Persona 5

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Persona 5
Persona 5 cover art.jpg
North American cover art
Director(s)Katsura Hashino
Producer(s)Katsura Hashino
Artist(s)Shigenori Soejima
Composer(s)Shoji Meguro
SeriesMegami Tensei (Main)
Persona (Sub-series)
Platform(s)PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Genre(s)Role-playing, social simulation

Persona 5 (Japanese: ペルソナ5, Hepburn: Perusona Faibu) is an upcoming role-playing video game in development by Atlus for 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. Published by Atlus in Japan and North America and Deep Silver in Europe, it is scheduled for a 2016 release in Japan and 2017 in North America.

Persona 5 takes place in Tokyo, and follows a silent protagonist after their transfer to the fictional Shujin High School after being put on probation for assault on a stalker. During the course of a school year, he and other students awaken to their Persona powers, become masked vigilantes dubbed the "Phantom Thieves of Hearts", and explore a supernatural realm called "Palace" to steal ill intent from the hearts of adults. As with previous titles in the series, the party does battle with supernatural enemies using manifestations of their psyche called Personas. The game incorporates standard role-playing gameplay and exploration alongside social simulation elements.

Preparatory work began during or after the development of Persona 4, with full development beginning in 2011. Returning prominent staff from previous games included director and producer Katsura Hashino, character designer Shigenori Soejima, and composer Shoji Meguro. The game's themes revolved around attaining freedom from the limitations of modern society; the story was strongly inspired by picaresque fiction, and the party's initial Personas were based around the theme of outlaws. First announced in 2013, the game was delayed from its original late 2014 release date so its quality and content could be increased.


Persona 5 is a role-playing video game where the player takes on the role of a silent protagonist, and experiences events over the course of one year while attending high school in Tokyo: the year is punctuated by events such as school trips and festivals.[1] The Social Link system from Persona 3 and 4 returns in an altered form, alongside an additional "Cooperation" feature that helps gain allies within the city.[2] As with previous entries in the series, the game uses a turn-based combat system. A central part of combat is using Personas, manifestations of a character's psyche: they are summoned through a character's mask. New Personas can be attained through demon negotiation: after knocking all enemies down, the player can talk to them and ask them to join the player as a Persona.[3] The party also has access to long-range and short-range weapons.[2][4]


Setting and characters

Persona 5 takes place within the Persona universe: set in modern times, it revolves around a group of people who must face dark forces by harnessing Personas, manifestations of their inner psyche.[5] Persona 5 is set in modern-day Tokyo, with navigable locations including Shinjuku, Shibuya and Yongenjaya, as well as the Greater Tokyo Area. Alongside larger environments, there are specific locations that can be entered such as shops. A major setting in Tokyo is Syujin High School, which the Protagonist attends.[1][6][7] There also exists a parallel realm known as "the Palace": born from the amalgamated hearts of humans, it holds multiple areas such as a castle, pyramid and art gallery, as well as other forms. It also houses the corrupt hearts of adults.[6][8] A location that returns from earlier entries is the Velvet Room, a metaphysical haven for the growth of Persona users that shifts appearance depending on the current guest: in Persona 5, it takes the form of a prison.[9][10]

The player character is a silent Protagonist in common with other Persona games: he becomes the de facto leader of the "Phantom Thieves of Hearts" vigilante group.[7][11] His first companion is problem child Ryuji Sakamoto, who forms the group with the Protagonist. A third founding member is Morgana, a mysterious cat-like creature they aid within the Palace. Over the course of the game, further people join the group, including the withdrawn quarter-American Anne Takamaki; art protegee and Kousei Public High School student Yusuke Kitagawa; Syujin student council president Makoto Niijima; Futaba Sakura, a withdrawn first-year student with genius computer skills; and cultured heiress Haru Okumura.[1][7][11] Also interacting with the character are the residents of the Velvet Room: Igor, and his two assistants Caroline and Justine.[1][12]


Persona 5 opens when the Protagonist is arrested after assaulting a man who was attempting to molest a young woman. Due to the mans apparent social influence, the protagonist is put on probation and transferred to Syujin High School in Tokyo where he stays with a friend of his parents. Shortly after the school term begins the Protagonist meets up with his schoolmate Ryuji Sakamoto, and the two stumble upon a strange, other worldly castle called The Palace after gaining access to a supernatural mobile app. There he meets Morgana, a shapeshifter that usually takes the form of an anthropomorphic black cat, who convinces the Protagonist to wield the power of his Persona and become the Phantom Thief. The protagonist and his growing party of companions, seeking release from their restrictive lives and wanting to become outlaws, form a group known as the "Phantom Thieves of Hearts": the group navigate The Palace and steal the seeds of corruption from adult hearts in an attempt to reform society. As their exploits intensify, they confront both adult authorities and reveal a greater enemy who seeks to crush the group and kill them if necessary. The Protagonist must eventually choose which path he will take, whether or not he can uncover a way to save himself and his friends from the fate he sees in his premonitions and uncover the identity of the one who will betray them.


Preparation for development of the next Persona title 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.[13] According to another source, preparatory work was going on in 2008 while Persona 4 was still in development.[14] Preparatory development was nearing completion in August 2011, with full development beginning after that.[15] Hashino was only fully involved in development after the completion of Catherine in 2011.[16] 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.[15][17] The game's anime cutscenes were created by Production I.G.[2] Hashino 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.[18][19] The characters were originally rendered realistically like in Catherine, but this felt wrong for the Persona series. With this in mind, the team did some trial and error before finding a style that satisfied them. They did something similar for the interface and menu design.[20] 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.[2]

According to Hashino, the central theme of the game is freedom and how the characters attain it.[18] The story was designed like an omnibus, with the antagonists pursued by the party changing regularly.[8] 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.[21] 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", while the setting and style was compared to both a picaresque novel. The question the team originally asked in that regard was how a character like Arsène Lupin III might win appeal in modern society.[22] 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.[23]

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.[11] 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.[22] 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.[11] The characters' initial Personas (Arsène, Captain Kidd, Carmen, Zorro, Goemon, Johanna, Necronomicon, Milady) 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.[1][7][8][11] 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".[24]

Shigenori Soejima, who had worked on the last two Persona titles, returned as art director and character designer.[20] According to him, he was working on designs for the then-prospective Persona 5 while the previous game was still in development: his designs evolved as the story for Persona 5 came together.[14] 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.[20] The first character sketches were submitted in 2012.[25] Soejima worked closely with Hashino so the characters and environments reflected the game's themes.[18] The thematic color of the game is red, as that of Persona 3 and 4 was blue and yellow respectively. The red color was meant to convey a harsh feeling. 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.[26] The three main inspirations behind the Protagonist's alter ego were the original Arsène Lupin, The Fiend with Twenty Faces, and Ishikawa Goemon.[21] 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.[2]

The music was composed and produced by Shoji Meguro, the sound director for the Persona series. In order to express the game's mood, he incorporated acid jazz elements into the score, including the opening theme.[27] The opening theme was sung by Lyn Inaizumi. Persona 5 was her first performance for a video game, as her previous vocal contributions were for anime scores.[28] When singing the opening theme, the most difficult part for Inaizumi was singing a rap segment in English. She also provided vocals for other tracks in the game, which initially surprised her. Meguro wanted to make sure that Lyn's pronunciation of the lyrics were "on point".[29]


Persona 5 was first announced in 2013 with a cryptic teaser trailer 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.[30] The game was originally announced for a winter 2014 release exclusively on PlayStation 3. On September 1, 2014, during Sony's SCEJA Press Conference, it was announced that Persona 5 would also release for the PlayStation 4 and that it would release in 2015 instead. According to director Katsura Hashino, the game was delayed to 2015 to develop the PlayStation 4 version of the game and improve the general quality of the game.[31] The game's first gameplay trailer was revealed on February 5, 2015 during a special livestream. 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.[32] The song used in the first gameplay trailer was an instrumental version of the main theme.[27] During a special livestream for the game at Tokyo Game Show, it was announced that the game would be delayed once again to summer 2016.[33] Speaking in a special staff interview video, Hashino apologized for the delay and said that it was necessary to deliver a high-quality product without having to hold back in terms of content.[34]

On April 22, 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 May 5, 2016, the release date for the game was revealed in a trailer shown during the livestream. The game will release on September 15, 2016 in Japan.[35] Along with the standard edition, a 20th Anniversary Edition was created featuring additional content which includes exclusive DLC based on Persona 3 and Persona 4, a five-CD album featuring special arranges of music from all six games in the series, the official artbook for the game, and a special box featuring art by Shigenori Soejima.[36] In honor of the game's release, the series-focused variety show Persona Stalker Club will feature a new programming block titled Persona Stalker Club V.[37] In addition, a standalone anime special titled Persona 5 The Animation: The Day Breakers will air on television shortly before the game's Japanese release in September 2016.[36][38] The type of pre-order bonuses and its North American release date was announced a week prior to Electronic Entertainment Expo 2016 to be February 14, 2017.[39] As with the Japanese release, the North American version was delayed so it would be a high-quality game in keeping with other Persona titles.[40] In Europe and Australia, the game will be published by Deep Silver as part of a collaborative deal between Sega of America and Atlus to bring multiple Atlus-developed titles to Europe.[41]


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