Persona 5

The fifth main iteration in the long-running Persona series, featuring a group of high school students and a cat who moonlight as phantom thieves who can steal hearts.

Overview

Persona 5 is the sixth mainline entry in Atlus's long running Persona role-playing franchise, which itself is a sub-series of Shin Megami Tensei. Like its predecessors, it combines elements of turn-based, dungeon-crawling role-playing games with simulation-style visual novels, now rendered in high-definition, cel-shaded 3D for the first time.

The game was officially revealed during a live stream on November 24, 2013 and was initially announced with a target release window of winter 2014 for the PlayStation 3. Series director and producer Katsura Hashino stated that he wanted to "add things that are being expected of the series" as well as "change things that can be changed within those boundaries."

After several delays, the game was finally given a firm September 15, 2016 release date for Japan along with a April 7, 2017 date for worldwide release. Persona 5 was developed by Studio P and published by Atlus for both the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.

Themes

Persona 5 is set in a high school similar to that of Persona 3, however the atmosphere of the school life is completely different from that of Persona 3 and Persona 4. The game deals with the theme of experiencing the emotion of joy after overcoming certain trials and freeing oneself of their chains, represented by the chair and chains motif found in the game's pre-release advertising campaign.

Main Characters

Protagonist (Named by the player in-game)

VA: Jun Fukuyama (JP) | Xander Mobus (EN)

  • Codename: Joker
  • Weapons: Knife and Pistol
  • Persona: Arsène

[Officially named "Akira Kurusu" in the manga adaptation]

A 16-year-old high-school student who is arrested after allegedly assaulting a man who happened to be well-connected with the authorities. The Protagonist was unofficially exiled to Tokyo to live out his probation. Currently lives out of Cafe Leblanc, run by a friend of his parents, and was reluctantly accepted at Shujin High School after rumors about his arrest started circulating around the school. He wears a butterfly mask and runs a small gang called the "Phantom Thieves of Hearts."

Morgana (モルガナ)

VA: Ikue Otani (JP) | Cassandra Lee Morris (EN)

A shapeshifting, cat-like creature that joins the Protagonist as a seasoned cat burglar after being rescued from a dungeon cell, dispensing advice and tools to help the Protagonist in his heists. Morgana claims to be a human who was stuck in his current form, and is annoyed at anyone calling him a cat, despite looking and sounding like a cat in the real world. Can somehow transform himself into a van in the Metaverse when needed. Morgana is an automatic confidant associated with the Magician Arcana.

Ryuji Sakamoto (坂本 竜司)

VA: Mamoru Miyano (JP) | Max Mittleman (EN)

The Protagonist's schoolmate and partner-in-crime. A former track-and-field star whose career was ended when the volleyball coach nearly broke his leg and played it off as "self-defense," crushing Ryuji's reputation and his team. Wears a skull mask. Ryuji is a confidant associated with the Chariot Arcana.

Anne Takamaki (高巻 杏)

VA: Nana Mizuki (JP) | Erika Harlacher (EN)

  • Codename: Panther
  • Weapons: Whip and SMG
  • Persona: Carmen

A quarter-American blonde girl who attends the same class as The Protagonist, she feels isolated from her peers for not being full-blooded Japanese and keeps to herself. She soon joins the Protagonist in his heists after their mutual enemy drives her friend to attempt suicide. Wears a cat mask. Ann is a confidant associated with the Lovers Arcana. She is also a possible love interest for the Protagonist.

Yusuke Kitagawa (喜多川 祐介)

VA: Tomokazu Sugita (JP) | Matt Mercer (EN)

An honor student at Kosei High School and a live-in disciple of the master painter, Madarame. When he discovers the truth behind his teacher and his favorite painting, "Sayuri," he decides to join the Phantom Thieves. He wears a fox mask. Yusuke is a possible confidant associated with the Emperor Arcana. Advancing the confidant rank unlocks his ability to replicate a Skill card. The cards can used to help a persona learn a new ability.

Makoto Niijima (新島 真)

VA: Rina Sato (JP) | Cherami Leigh (EN)

The straight-laced Student Council President in Shujin who bottles up her own emotions inside in hopes of getting into a good college. At first she tries to unmask the Phantom Thieves, but her strong sense of justice and annoyance at being seen as useless eventually leads her to join them. Wears an iron mask. Makoto is a possible confidant associated with the Priestess Arcana. She is a possible love interest for the Protagonist.

Futaba Sakura (佐倉 双葉)

VA: Aoi Yuki (JP) | Erica Lindbeck (EN)

  • Codename: Oracle
  • Weapons: N/A
  • Persona: Necronomicon

Known online as "Alibaba," a nerdy shut-in girl who blamed herself for her mother's suicide. After coming to terms with her past, she slowly opens up and helps the Phantom Thieves navigate through their heists. She wears a pair of big black goggles with orange lenses as her mask. Futaba is a confidant associated with the Hermit Arcana. She is also a possible love interest for the Protagonist.

Haru Okumura (奥村 春)

VA: Haruka Tomatsu (JP) | Xanthe Huynh (EN)

A mysterious "Beautiful Phantom Thief" (美少女怪盗) who wears a classic bandit mask, complementing a Musketeer-style hat with a plumed feather. The daughter of a rich food-service CEO who has become sick of her sheltered life and joins the Phantom Thieves to rebel against her cruel father. Haru is a possible confidant associated with the Empress Arcana. She is a possible love interest for the Protagonist.

Goro Akechi (明智 吾郎)

VA: Sōichirō Hoshi (JP) | Robbie Daymond (EN)

A high-school student who moonlights as a private detective and has solved many cases. He starts out trying to hunt down the Phantom Thieves, believing that their means to achieving justice are both illegal and immoral. He joins the Protagonist's crew much later in the story. Wears a long-nosed mask similar to a Renaissance-era plague doctor. Goro is an automatic confidant associated with the Justice Arcana.

Supporting Characters

Igor

VA: Masane Tsukayama (JP) | David Lodge (EN)

The master of the Velvet Room who sets the Protagonist off on his journey. Capable of fusing new Personas by "executing" current ones. An automatic confidant associated with the Fool Arcana.

Caroline and Justine

VA: Aki Toyosaki (JP) | Carrie Keranen (EN)

Young twins who take up the duties of assisting Igor within the Velvet Room as prison wardens. Both wear an eyepatch over one eye and are dressed in prison guard-style uniforms. Justine has her hair in a long braid and a hat with the letters "O-Y-O-O," while Caroline wears her hair in a bun and has a hat with the letters "X-M-R-N." Caroline is an ill-tempered girl while Justine is more of a calm, quiet type. Possible confidant associated with the Strength Arcana. Player must fuse multiple personas with specific abilities as a means to advance the confidant rank.

Munehisa Iwai

VA: Hisao Egawa (JP) Kaiji Tang (EN)

Owner of the Military Shop "Untouchable". Sells weapons to the Protagonist and his party, and offers discounts in exchange for helping him smuggle items or destroy evidence. He is a possible confidant associated with the Hanged Man Arcana. The social stat of Dauntless Guts is required to start the confidant link.

Takemi Tae

VA: Yuka Saito (JP) Kirsten Potter (EN)

Owner of the Takemi Medical Clinic, sells healing items to the Protagonist and uses him to experiment with newly-developed drugs. She is a possible confidant associated with the Death Arcana. She is a possible love interest for the Protagonist.

Sae Niijima

VA: Yuko Kaida (JP) Elizabeth Maxwell (EN)

A young lawyer working as a public prosecutor for Special Investigation Department in Tokyo, and the older sister of Makoto. She interrogates the Protagonist at the beginning of the story, constantly interrupting his story to get to the truth. She is an automatic confidant associated with the Judgement Arcana. The rank of the confidant link advances according to the progress of the story.

Sojiro Sakura

VA: Jouji Nakata (JP) Jamieson Price (EN)

The owner of Cafe Le Blanc and a friend of the Protagonist's parents, who offers to take him in when he transfers schools to Tokyo. Offers to teach the Protagonist how to make SP-healing coffee and curry in exchange for working at the cafe. He is possible confidant associated with the Hierophant Arcana.

Plot

[see the Guide for the expanded plot]

After trying to save a woman being harassed by a drunken man, the Protagonist of the game finds himself arrested for assault and put on probation, and is unofficially exiled to Tokyo by his parents. Despite his initial attempt to lead a normal life, The Protagonist quickly finds himself thrown into a strange alternate universe where the superegos of powerful individuals have created entire Palaces where they rule over others.

With the help of a growing number of friends and confidants, including a shapeshifting talking cat who insists he was originally human, the Protagonist forms a group called the "Phantom Thieves of Hearts" to steal the "Treasure" that the owners of those Palaces hold dear, in order to change their ways in the real world, before they bring harm to anyone else.

Other Media

A one-shot anime adaptation entitled Persona 5 The Animation: The Day Breakers was released just before the official Japanese release date of the game, on September 3, 2016. The anime portrayed a sidequest in the game, with the Phantom Thieves helping a student at Yusuke's school stop his arrogant and abusive brother from using his locksmith skills for illegal purposes. After completing the job, the Protagonist finds himself in the Velvet Room, as Igor mentions that job was "a glimpse of a possible future."

Persona 5 "Sounds of Rebellion" soundtrack CD was included with the "Take Your Heart" Special Edition pre-order.

Development

Persona 5 started development after that of Catherine's ended in 2011. It was initially planned to be developed for handheld platforms, however the development staff decided against this and chose the PlayStation 3 as they figured the majority of fans wanted Persona 5 to be an HD experience.

Pre-reveal

In September of 2009, Shoji Meguro was listed on Sony's site as the producer for the game. Meguro has served as the music composer for all entries in the Persona series to date and also served as the director of the PSP remake of the original Persona. His official capacity in regards to development on Persona 5 was officially revealed in the Persona 5 trailer, where he is credited as the game's composer.

In interviews upon the release of Catherine, Meguro stated he'd be able to discuss the RPG that he and Hashino were developing following Catherine's release. This RPG was presumed to be Persona 5.

In a Famitsu interview discussing developers' aspirations for the new year of 2012, it was stated by Atlus that "that title you’ve been waiting for may be announced." The title in question was presumed to be Persona 5.

Shortly after the release of Persona 4 Arena (August 2012), Katsura Hashino stated that the Persona Team was now fully focusing on Persona 5, and that master artist Shigenori Soejima has submitted several sketches for the next numbered entry in the series.

"Let's go ahead and declare it: preliminary preparation for the next numbered title is basically finished, and from here on out development will be going at full speed... The theme is more or less set, and the staff are all even more enthusiastic about challenging themselves than they were after Persona 3." Hashino had stated. Hashino would be directing the game, with Shigenori Soejima doing character design and Shoji Meguro as sound composer.

Interviews had stated that the Persona team had developed Catherine as a testbed for Persona 5, however it has been said that they will not be using the Gamebryo engine for Persona 5, instead opting for an engine they created specifically for the title. This custom engine was also used for Persona 4: Dancing All Night.

Official Reveal

Teaser from the Persona 5 trailer.
Teaser from the Persona 5 trailer.

On November 24, 2013, Atlus officially revealed Persona 5 through a live stream. Not a lot of information regarding the game was shown, but a release date of "Winter 2014" was shown. It was also confirmed to be a PlayStation 3 title, suggesting that it's exclusive for the platform since no mention of Xbox 360 was made. The trailer also confirmed involvement from Katsura Hashino, Shigenori Soejima, and Shoji Meguro.

A single sentence regarding the game was teased in the trailer: "You are slave. Want emancipation?"

The chairs featured in the original teaser is a setting from a Japanese high school classroom. The theme of Persona 5 will focus on the emotion of joy after overcoming trials (thus freeing yourself from chains, pictured in the teaser with chains around school chairs), which could be some form of criticism against the strict and stressful Japanese school system.

During Sony's SCEJA Press Conference in 2014 a new released date of 2015 was announced and it was also revealed that Persona 5 would be released on the PlayStation 4 as well as the PlayStation 3. The very first gameplay trailer for Persona 5 was included on a Blu-Ray disc in the first-print run of Persona 4: Dancing All Night but did not mention anything about the game's launch date. At Tokyo Game Show 2015 the title was delayed yet again to Summer 2016. A more concrete release date was not announced until May 5, 2016 when Atlus held a live-stream event where they revealed a new trailer along with a Japanese release date of September 15, 2016. On June 7, 2016 the official PlayStation Blog announced that the game had been given a release date of February 14, 2017 for North America.

Delay

Atlus announced via livestream on November 16, 2016 that Persona 5 would be delayed for North American and European audiences. The new release date is scheduled for April 4, 2017. The new release date brings with it additional recorded dialog and the option for the original Japanese audio as DLC.