: And he's already got his own little entourage! We really did teach him right, didn't we?

Ryuji: You!? Oh no... What are YOU guys doin' here!?

Angel: Sometimes we just gotta get out of the city! Forget the nightlife, breathe fresh air, enjoy some eye candy...

Julian: We thought we'd lost our protege! Who would've guessed our vaycay was actually the call of fate?

Angel: Aw, what's with the look? Don't believe in fate? Or did you really not have fun last time?

Julian: You gonna tell us you saw yourself in all that chiffon and felt nothing?

Ryuji: I-I don't think I felt what you guys were hopin'...

Angel: Aw, honey, I get it. Everyone's nervous when they first start out, but trust me. You'll make their jaws drop!

Julian: Just an hour at the vanity, three hours at the boutique, and we can just pick up where we left off last time. So...are you ready to steal some hearts?

Ryuji: Uh, we gotta go! Sorry!

[Ryuji and Joker run away]

Julian: Was it something I said...? Ugh, what a tragedy. Another starlet slips through our fingers.

Ryuji: Ugh! No! No more makeovers! Ughhh!

The same beach scene in P5R.
The same beach scene in P5R.

Are the changes in P5R a better portrayal of these characters than what's in the original? Yes, by miles. Is it a decent portrayal of these characters on its own? I'm not so sure.

For more on the game, be sure to read my early review impressions of Persona 5 Royal and see how a lot of the new content affects the experience. You can also read the full interview with Yu Namba on how Persona has evolved over the years in the West.

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