What is a “mature” story to you? Let us know for Episode 30!

(Art by TrueSelf)

For a good while now we’ve discussed, debated, and even poked fun at what some fans constitute a “mature” story as. Obviously our fake Persona 5 trailer being a culmination of the latter. Since then though, some people have felt we were being a little too dismissive of those who might want a “darker” game in the franchise.

So this got me thinking: What really *is* a mature story to you?

It’s an interesting thing to consider as tone, setting, theme, characterization and many other factors play into what any story is ultimately about. So it’s high time we tackle this topic head on and address some things.

So share with us your thoughts on the matter, and I’ll see to it that your comments are read on the next episode. Though just give us more general opinions/thoughts–not point by point details on your wishes for a Persona 5 plot.

The recording will be this Friday, so get those comments in well ahead of time!


For this

10 thoughts on “What is a “mature” story to you? Let us know for Episode 30!

  1. Well it needs to be dark. More importantly, it needs to be edgier than the iron throne. As for a serious answer I guess a “mature” story features emotionally mature characters who are put into realistic situations. It doesn’t have to be dark and edgy to be mature. The cast should also go through some good character development while facing the problems thrown at them. Its kind of hard to describe what makes for a good mature story. Perhaps that is why we latched on to college=mature.

  2. I don’t care for super dark or gritty stories because I feel like today’s world is already to negative. That’s why I liked p4’s story. It’s light hearted and is serious when it needs to be but for the most part you have fun. Like you should with games. My question would be though is what do people today constitute as dark or serious. People say they want it but what is it. Do people want drugs sex alcohol depression betrayal hatred and such in games? Is that what people consider dark?

  3. If I were to be completely blunt as to how I wished Persona 5 to be more mature, it would be that the game wasn’t afraid to show the player the serious consequences of their own actions. In Persona 3 and 4, the player can essentially cheat on all of the girls and not get caught, and even if they did get caught, they would only receive a mere slap on the wrist with a reverse social link. But what if Persona 5 decided to do something more. What if you cheating on a female party member, indirectly led to her death. Or maybe you cheating on a certain party member causes that person to join the opposite faction that opposes yours. There are limitless possibilities that ATLUS can explore when it comes to the negative repercussions of the player’s decisions, and is the “mature” aspect that I wish to see implemented.

    • Now that I looked back on my post, I didn’t really state what I think a mature “story” should be. Well besides what I stated before, factors such as tone, setting, theme, and characterization in the series haven’t disappointed me so far. To me, a mature story is one that dives deep into the many things that physically and mentally plague us in our everyday lives (which are things that Persona 3 & 4 did exceptionally.) In my opinion, the actual stories of the Persona series were mature enough just the way they are.

  4. Okay, I have an idea for a really dark story. The entire world is trapped in an eternal night. There is no light. Pretty “dark” right?

    Oh wait, that’s not what you meant? Okay putting my horrible joke aside, I believe that a story being “dark” or “mature” is pretty subjective. But for me a story doesn’t have to be dark to be mature or vice versa. I guess I would say that for a story to be mature is for the characters to be realistic and to even have development. Being “mature” doesn’t mean you can’t have comic relief or moments that people would call silly. Characters should go through realistic problems and feel like almost real people. That would be how I would like a story to be more mature. Characters with realistic problems that people can relate to.

    In all honesty I’d rather not have Persona 5’s story to be dark. Who says you can’t have a mature game be a little light hearted? To quote Yahtzee from Zero Punctuation: “I can’t remember the last time I saw a wizard casting magic with a fucking smile on his face. It’s always a grim, half-hooded scowl of disgust, like he’s shaking off some stubborn ear-wax rather than the manifested power of the Fire Spirits. ‘Ooh, I had to fight in a big war because I’ve got mastery of time and space; meh meh meh’. Why don’t you magic yourself cheerful, you gloomy spod?”

    TL;DR you can have a story be mature without it being dark.

  5. I’m not really a fan of using ‘mature’ to describe something since it often implies looking down on things that don’t meet your maturity criteria. A thing doesn’t have to be mature in order to be of value. That said, I personally think that a mature story needs to involve characters who I can empathise with and who I can see, well, mature through the course of the story. In order to facilitate that, the story should present challenges. These challenges don’t have to be ‘dark and edgy’ or anything to do with karmic flow and the Lovecraftian horrors of college but they have to be tough enough to force maturation out of the characters and should tie in with the key theme of the work.

    I feel all the Persona games achieve this really well. Using one of my favourite characters as an example, Yukiko learning how to cook and get a job seems pretty minor in the grand scheme of things. However, it’s a really big undertaking for that character who has never had to do anything like that before in her life but feels compelled to after being called out by her Shadow. She makes a rash decision to uproot everything she’s ever known and basically start over and learning to cook is the first step in that process. Eventually, she learns to appreciate what she has around her which ties in with a key P4 theme of family and friends as well as discovering what you really want out of life. This seems like really basic stuff but it’s real and I can connect to that, having gone through similar growing pains myself. Now I’m not saying that it all has to be so slice-of-lifey. The imagery and symbolism of fighting Hitler with mind demons is also mature and awesome but I just primarily look for something different.

    So it sounds like obvious wordplay but to me a ‘mature’ story is one in which the characters go on a journey and mature as people in a way that I can relate to. This isn’t the only thing that makes a story ‘mature’, of course, but it’s the one that I feel most strongly about and so the one I wanted to elaborate on. I have more but at the risk of this becoming even longer and less coherent, I’ll wrap it up by saying that I think you guys are doing an awesome job. You’re rapidly improving as podcasters and you should keep it up!

  6. Mature storytelling has restraint, but I’d settle for consistency. Persona 2s, 3, and 4 (never played 1) all got ridiculous cutscenes, “Tears are running from Aigis’s eyes, despite the fact she is a robot…” type stuff. But only P4 has “Will you spend the day staring out at the ocean, contemplating the vastness on the horizon?” as normal activity text. Jrpgs need to spread the earnestness evenly or give up the friendship speeches. Immature storytelling is when the tone’s so unstable you can feel it groping at contrivances, trying to get an emotional rise out of you. Realism isn’t a requirement — atmosphere can be stylized, same as art — but a mature story feels believable on its own terms, always.

    But right now videogame “mature” seems to mean acknowledging life isn’t easy. “Mature” game stories have overwhelmed protagonists, disagreeable party members, and pyrrhic victories. It’s a little embarrassing, like we’re asking games to affect a world weariness so we can prove how cool and jaded we are, but hey, baby steps. The popularity of Cart Life and Papers Please means an avalanche of “mature” games is in our future, and one or two are gonna be great. Videogames are fucking glorious, I can’t believe how quickly what was experimental becomes normal. Not for jrpgs maybe, but overall.

    [Dumb rant, not for outloud reading:]

    I don’t think maturity needs grit or realism. I think realism’s just easier to empathize with. You know what’s at stake. Persona 3’s a great example of that going wrong. I love the game, but who thought it was a good idea to use the loss of loved ones as a power up? Even the dog’s in mourning. It’s ridiculous. Natsuki transferring is like the punchline to a 50 hour joke. They’d killed so many characters already another death would be meaningless, but Fuuka still needed her second tier persona, so they shipped Natsuki out of town. And all those deaths don’t even form a cohesive message, because Persona 3 tells you to simultaneously believe loss is THE trigger for growth and to see worth in a person’s choice to face their fears; inevitability and struggle don’t mix. By winter, the story had gone trite. Token tragedies for everyone.

    “The power to protect” and “I’m done running away!” are the complete opposites of the post-modern flavored stuff we take seriously. That’s why jrpgs seem immature. Seeing characters with inexhaustible willpower seize control of their own fates is like being told Santa really does exist. And I’m not saying ‘we’ jokingly, I personally am really, REALLY sick of character arcs ending with them stopping cold turkey whatever they were doing wrong. That’s not development! That’s resolution. It’s separating the characters from their flaws, erasing essential parts of their personality like cowardice or whatever is just a status effect. Totally unsatisfying. I can handle epiphanies in games like Persona 4, where over-the-top earnestness is part of the system, but not otherwise.

    Traditional jrpgs are crap at telling interesting coming of age stories. We’re talking a genre where hitting the X button for a hundred hours earns you the power to kill god. There’s no question you’re going to get stronger, inertia isn’t even an option. Because of how friggin long they are, jrpgs are uniquely suited to invoking fears involving regrets, like the fear of irreversible loss (NIER, Shadow Hearts 2) or the fear of having spiralled out of control (Soul Nomad’s evil path), but man they just keep going for the ‘reach your full potential’ theme. The only jrpg I’ve seen pull that off is Dragon Quest 5, and that’s because DQ5 is a super wholesome, tonally consistent game about the rewards of progress (surpassing your parent, becoming a parent, watching your kids save the world).

    tl;dr: jrpgs are bad at cause and effect because they don’t bother with internal logic, they moralize. It’s immature and also irritating. Still love ’em though.[/rant]

  7. I don’t think persona needs blood or gore to be dark I think it needs more shocking events like a betrayal or a death of a important character some you had time to care about and feel connected to ( not something like shinji ) and to let us see the effect of it on cast more something like Nanko death was huge shock and could have changed the tempo of the game from there but it in like 3 min she comes back

    • Another idea is also let the group have different ideas and you my not always agree which leads to some conflict in group maybe to an extent that some goes solo or out right fights the group you can also tie slink to the whole thing.I think making the characters and the group as a whole more dynamic will allow you to connect and understand them more so when the go sour you can feel the change and it’s effect more
      Hope you see my comments

  8. Among the many games I’ve played and heard about, Mother 3 had a lot of VERY dark and depressing elements to it. I won’t reveal anything due to spoilers, but it’s nothing compared to Mother 2/EarthBound. Another game I played: Magna Carta 2, there was a certain character in that game, I don’t know if it was just me and my alarming intuition, but the first time they were introduced, I knew they were a traitor, and near the end the game, wouldn’t you know it? I was right. This game also had some pretty dark elements to it as well.

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