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The Next X-Men Game Should Go Full Persona

Marvel’s mutants could learn a thing or two from Atlus

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The x-men pose in a group shot
Image: Disney

There have been a lot of good X-Men games in the past, hell there’s even enough to make a whole list of them! But there is one thing I’ve always felt these past titles were missing that I think would make for the perfect X-Men game: They should be more like the Persona series.

Atlus’s beloved social-sim/dungeon-crawling RPG franchise might seem like a peculiar choice. When people think of X-Men games they mostly think of action titles that let you mow through enemies as iconic characters like Cyclops and Wolverine with reckless abandon. Those are all well and good, but they miss out on the best part of the X-Men: the relationships! Beyond fighting off evil humans, evil mutants, and evil robots, the X-Men have always been about a large cast of loveable outcasts growing and bonding with each other. We need a game that brings that to the forefront. With its heavy emphasis on social links, in which players bond with characters to learn new story beats as well as unlock powerful mechanics for combat, Persona is the series to look to for inspiration.


Furthermore, the next X-Men game should also be set in a school. While both the Fox movies and the recent X-Men ‘97 series feature the school as a location, the school life of the Xavier Institute’s students is never front and center—it takes a backseat to the heroics. The Institute is one of the main settings for the comics, but since the X-Men’s most iconic characters are adults, the actual school aspects of the location never seem all that important.

A girl with glasses talking to the Persona 3 protagonist
Image: SEGA

But I’m here to tell you that it’s essential. As demonstrated in comics like Grant Morrison’s New X-Men and Jason Aaron’s Wolverine and the X-Men, a major part of the mutant story is about how the new generation of mutants is taught by the old guard. Putting players in the shoes of a new student is a way to acclimate them to the complex world of the X-Men and introduce them to fascinating characters and a myriad of activities to pursue. Teaching them about what’s going on in this strange world is literally the point of a school!

Oh, and this Persona-esque X-Men game should not put you in the boots of the most iconic, characters. At this point, playing as Wolverine or Cyclops is tired and boring—these are are characters that have been done to death. Instead, those characters should be NPCs taking on roles as professors at the Institute. That gives them a key role without forcing the game to be entirely about them. There are so many interesting young mutants that deserve their chance in the limelight. Be it the New Mutants, Generation X, or Morrison’s unique cast of newbies (like Glob Herman), fresh faces are the best way to go for a new X-Men game.


Mechanically, the school then operates as it does in a Persona title. Players can spend their days in the progressing in-game calendar choosing to boost certain skills: Combat could be improved by going to the Danger Room, you could increase your intelligence by studying with Beast, and more. All of this would then be supported by social links with different professors and fellow students.

A class of mutants sitting in desks
Image: Marvel Comics

The social sim aspects would be balanced with combat, like sending players out on missions that function similarly to Persona’s dungeons. Picking and choosing your party of X-Men and fighting off iconic enemies satisfies the need to live the power fantasy of a superhero with some customization options to boot. A varied list of party members could shine the spotlight on some beloved but lesser-known characters. It also gels with the way the team is represented in the comics: part strike force, and part student body. T 2022’s Marvel’s Midnight Suns does a lot of this stuff, leaning into social elements focused on character connection, which is probably the most interesting part of the game. Give me more of that!

We might not have to wait long for a new X-Men game, as it leaked last year that Spider-Man developer Insomniac has allegedly slated a game in the beloved mutant universe for 2030. It would come off the back of the studio’s upcoming Wolverine game. While that’s exciting, it means my pipe dream of a Persona-like X-Men title is even further from reality, as Insomniac sits pretty squarely in the traditional third-person action space. But that won’t stop me from hoping that one day I’ll get that perfect X-Men game.