Gamasutra has examined the meaningful portrayal of sexuality in the recently released Persona 4. The protagonist, Kanji Tatsumi, views his alter ego, Shadow Kanji, as an openly gay and flamboyant manifestation within the in-game world, The Midnight Channel.

Although Kanji's sexuality remains ambiguous, the developer does not reject the possibility that he might be gay. Instead, the decision to leave Kenji's sexuality open was made to give players more context to the views on homosexuality in Japan. According to Yu Namba, Atlus USA's Persona 4 Project Lead, it was the developer's goal to retain the majority of the Japanese content and accurately portray the Eastern culture regarding the subject.

Varying sexual orientations within games from Japan are not unheard of, with Metal Gear Solid 2's Vamp ranking as one of the more famous outed characters. In this case, Kanji's internal turmoil with his orientation is a fascinating take on personal journey, which no other publisher has been brave enough to bring to the North American market.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

UK gaming market could eclipse Japan's in '09