Persona 5

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Persona 5
Persona 5 cover art.jpg
Developer(s) P-Studio
Publisher(s)
Director(s) Katsura Hashino
Producer(s) Katsura Hashino
Designer(s) Naoya Maeda
Programmer(s) Yujiro Kosaka
Artist(s)
Writer(s)
  • Katsura Hashino
  • Shinji Yamamoto
  • Yuichiro Tanaka
Composer(s) Shoji Meguro
Series Megami Tensei (main)
Persona (sub-series)
Platform(s)
Release
  • JP: September 15, 2016
  • WW: April 4, 2017
Genre(s) Role-playing, social simulation
Mode(s) Single-player

Persona 5[a] is a role-playing video game developed by Atlus for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. Persona 5 is chronologically the sixth installment in the Persona series, which is part of the larger Megami Tensei franchise. It was released in Japan in September 2016, and worldwide in April 2017, where it was published by Atlus in Japan and North America and by Deep Silver in Europe and Australia.

Persona 5 takes place in modern-day Tokyo, and follows the player-named protagonist after his transfer to the fictional Shujin Academy after being put on probation for an assault of which he was falsely accused. During the course of a school year, he and other students awaken to their Persona powers, becoming a group of secret vigilantes known as the Phantom Thieves of Hearts who explore the Metaverse, a supernatural realm consisting of the physical manifestation of humanity's subconscious desires, to change malevolent intent from the hearts of adults. As with previous titles in the series, the party does battle with enemies known as Shadows using physical manifestations of their psyche, called Personas. The game incorporates role-playing and dungeon crawling elements alongside social simulation scenarios.

Preparatory work began around the same time as the development of Persona 4, with full development beginning after the release of Catherine in 2011. The game was developed by P-Studio, an internal development studio within Atlus led by game director and producer Katsura Hashino. Along with Hashino, returning staff from earlier entries included character designer Shigenori Soejima and composer Shoji Meguro. The game's themes revolved around attaining freedom from the limitations of modern society, while its story was strongly inspired by picaresque fiction and the party's initial Personas were based around the theme of outlaws and rebels.

First announced in 2013, the game was delayed from its original late 2014 release date so its quality could be further improved. Persona 5 was met with critical acclaim, where it was considered to be one of the greatest role-playing games of all time. It was also nominated for and won multiple year-end awards and accolades, including several Game of the Year awards. The game went on to sell over two million copies worldwide by the end of 2017, making it the best-selling entry in the overall Megami Tensei franchise. Two anime adaptations, a manga, and a spin-off rhythm game, have also been produced.

Gameplay[edit]

The protagonist conducts two alternating lifestyles: a normal high school life involving going to class (top), and quests into the otherworldly Palaces to fight Shadows (bottom)

Persona 5 is a role-playing game where the player takes on the role of a high school student who lives out a single year while attending school in modern-day Tokyo. The game is governed by a day-night cycle and weather systems that determine general behavior similar to a social simulation game. The year is punctuated by both scripted and random events — the protagonist attends school, can perform part-time jobs, and pursue leisure activities or create items for use in battle. These various activities raise character attributes, which in turn grant passive buffing effects during battle.[1][2][3][4] When in the real world, the main protagonist can develop character relationships known as Confidants; an evolution of the Social Link system from Persona 3 and Persona 4. With this system, the main protagonist can converse with and improve his relationship with other characters he meets, with some leading to possible romances. Each relationship is symbolized by one of the Major Arcana of the Tarot card deck. Improving Confidant ranks with party members unlocks various abilities for use in combat, such as the "Baton Pass" ability, which allows the player to directly select another character after a critical hit while granting a temporary attack boost.[3] Improving ranks with non-party Confidants grant other bonuses, such as giving access to new items and equipment and boosting experience point and yen gain.[3]

Alongside the normal school life is dungeon crawling gameplay of two different types within a realm called the Metaverse: story-specific dungeons called Palaces and randomly-generated Mementos dungeons. Both are populated by Shadows, which are physical manifestations of suppressed psyches modeled after mythological and religious figures. Within Mementos dungeons, the party can fulfill requests from non-playable characters (NPCs) received from a "Confidant" links.[1][3][4][5] While navigating, the party uses stealth to avoid the sight of enemy Shadows, and some areas hold puzzles that can be solved using an insight ability known as "Third Eye",[6] which highlights interactable objects and enemy strength compared to the party. When exploring story-centered Palaces, an "Alertness Meter" is present, where the party being spotted or fleeing combat results in security being raised. If security reaches 100%, the party is forced to leave the Palace. The Alertness level can be lowered by launching surprise attacks on and eliminating enemies, and also lowers automatically over night.[7] Throughout Palaces are locations known as "safe rooms". In them, the player can save their game, heal their party, and fast travel to other safe rooms within the Palace.

As with previous entries in the series, the game uses a turn-based combat system: battles can be initiated when the party runs into an enemy, or they can launch a surprise attack and gain an advantage in battle. In battle, the party has access to both melee and gun weapons, in addition to being able to summon Personas, which are the manifestations of the main characters' inner psyche and are used mainly for magical attacks.[4][8][9][6][8][9] If a character strikes an enemy's weakness, they knock the enemy down and are awarded an additional turn. If all enemies are knocked down, a "Hold Up" is triggered. During one, the party can launch a devastating "All-Out Attack", demand money or items, or enter an negotiation. Negotiation allows the protagonist to win the selected Shadow over to their side to become a new Persona: they can only be persuaded to join if the protagonist is their level or higher.[1][4][10] Similar to previous entries, party members can be knocked out, and if the main character is knocked out, the game ends. At times, if a party member is knocked out, they can be captured by enemy Shadows, and is unable to return to the party if the resultant negotiation fails.[7]

New Personas are gained from battle through a successful negotiation, and different Persona types are represented through different arcana linked to Confidant links. Personas can be combined, or "fused", or otherwise further manipulated within the Velvet Room, a realm the protagonist visits as part of his journey through the story.[5][11] Within the Velvet Room, Personas can be fused with "Guillotine" fusion processes, with the resultant Persona inheriting skills and stats from its parents. The more skills a Persona has, the more are passed on to the fused Persona. How powerful Personas are through fusion depends on how advanced its associated Confidant link is. In addition, Personas can be sacrificed in various ways, also styled after styles of capital punishment: "Hanging" grants a sacrificed Persona's experience points to another chosen Persona, and "Electric Chair" sacrifices one to create a high-end item. A Persona can also be sent into "Solitary Confinement", where they undergo intensive training and gain additional skills quicker than normal. The number of days a Persona must remain to gain strength lessens based on its arcana strength.[5]

Minor multiplayer elements via the PlayStation Network are incorporated into the game through the "Thieves Guild" feature. Similar to the "Vox Populi" system from Persona 4 Golden, players have the option of seeing what activities other players did during any given day. Players can send messages to each other, in addition to affecting the Alertness meter in the player's favor, and aiding in battle when a party member is taken hostage by an enemy.[3][7]

Synopsis[edit]

Setting and characters[edit]

Persona 5 takes place within the Persona universe, revolving around a group of high school students who harness Personas, which are physical manifestations of their inner psyche.[12] Persona 5 is set in modern-day Tokyo in April of the year "20XX", with navigable real world locations within the city, such Akihabara, Shinjuku, and Shibuya.[13] Alongside larger environments, there are specific locations that can be entered, such as shops, restaurants, and movie theaters. A major setting throughout the game is Shujin Academy, a high school the protagonist attends.[2][14][15] The second major location is the "Metaverse", a supernatural realm consisting of the physical manifestation of humanity's subconscious desires. In the Metaverse, people with large enough desires form their own unique "Palace", which is modeled after their own distorted perception of the world, along with a Shadow version of themselves.[14][16][17] Palaces are populated by various types of Shadows, who take their forms after each Palace and become subservient to its leader. At the center of Palaces exists the source of the leader's desires, known as the "Treasure". The act of removing a Treasure forces the person in the real world to come to terms with themselves, publicly renouncing their crimes, sins, and vices if they were a criminal. A location that returns from earlier entries is the Velvet Room, a place that exists for the growth of Persona users that shifts appearance depending on the current guest: in Persona 5, it takes the form of a prison.[11]

The player character is a silent protagonist in common with other Persona games: he becomes the leader of the Phantom Thieves of Hearts vigilante group, who take treasures from the Palaces of criminals and other malevolent people.[15][18] His first companion is school delinquent Ryuji Sakamoto, who forms the group with the protagonist. A third founding member is Morgana, a mysterious cat-like creature they aid within the Metaverse. Over the course of the game, further people join the group, including the withdrawn quarter-American Ann Takamaki; art prodigy Yusuke Kitagawa; Shujin student council president Makoto Niijima; hikikomori computer hacker Futaba Sakura; and cultured corporate heiress Haru Okumura.[2][15][18] Also interacting with the protagonist are Goro Akechi, a high schooler and detective; Sae Nijima, a public prosecutor and Makoto's older sister; and the residents of the Velvet Room, Igor and his two assistants Caroline and Justine.[2][19]

Plot[edit]

After the protagonist defends a woman from being abused by a drunken man on the street, the protagonist is falsely charged with assault and put on probation, resulting in expulsion from his school. The protagonist is sent to Tokyo to stay with family associate Sojiro Sakura and attend Shujin Academy during his year-long probation.[20] After his arrival, he is drawn into the Velvet Room, where Igor warns him that he must "rehabilitate" to avoid forthcoming ruin, and grants him access to a supernatural mobile app that leads the protagonist into the Metaverse and the Palace of the school's abusive volleyball coach Kamoshida. The protagonist meets Morgana, who informs him of the ability to change wicked people's hearts by stealing their "Treasure", the emotional root of their behavior, from the Palaces ruled by their Shadow selves. After successfully reforming Kamoshida, the protagonist and Morgana form the Phantom Thieves of Hearts, stealing corruption from the hearts of adults in an attempt to reform the city.

As the number of the Phantom Thieves' members and successes grow, they attract the attention of public and police, including Sae and detective prodigy Goro Akechi. The Phantom Thieves learn that a secret group, including a black-masked assassin, are using the Metaverse to murder their targets and are framing them for the killings. In their pursuit of the conspiracy, the group is joined by Akechi, who is subsequently revealed to be the black-masked assassin. Escaping into hiding with Sae's help, the Phantom Thieves deduce that the conspiracy's leader is politician Masayoshi Shido, who has been using Akechi's ability to infiltrate the Metaverse to remove obstacles to becoming Prime Minister and imposing his reforms on Japan, as well as the one who pressed assault charges against the protagonist. When the Phantom Thieves infiltrate Shido's Palace, they face Akechi, who reveals himself to be Shido's illegitimate son, and has been secretly plotting to get revenge on Shido for years of neglect. Once defeated, Akechi sacrifices himself to protect the Phantom Thieves from a group of enemy cognitions, allowing them to escape and reach Shido.

Despite Shido's arrest and confession after his heart has been changed, the public remains uninterested and has lost trust in both authority and the Phantom Thieves. In response, the Phantom Thieves make a final heist to steal the Treasure of Mementos, the people's Palace at the Metaverse's core. Inside, they discover that the public is in chaos and has chosen to give up their own autonomy. The Phantom Thieves are then ejected from Mementos by the Treasure, the Holy Grail, and vanish after witnessing the Metaverse merging with reality. Waking in the Velvet Room, the protagonist confronts Igor, Caroline, and Justine. Caroline and Justine regain their memories and merge into Lavenza, their true form. Lavenza reveals Igor to be an imposter who imprisoned the real Igor. The imposter is Yaldabaoth, the Holy Grail, who was created from humanity's wish to give up control. Through a bet made with Igor over humanity's goals, Yaldabaoth had given the protagonist and Akechi their abilities to see whether the world would be preserved or be destroyed through their actions, all while steering the game in his favor. The protagonist rejects Yaldabaoth's offer to return to his world at the cost of his freedom, and he, along with the rest of the Phantom Thieves, fight him. The protagonist's Confidants rally the popular support of the people, severing Yaldabaoth's control of humanity and allowing the protagonist to awaken Satanael to destroy Yaldabaoth and the Metaverse.

After Yaldabaoth's defeat, in order for Shido to be prosecuted, the protagonist must turn himself into the police. While the protagonist is incarcerated, the rest of the Phantom Thieves and his Confidants successfully help secure evidence of the protagonist's innocence in the assault charge, leading to his conviction being overturned. By spring, the protagonist's friends drive him back to his hometown.

Development[edit]

Preparation for development of the game began in 2010. Rumors of its development were floating around since 2009, when Sony's mobile website listed Katsura Hashino as the game's director.[21] According to another source, preparatory work was going on in 2008 while Persona 4 was still in development.[22] Preparatory development was nearing completion in August 2011, with full development beginning after following the completion of Catherine.[23][24] Hashino was only fully involved in development after Catherine was finished, later calling the latter game a test for the next Persona title's development. Development lasted five years.[25][26] The game was developed by P-Studio, an internal development studio within Atlus dedicated to handling the Persona series. Persona 5 would be Hashino's last game in the series as the leader of P-Studio, leaving to form a separate internal team, Studio Zero, following the game's release.[27][28] When production started, the staff consisted of around 40 people. During full production, this number expanded to 70: 15 planners, 15 programmers, and between 30 and 45 designers. These included the game's lead designer Naoya Maeda, who had previously done modelling work for the Trauma Team series. The general development was a challenge for the team, as they intentionally changed their development structure due to the more powerful hardware they were working with.[24]

While the final game retained the turn-based system from earlier entries, one of the early design drafts was for an action-based system incorporating real-time elements foreign to the series. This idea was ultimately scrapped, but real-time command elements were introduced into the battle system, allowing the gameplay to evolve without any extensive change to the core system.[29] A major new addition was the inclusions of unique dungeons with locked layouts as opposed to the dominant randomly generated dungeons of previous Persona titles. This was done to both emulate the game's themes and provide veteran players with something different.[30] A returning feature from both earlier Persona titles and the mainline Megami Tensei series was Negotiation: as it was considered a key part of the overall franchise by fans, Hashino decided to reintroduce it after being absent from the previous two mainline entries. The Negotiation system for Persona 5 was tied into the origins of Shadows as suppressed psyches within the Collective Unconscious. The "Hold Up" function was inspired by scenes in films where the antagonist would hold people at gunpoint and make demands. These functions were incorporated due to the title being in part a celebration of the series' history.[26] While designing the gameplay elements, the weather and environmental elements were all designed to reflect the real world. Dungeon layout was split into three distinct types: the Tokyo overworld environments, "institutions" such as the protagonist's high school, and dungeon environments.[24] Some segments took control away from the player aside from limited dialogue choices; this was chosen as it reflected the controlled environment of Japanese high schoolers.[31] Lead programmer for the game was Yujiro Kosaka, who previously served the same role on Persona 4 and Catherine.[32]

While Catherine used the third-party Gamebryo game engine, Persona 5 used a specially-created engine. Hashino believed that the new engine would make rendering their ideas much easier, although it would result in a long wait by fans for the game.[23][33] The event scene software was also developed internally by Atlus, with an estimated 1,160 being featured in the final game. The tools for developing and handling them were greatly expanded over the previous two entries so as to properly communicate them to players on the more advanced hardware.[24] Character modelling in general was handled with a specially-developed toon shader which helped properly translate the character designs into the game, while also allowing for easy adjustment of shaders and lighting effects during fine tuning.[24] The characters were originally rendered realistically like in Catherine, but the team felt that it was "wrong" for the Persona series. With this in mind, the team did some trial and error before finding a style that satisfied them, doing something similar for the interface and menu design.[34] In contrast to Persona 4, which had a general deformed look to hardware limitations on the variety of body shapes, the technology available to the team for Persona 5 enabled unique customization for all relevant character models. Two different models were used for members of the main cast: a detailed model for real-time cutscenes, and a general-use model for general event scenes and gameplay.[24] Persona 5 was the first time a large number of Personas had been rendered in high definition, something which proved a grueling challenge for the team.[8]

Story and themes[edit]

The original story concept was written by Hashino, while the scenario was co-written by Shinji Yamamoto and Yuichiro Tanaka.[32][35] The initial concept was for a storyline that diverged from the established paths of Persona 3 and Persona 4, with "self-discovery" and "journey" being its keywords.[29] Originally using the frame story of a backpacking trip around the world, Hashino decided to refocus on Japan in the wake of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.[26] Following that, and seeing the way people were bonding in the face of the crisis, Hashino decided to have the story take place solely in Japan, with the journeying being through the ever-shifting Palace.[29] According to Hashino, the central theme of the game is freedom and how the characters attain it.[36] He wanted to make the game more "thematically approachable" for newcomers to the series, and to be an emotional experience that presents players with a mix of emotions that leaves its audience with a strong sense of catharsis and the inspiration to take on their own modern-day problems.[36][37]

The story's central concepts were inspired by equivalent social changes Hashino saw in modern society, particularly in Japan.[17] The narrative of Persona 5 was designed like an omnibus, with the antagonists pursued by the party changing regularly.[16] The three main stories the team used for inspiration were Water Margin by Shi Nai'an, Japanese crime movie Hakuchuu no Shikaku, and the anonymously authored Spanish novel Lazarillo de Tormes.[38] The setting and style was compared to a picaresque fiction; the question the team originally asked in that regard was how a character like Arsène Lupin III might win appeal in modern society.[39] These themes were carried over into the aesthetics of Persona fusion and sacrifice, which were themed after styles of capital punishment.[5] Having a more "stereotypical" theme enabled the team to create surprising story developments, mixing contemporary drama with the setting of the Persona series. The series' recurring motif of "masks" was used more overtly in the game's plot than previous entries.[40] The game's main locations were based heavily on their real world counterparts.[3]

The main characters, according to Hashino, share a mindset that they "no longer have a place where they belong in society": the events of the game give them a sense of belonging.[18] Hashino stated that while the last few titles were about the protagonists chasing the antagonists, Persona 5 would feature more of the antagonists and phenomena caused by them chasing the protagonists during their activities. The characters have been described as "juvenile academics".[39] Their activities as thieves is part of the way they break way from societal norms and express themselves. The main aim of the game was to show the characters finding the courage to go outside the normal limits of society as set by previous generations.[39] In contrast to previous Persona casts, the party of Persona 5 willingly embrace the unfolding unusual events in their role of masked vigilantes rather than being dragged into them.[18] The cast was originally going to be larger with character Hifumi Togo becoming a Phantom Thief, but as the story was already very large, she was relegated to an optional role as part of the Confidant system.[41] Technological advances such as smartphones and the use of social media were integrated into both story and gameplay due to its growing prevalence in modern society.[31]

The characters' initial Personas (Arsène, Captain Kidd, Carmen, Zorro, Goemon, Johanna, Necronomicon, Milady, and Robin Hood) were themed after outlaws and picaresque heroes to reflect the function and dominant suppressed passions forming the Palace, and also represent aspects of their owners' personalities.[2][15][16][18][42] The protagonist's initial Persona was originally the German demon Mephistopheles, but it was changed to Arsène as the latter character better fit the game's themes.[41] The cast's alternate Personas (Satanael, Seiten Taisei, Hecate, Mercurius, Kamu Susanoo, Anat, Prometheus, Astarte, Loki) are taken from mythical beings who act as tricksters or rebels.[35][42] The three main inspirations behind the protagonist's alter ego were the original Arsène Lupin, The Fiend with Twenty Faces, and Ishikawa Goemon.[38] The name of the protagonist's high school, "Shujin", was chosen because it was a homonym of Shūjin (囚人), the Japanese word for "prisoner".[43] Following a trend from earlier entries, the Velvet Room assistants are named after characters from the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.[11] The use of adults as antagonists was a more overt expression of narrative elements previously explored in Persona 4. The relation to police activities was also carried over from Persona 4, but this time with the role of protagonists and antagonists reversed.[29] The game's villains and protagonists were parallels of each other, both being misfits trying to shape a world they saw as unsatisfactory or corrupted. This was intended to create ambiguity about the Phantom Thieves' actions, causing the player to question their concept of justice.[26] This questioning extended to their mission as a whole, which was influenced by the way a vocal minority online could draw public attention to events and scandals in the news.[30]

Art design[edit]

Shigenori Soejima, who had worked on the last two main-series Persona titles, returned as character designer.[34] The game's art director was Masayoshi Suto, whose most notable work on earlier titles included the user interface (UI) displays.[44] The art design reflected the picaresque theme aimed for by the rest of the team.[44] As the team considered previous Persona games to "fun" but not be well marketed, they designed the UI in such a way as to attract a larger, more mainstream audience.[45] According to Soejima, he was working on prospective designs for the game while Persona 4 was still in development, with his designs evolving as the story for Persona 5 came together.[22] Aesthetically, the team felt that they were picking up where Persona 4 left off. Its styling presentation was an unintentional reflection on the hurdles the team needed to overcome during development.[34] Following the respective thematic coloring of Persona 3 and 4's blue and yellow, Persona 5 used red, which was chosen to a harsh feeling.[46][45] Because of this, Suto tested multiple font colors until settling on black and white, as it stood out best against it.[44] There was also a wish, especially in the teaser image used for the game's announcement, which represented the main characters' being chained down by the rules of the modern world.[46] Soejima designed the logo to convey the high-speed existences of the young cast, while elements such as the protagonist's Persona Arsène were designed to appear old-fashioned by comparison. This presented challenges as Soejima needed to balance this with a strong sense of style.[8] The main aim for the game's environments was to create a sense of realism, with Tokyo being modeled after real locations.[44][47] When creating the UI, Hashino wanted to demonstrate how a shift in perspective could alter a dull life into an exciting one in the context of the story. Early UI designs were so "aggressively animated" that it obscured what was happening in the game. Because of this, the animations were toned down and text orientation was altered, toning down the UI's graphical elements to present a balance between user-friendliness and style.[31] Rather than the use of sub-colors for earlier entries, the UI used only the primary red, black and white colors aside from health and magic point meters, with the menus using a special moving 3D model of the protagonist which would change position depending on the selected menu.[45]

The first character sketches were submitted in 2012.[48] Soejima worked closely with Hashino so the characters and environments reflected the game's themes.[36] Due to being high school students, Soejima found it difficult to make each main character's uniform design distinctive, instead expressing their individuality through their thief costumes.[49] The protagonist's design was cited by Soejima as his most challenging recent work. The protagonist needed to both convey a taste of the game's overall artstyle, and to act as an avatar for the player. As the main theme and narrative of Persona 5 revolved around crime and vigilantes triggered by the protagonist voluntarily choosing that path, Soejima needed to convey this while allowing the character to suit whatever dialogue choices the player decided upon. Due to these difficulties, the protagonist was given multiple designs in a trial and error process to find the best one. As the "phantom thief" premise was a common stereotype in fiction, Soejima initially drew the protagonist and main cast in a style similar to shōnen manga, but these designs were scrapped as they clashed with the Persona series' realistic aesthetics. As with previous entries, the protagonist was a silent character, so as with previous protagonist Soejima had to work out a way he could communicate without dialogue. His solution was to imagine the Persona 5 protagonist as the type of person who made plans but did not share them with others.[50] The Persona designs, being based on characters from literature, were intended to evoke both familiarity and surprise from players. Once the names were chosen, Soejima designed the Personas based on that character.[49]

The game's anime cutscenes were created by Production I.G, and were directed and supervised by Toshiyuki Kono.[8] Kono was directed three and a half years prior to the game's completion by Hashino: faced with the project, Kono felt a great deal of pressure in his role. Persona 5 was the first time Production I.G had worked on the series, though many staff at the studio were fans. Despite this, the studio did not change their standard animation process, focusing on characters as they had done for many of their previous projects. The most important part of the cutscenes was getting the character's expressions right, particularly when it came to the general-mute protagonist. The game's animated opening sequence was directed by Sayo Yamamoto.[51] The concept behind the characters figure skating around the environment was done as a visual symbolization of the game's overall theme, breaking free of an oppressive force, and was similar to her work in Yuri on Ice.[8] The scene where the protagonist first summoned his Persona was requested by Atlus to appear "wild", which again was difficult to the protagonist's purpose as an extension of the player. The blue flame effects related to the Persona were not created with CGI, but hand-drawn by the animators. All the anime cutscenes together were estimated as containing over an hour of footage.[51]

Music[edit]

The original score for the game was composed, performed, and produced by series sound director Shoji Meguro.[52] Further contributions, among other general sound design, was handled by Toshiki Konishi, Kenichi Tsuchiya, Atsushi Kitajoh, and Ryota Kozuka; all of them having previously worked on the series as well.[44][52][53] Meguro was given full creative freedom to work on the soundtrack, with around 80% of the tracks used in the game being his, which lasted around three years in total.[49] The opening theme, "Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There", and six other tracks were sung in English by Lyn Inaizumi, which was her first performance for a video game during her career as a jazz and soul music singer.[52][53][54] Inaizumi claimed that the most difficult part of her contributions in the game was performing a rap segment in the opening theme.[55] The lyrics for her tracks were written by Benjamin Franklin, while the lyrics for the ending song "Hoshi To Bokura To" was written in Japanese by Shigeo Komori, both frequent Meguro collaborators.[52]

In order to express the game's mood, Meguro incorporated strong acid jazz elements into the score.[56] He also aimed to make the music sound more realistic than previous Persona games, aiming to match the game's visuals.[49] Meguro also changed the way the music flowed when compared to the last two Persona games. Instead of the opening and ending themes being conglomerates of the overall score, he described the entire score as a single continuous work. A recurring musical element he included was described as a "do-la" syllable: the opening used "so la re mi" on strings as a hook, which then led into the "do-la" syllable for other tracks, including the normal battle theme. While he was creating the music, Meguro received positive comments from Hashino when he made early tracks created for an internal demo.[44]

The game's official soundtrack was released in Japan by Mastard Records as a three-disc set on January 17, 2017.[53] Upon its debut, the album reached fifth on the Oricon charts with sales of over 29,000.[57] The album featured 110 tracks with commentary from the sound team, while the cover and liner note artwork were designed by Soejima.[58] In addition to the soundtrack, a 19-track disc featuring a selection of the main themes from the game, Persona 5: Sounds of the Rebellion, was released as part of the North American and European collector's edition bundle.[53] The complete soundtrack later received a localized English release on iTunes on April 18, 2017, and on vinyl later that year by iam8bit.[59][60]

Release[edit]

Persona 5 was first announced with a teaser trailer in 2013, alongside spin-off titles Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, Persona 4: Dancing All Night, and the PlayStation 3 port of Persona 4 Arena Ultimax.[61] The game was originally announced for a late 2014 release exclusively for the PlayStation 3. During a Sony press conference in September 2014, it was announced that the game would also be released for the PlayStation 4, also announcing that it had been delayed into 2015. According to director Katsura Hashino, the game was delayed to fully develop for the PlayStation 4, and improve the general quality of the game for both versions.[62] The game's first gameplay trailer was revealed during a special livestream on February 5, 2015. A Blu-ray Disc containing an exclusive trailer for the game was bundled with first print copies of Persona 4: Dancing All Night in Japan on June 25, 2015.[63] The song used in the first gameplay trailer was an instrumental version of the main theme.[56] During a special livestream for the game at the 2015 Tokyo Game Show, it was announced that the game would be delayed once again to Q3 2016.[64] Speaking in a staff interview, Hashino apologized for the delay and stated that it was necessary in order to deliver a high-quality product without having to hold back in terms of content.[65]

In April 2016, Atlus launched an official countdown relating to the game that counted down to May 5, 2016. Shortly after, a special livestream was announced titled Take Tokyo Tower, which would coincide with the countdown date. During the Take Tokyo Tower livestream on that day, the release date for the game was revealed in a trailer shown during the livestream. The game was released in Japan on September 15, 2016.[66] Along with the standard edition, a 20th Anniversary Edition was released, which features all downloadable content (DLC) based on Persona 3 and Persona 4, a five-CD best-of album set featuring music from all six main games in the series, and the official artbook for the game by Soejima.[67] In honor of the game's Japanese release, the series-focused variety show Persona Stalker Club featured a new programming block titled Persona Stalker Club V.[68] In promotion of the game in Japan, Atlus partnered with AKG Acoustics to release a limited edition wireless headphone based on the one Futaba wears in-game.[69] The headphones came with box art designed by Soejima, as well as a music CD featuring two remixed tracks from the game by Meguro and Kozuka.[69] Certain character apparel from the game were also made and released in Japan, such as jackets and tote bags.[70][71]

Following its release, character skins and additional Personas were released as paid downloadable content (DLC). The costumes included those incorporated into the 20th Anniversary Edition based on Persona 3 and Persona 4, in addition to new costumes based on the characters of Revelations: Persona, the Persona 2 duology (Innocent Sin and Eternal Punishment), Shin Megami Tensei If..., Catherine, Shin Megami Tensei IV, Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. the Soulless Army, Persona 4 Arena, and Dancing All Night.[72][73][74] The costumes were accompanied by arranged battle music from each costume set's respective game, which replaces the default battle theme based on what costume the protagonists wears. The Personas were reskinned and original versions of key Personas from Persona 3 and Persona 4. In addition, PlayStation themes and avatar sets were released based on the central characters of Persona 5.[75] An additional difficulty setting known as "Merciless" was also released as free DLC.[73][76]

Pre-order bonuses and its initial North American release date was announced a week prior to E3 2016.[77] As with the Japanese release, the North American version was delayed so it would keep with other Persona games.[78] In Europe and Australia, the game was published by Deep Silver.[79][80] Initially planned for a Western release on February 14, 2017,[77][81] the game was pushed back two months to April 4; the stated reason was that Atlus wanted the game to be at its highest possible quality.[82] As with previous Persona games, the English localization was handled by Atlus USA and lead by Yu Namba. According to Namba, the team began with a "blank slate" when choosing the English voice cast, as it was a new setting to earlier Persona titles.[83] Localizing Persona 5 was described by Namba as a massive project with the largest staff yet dedicated to the series. Namba, as project lead, made the final call on issues brought up by the team during the localization process.[84] The localized script was estimated as being 50% bigger than that of Persona 4 Golden.[85] The game's title also dropped the use of the "Shin Megami Tensei" moniker in English regions, which was used for Persona 3 and Persona 4.[82][86] While the English voice track was included on the game disc, the Japanese voices were made available as free DLC.[82]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
Aggregator Score
Metacritic 93/100[87]
Review scores
Publication Score
Destructoid 9/10[88]
Eurogamer Essential[89]
Famitsu 39/40[90]
Game Informer 9.25/10[91]
GameSpot 9/10[92]
GamesRadar 5/5 stars[93]
IGN 9.7/10[94]
OPM (UK) 10/10[95]
Polygon 9/10[96]
RPGFan 87% (PS4)[98]

Persona 5 has been called one of the greatest role-playing games of all time by critics, receiving "universal acclaim" according to review aggregator Metacritic.[87][99][100][101][102][103] Famitsu gave it a positive review, with the game garnering a near-perfect score.[90] PlayStation Official Magazine – UK described the game as "an unabashed masterpiece".[95] One of the aspects of the game that was highly praised was its graphical style and art direction.[89]

The quality of the game's English localization was one of the few aspects singled out for criticism, with Polygon describing it as "aggravatingly mediocre".[104][105] Another was the game's treatment of LGBT topics:[106] Kenneth Shepard noted in Paste that the only characters to exist outside of the game's thoroughly heteronormative setting are a lecherous gay couple who are treated as a joke, which led him to conclude that Persona 5 sees gay men "at best as a joke and at worst something revolting to be feared".[107]

Sales[edit]

The game received a boost to pre-order sales following the delayed release of Final Fantasy XV, which was originally scheduled for the same month as Persona 5.[108] Sales went up on Amazon Japan by 450%, bringing the game to second place in their best-seller charts behind Tales of Berseria.[108] In its first week of release, the PS4 version reached first place with sales of 264,793 units, while the PS3 version reached second place with 72,974, resulting in total sales of 337,767 units. This made Persona 5 the fastest-selling title in the series' history, surpassing Revelations: Persona, and together with Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 pushed sales of the PS4 up significantly over the previous week.[109][110] It was later reported by Hashino that combined physical shipments and digital sales had reached over 550,000 units.[when?][72] Within three weeks of its launch in Japan, the game became Atlus' best-selling title in the country.[111]

Outside of Japan, it was the biggest debut for any Persona title to date, with packaged sales five times better than Persona 4.[112][113] On the PlayStation Network in April, the game topped the PS4 charts, and was third on the PS3, with, Atlus announcing that it had sold 1.5 million copies worldwide.[114][115] By November 2017, that number had risen to over two million, which made it the best-selling game in the series.[116]

Accolades[edit]

During the PlayStation Awards 2016 in Japan, Persona 5 won the two awards.[117] It also took first place for "Best RPG" at the Global Game Awards 2017,[118] while it came in fourth place for "Best Story".[119] At The Game Awards 2017, the game was nominated for the show's "Game of the Year", "Best Art Direction", "Best Score/Music", and "Best Role Playing Game" awards.[120] Persona 5 was awarded "Best Role Playing Game" at the event.[121] It was named the second best game of 2017 by GameSpot, behind The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.[122] At IGN's "Best of 2017" awards, it won best RPG,[123] and was also nominated for Game of the Year,[124] best PlayStation 4 game,[125] best art direction,[126] best story,[127] and best soundtracks awards.[128] The game was also nominated for the "Best Music" and "Best Style" awards by Giant Bomb.[129][130]

It was ranked as one the best games of 2017 by Eurogamer,[131] Polygon,[132] GamesRadar,[133] and Electronic Gaming Monthly's end of year lists.[134] Ray Porreca of Destructoid named it his 5th best game of 2017.[135] The website also nominated the game for "Best PS4 Game" at its Game of the Year Awards 2017.[136] Readers and staff of Game Informer voted it as their best role-playing game of 2017, as well as having the best narrative and cast.[137][138][139][140] In their reader's choice awards, it also came in second place for "Best Sony Game" and third place for Game of the Year.[141][142] The game won the Tin Pan Alley Award for Best Music in a Game at the New York Game Awards 2018.[143] It was also nominated for the "Best Visual Art" award at the Game Developers Choice Awards.[144] In addition, it was nominated for best role-playing game at the 2018 D.I.C.E. Awards,[145] and for "Excellence in Musical Score" and "Excellence in Art" at the 2018 SXSW Gaming Awards.[146] At the 17th Annual NAVGTR Awards, the game was nominated for the following categories: "Animation, Artistic"; "Art Direction, Contemporary"; "Character Design"; "Costume Design"; "Direction in a Game Cinema"; "Game Design, Franchise"; "Game of the Year"; "Game, Franchise Role Playing"; "Graphics, Technical"; "Original Dramatic Score, Franchise"; and "Writing in a Drama".[147]

Legacy[edit]

Media adaptations[edit]

Persona 5
Anime television film
Persona 5: The Animation -The Day Breakers-
Directed by Takaharu Ozaki
Written by Shinichi Inotsume
Studio A-1 Pictures
Licensed by
Original network Tokyo MX, Gunma TV, Tochigi TV, BS11
Released September 3, 2016
Runtime 24 minutes
Manga
Written by Hisato Murasaki
Published by Shogakukan
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Ura Sunday
Original run September 22, 2016 – present
Anime television series
Persona 5: The Animation
Directed by Masashi Ishihama
Written by
  • Shinichi Inotsume
  • Katsura Hashino
Music by Shoji Meguro
Studio A-1 Pictures
Licensed by
Original network Tokyo MX, GTV, GYT, MBS, BS11
Original run April 2018scheduled
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and Manga portal

Prior to the game's release, a standalone anime special titled Persona 5: The Animation -The Day Breakers- aired on Japanese television on September 3, 2016.[67][148][149] Created by A-1 Pictures, The Day Breakers is set during the events of the game, being portrayed as a "sub event" separate from the main narrative.[148] A manga adaptation by Hisato Murasaki began serialization online from September 15.[149] An anime television series based on the game, produced by A-1 Pictures and retaining the original voice cast, is set for broadcast in April 2018.[150] In Sega's 2017 game Sonic Forces, a costume based on Joker was provided to players as a pre-order bonus.[151]

Spin-offs[edit]

Persona 5: Dancing Star Night, a rhythm game for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita, features the main cast of Persona 5 and will be released in Japan on May 24, 2018.[152] The cast will also be featured in Persona Q2 for the Nintendo 3DS, which is slated for release in 2018.[153]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Perusona Faibu (ペルソナ5)

References[edit]

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