Persona 3 Reload’s ending, explained

Persona 3 Reload’s ending, explained

Persona 3 Reload is a long game with an emotional ending — made more emotional by the sheer amount of time you’ve spent in this world and with these characters. If you got the game’s true ending, you may still find yourself watching the credits and asking: Wait, is there anything I could’ve done differently?

In this Persona 3 Reload guide, we’ll walk you through the ending of the game, the fate of the game’s protagonist (Makoto Yuki), what influence you have over its outcome (if any), and how it all connects to Episode Aigis — the upcoming epilogue expansion.

[Spoiler Warning: This post contains major spoilers for the true ending of Persona 3 Reload and some minor spoilers for “The Answer” epilogue from Persona 3 FES, which is being remade into the upcoming Episode Aigis DLC for Persona 3 Reload. If you want to stay as spoiler-free as possible, bookmark this guide and return to it once you see the credits roll. In the meantime, check out our guides for classroom answers and social link requirements.]

A spoiler warning for Persona 3 Reload warns people not to scroll any further if they don’t want to know how to get the good ending in P3R. Graphic: Polygon | Source images: Atlus/Sega

Is the protagonist dead at the end of Persona 3 Reload?

The protagonist uses the Great Seal ability in Persona 3 Reload Image: Atlus/Sega via Polygon

Yes. When the protagonist falls asleep in Aigis’ lap, as all his friends are rushing up to the rooftop of the school, he passes away. This happens regardless of whether you choose the “……” option or the “Close them” option when the game tells you your eyes feel heavy. The blue butterfly fluttering away is meant to symbolize the character’s death in that moment.

OK, but how do we know for sure? Well, that answer — funnily enough — comes from the game’s epilogue expansion called “The Answer,” which is a part of Persona 3 FES. That expansion is not part of Persona 3 Reload, but it’s coming in September of 2024 as the Episode Aigis DLC.

In “The Answer” — and presumably Episode Aigis, based on how faithful Reload is to Persona 3 FES — you play as Aigis a few weeks after graduation and the death of the Leader character (which the game explicitly calls out). If you look back at the final battle against Nyx, the protagonist uses the Universe Persona to perform the Great Seal ability. The cost for casting Great Seal is equal to the Leader’s max health, suggesting that he gave everything to stop Nyx.

The death is a little bit more complex than that, but we’ll leave you to discover those answers in Episode Aigis. Just trust for now that — unless Atlus makes an absolutely massive change to the story — the Leader is dead.

Can you save the Leader in Persona 3 Reload?

The protagonist rests and dies on Aigis’ lap in Persona 3 Reload Image: Atlus/Sega via Polygon

No, technically. While you can choose to get the bad ending for Persona 3 Reload and kill Ryoji back in December, it’s understood that everyone on Earth will eventually die in that reality — even if you never see it. In order for everyone else to survive in Persona 3 Reload, the Leader must give up their own life to stop Nyx.

Sacrifice is part of the main story thrust of Persona 3 Reload, with many players losing loved ones to heroic moments of sacrifice. Yukari and Mitsuru’s fathers are both great examples of this theming at work. By dying for his friends and the world, the protagonist’s death completes the sacrificial theme.

Enjoy the game’s beautiful final moments knowing that you did nothing wrong here. You got the game’s good — albeit bittersweet — ending.