It's the latest (and potentially greatest?) entry into Atlus' beloved JRPG series and part of the overarching Megami Tensei franchise. Development began soon after Atlus wrapped production on Catherine back in 2011, and Persona 5 was delayed multiple times to lend the dev team enough time for polish and QA, not to mention the localization process.
Set in Tokyo, Persona 5 orbits around the Phantom Thieves of Hearts, a pocket of masked vigilantes who venture forth into a supernatural realm known as the Palace to battle evil, which brings us to...
The story of Persona 5 draws inspiration from picaresque fiction in the sense that Atlus' JRPG sequel centers on a ragtag crew comprised of roguish outlaws.
Behind the scenes, Game Director Katsura Hashino, Character Designer Shigenori Soejima, and Composer Shoji Meguro -- three stalwarts of the series -- helped bring Persona 5 to life, and the end result is a stunningly beautiful JRPG with heart. Just be wary of those Phantom Thieves...
“The protagonist is the newest transfer student of Shujin Academy in Tokyo. He had a bad experience with corrupt authority figures in his hometown, but he’s been given a second chance to start anew. Although he lives the life of a typical Japanese high-schooler during the day (such as going to class, hanging out with friends, putting in work at the batting cage, and more), by night he’s something much more than 'typical'. Don’t let his clean cut school boy uniform and stoic demeanor fool you, because this kid is the leader of the Phantom Thieves of Hearts. Codenamed 'Joker', the protagonist is a wildcard who’ll do whatever it takes to steal the hearts of adults he perceives as corrupt.”
Persona 5 is, in essence, a turn-based RPG, and if you're in any way familiar with the genre, you should take to the combat like a duck to water.
What arguably lends the series a certain je ne sais quoi, though, is the Personas themselves. They're powerful, physical manifestations of each character's psyche -- manifestations you'll be able to call upon in the heat of battle.
Here's the lowdown, per Atlus:
“Persona 5 is a game about the internal and external conflicts of a group of troubled youth who live dual lives. They have the typically ordinary day-to-day of a Tokyo high-schooler – attending class, after school activities and part-time jobs. But they also undertake fantastical adventures by using otherworldly powers to enter the hearts of people. Their power comes from the Persona, the Jungian concept of the “self;” the game’s heroes realize that society forces people to wear masks to protect their inner vulnerabilities, and by literally ripping off their protective mask and confronting their inner selves do the heroes awaken their inner power, and use it to strive to help those in need. Ultimately, the group of Phantom Thieves seeks to change their day-to-day world to match their perception and see through the masks modern-day society wears.”
Persona 4 Golden may have helped cushion the blow, but nine years is an awful long time to wait for a new installment in the Persona series. Quality takes time, though, and based on the first wave of glowing reviews, the prolonged wait has very much been worth it.
Available for both PS4 and PS3 in Japan, Persona 5 sold close to 400,000 copies at launch, ensuring that Atlus' long-anticipated title got off to a strong start in its native homeland.
That momentum continued long after release, too, which certainly bodes well for the game's imminent western launch.
Following in the footsteps of Gravity Rush 2, Nioh and Yakuza 0, Persona 5 is the latest Japanese tentpole to make its way west, and we couldn't be more excited.
After much back and forth, Deep Silver will handle Persona 5's distribution in Europe, with CEO Klemens Kundratitz noting:
“We are delighted to have signed this publishing partnership and look forward to using all our pan-European publishing network to maximize the potential of the ATLUS and SEGA games.”
With Xander Mobus (the announcer from Super Smash Bros.) as the silent protagonist, the English voice cast is as follows:
They're one of the key cornerstones of the franchise and here, you'll be able to get acquainted with the principal Personas that'll be fighting by your side in a few days' time.
The Velvet Room, one of the more iconic tropes of the Persona universe, returns with the release of Persona 5. And you can find all the necessary info right here.
"For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Velvet Room, it’s a special area where personas can be… played around with. Basically, the room is where personas collected in the Metaverse can be upgraded, turned into items, or undergo fusion. Let’s start with the most morbid one, shall we? Fusion allows personas to be fused together to create a new, hopefully stronger, one. There are three ways to fuse personas, basic fusion lets any two be fused together, while advanced fusion is preset and require three or more. Oh, there is one little thing I should mention. Your personas will need to be executed via guillotine to undergo the aforementioned fusions, so always remember their noble sacrifice when Velvet Room wardens, Caroline and Justine, lets the blade drop (be wary of accidents though). The third method of fusion is network fusion, which allows a player with online function to fuse their persona with a random online player’s persona!
"Besides making heads roll, the Velvet Room offers other fun ways to execute, I mean, manage personas. For example, you can strengthen a persona by sacrificing (hanging) another one to it, put personas in lockdown so they can learn to take less damage from their weakness, and “transform” them via electric chair into a useful item/piece of equipment. You can also register and summon them from the compendium as well! Although the Velvet Room may look like a prison, it’s an important place to invest time and persona lives in. Oh, you can also access the area during the day/night or during Palace runs through a prison door looking portal."
Eager to clamp down on potential story spoilers, Atlus has blocked the Share function on PS4, thereby preventing players from capturing screenshots and/or videos.
"This being a Japanese title with solely a single-playthrough story means Japan is very wary about it. Sharing is currently blocked through the native PS4 UI."
Despite some confusion over the "PS4 Console Exclusive" label, Atlus USA PR Manager John Hardin was quick to clarify that both Persona 5 and Yakuza 0 will remain exclusive to PlayStation platforms.
One week out from release, a number of Amazon customers relayed reports that their Take Your Heart Premium edition and SteelBook edition orders were being cancelled. The problem has since been rectified, with those affected receiving a free copy of Persona 5 for their grievance.
A day later, Amazon expressed its surprise over those reports, stating:
"This morning we were surprised to learn about Persona 5 'Take Your Heart' Premium Edition cancellations with Amazon. After waiting patiently during the day we received word, and can confirm to you what we’ve always known, that there’s nothing defective or 'dangerous' about our product. While there have been cancellations, we understand that only a tiny number of Amazon sales have been affected. No 'mass cancellations' of the premium and SteelBook editions have occurred. If your order has been cancelled, please contact the retailer for support."
There's another SKU available for Persona 5, and it's known as the Limited Edition Steelbook version.
Priced at $89.99, the Take Your Heart edition comes in special packaging decorated with assorted Persona 5 artwork.
Inside you'll find "a 64-page Persona 5 artbook that gives fans a glimpse of the game’s concept art and character design development, a 19-track Persona 5 'Sounds of Rebellion' soundtrack, a Shujin Academy bag, a 4-inch Morgana plush, and the game itself in a steelbook case."
Curious to see Persona 5 in action? Atlus recently hosted a two-hour stream teeming with gameplay footage.
While we wait for the English-language Trophies to pop, PlayStation Trophies has compiled a list of the Persona 5 JP accolades. Be wary of spoilers!
Ahead of Persona 5's launch, Atlus is seemingly testing the water for HD remakes and spinoffs. In its latest survey, the Japanese giant asked fans whether they'd be interested in revisiting older titles in the series.
Our own Heath Hindman had the chance to go hands-on with an early build of Persona 5 during TGS 2016, and left largely impressed.
"It felt much like Persona 4; if you played that (or almost any turn-based RPG), you’ll figure things out and be able to get the most out of things. I just wish I had a few hours with which to play around with social links and the Velvet Room and all that. I guess what I’m trying to say is…I want to play Persona 5?"
Tyler Treese has enrolled in Shujin Academy on behalf of PlayStation LifeStyle, and his review ought to be live on the site imminently.