The Persona series of games by RPG developer Atlus has become widely popular over the years amongst the RPG community of gamers. With deep, emotional plotlines (spoilers), challenging gameplay, and hours of replay value; the Persona series captivated the attention of many RPG fans across America and both Europe and Japan. Persona 5, the newest instalment slated to release sometime in 2016, is buzzing with internet rumours and truthful information all mixed in together. In an attempt to clarify some of these things, this article is going to give you, the reader; a primer on what we know so far, and some of the rumours to look out for on your own exploratory research.
For those of you who may not have experienced the Persona series before, here is a quick run-down of the series main points:
The Persona series is an offshoot of the flagship Shin Megami Tensei series, becoming its own popular franchise; the games revolve around you, as the protagonist (usually a silent one) in modern Japan.
The protagonist and his friends are students at a Japanese high school who gain the ability to manifest “persona” their hidden side or personality which manifests as popular mythological entities such as gods, goddesses, and demons.
The Persona series blends the mundane world of a student with the fantastical world of a persona user, where the protagonist and his friends will fight off dark entities by night while being regular students during the day attempting to solve some sort of problem or mystery. Interwoven in the story are the different characters’ personal struggles, which you can unravel during the “social link” portion of the game, which contains time management elements where you choose who to spend time with in order to build relationships with friends and allies.
Atlus Persona games are also full of other content such as persona fusion, turn-based combat with tactical elements, and so much more. Here’s what we know about Persona 5 thus far, though the developer Atlus has attempted to remain somewhat tight-lipped on a few things.
What we know:
According to the official site, Persona 5 is going to be released on Playstation 3, and Playstation 4; though it will have been made as the first next-generation Persona title, therefore being crafted with next-gen hardware in mind. Whether this means that certain next-gen capabilities will be unavailable on the Playstation 3 version is currently not known. It seems that the main theme of this new adventure is breaking free of chains (noted by the promotional artwork of chairs bound by iron ball-and-chains. Additionally, Persona 5’s tagline seems to be “Steal back your Future!” teasing additional themes such as lawlessness and a feeling of entrapment.
Character designer Shigenori Soejima and Katsura Hashino (the game’s director) went on record in an interview with Famitsu to state that like Persona 3 and Persona 4, which had design revolving around the colours blue and yellow respectively; Persona 5 will be done in mostly red for a harsh feeling environment. Hashino has also stated that he wanted the game to be more “thematically accessible” to players new to the series and wanted the game to be an emotional experience that ended in a sort of catharsis and release for the player. It was also stated that Hashino wanted to give those who feel trapped in their own existence a sort of motivation to refuse to ignore the barriers in their way and experience the world regardless of the things in their way.
The characters of Persona 5 have been announced as being high school students in modern Tokyo at Shujin High School; with the others characters he meets being students as well. Through an unannounced “Unexpected Incident” the Protagonist and his friends become Persona users, donning a “Phantom Thief” alter ego as they attempt to do what is right; even when the entire world is against them, sending them on the run.
The Persona 5 developers [Atlus] have also stated that there will be four main characters; in most Persona titles there have been between six and eight, with you being able to carry three other members aside from the Protagonist in your party at one time. Whether this means that there will be a smaller cast this time around, or if they just have not announced the supporting cast yet. It is unlikely however that there will truly be so few as it would make the Social Link part of Persona 5 somewhat sparse. With that being said, the Social Link system has been stated to return, though it will be in an altered form.
The main character of Persona 5 is a young man named Phantom, who comes to Tokyo as a second-year high school student and lives at a café owned by a friend of his parents; along the way Phantom meets Ryuuji Sakamoto, Yusuke Kitagawa, and Anzu Takamaki, as well as a cat named Morgana. It is unknown whether Morgana will be the mascot of Persona 5 like Teddie and Koromaru from Persona 4 and Persona 3 respectively; either way though Morgana seems to be an integral character as far as the developers are concerned. This is not surprising considering Koromaru and Teddie had full storylines and in Teddie’s case, even had fully voiced dialogue. It also seems as though Igor (a common character in all the games) is returning though it is unannounced whether Elizabeth, Margaret, or Theodore will be joining him in Persona 5.
The gameplay of previous games seems to still be intact, with your party exploring in-game dungeons, jumping across gaps, and fighting enemies in turn-based combat. It has been shown in screenshots that a new mechanic of hiding behind cover for stealth has been introduced as well. It is likely (though not stated) that Persona fusion will return as well though likely altered in some form as it is usually connected to the Social Link system.
The last tidbit of information regarding Persona 5 that we know for certain pertains to Phantom’s persona named Arsene. It is likely that this persona is a reference to the famous thief Arsene Lupin, the gentleman thief created by French writer Maurice Leblanc. Additionally, Atlus has stated that on top of the theme of freedom, the game also is going to have elements of a Picaresque romance, which is integral to the plot.
Now on to the main rumour that is on everyone’s mind; Persona 5 was originally slated to release in 2015, but was pushed back to 2016 so that the developers would have more time to make this entry in the franchise into the best one yet. In the latest issue of Weekly Famitsu, the magazine spoke with a large group of developers to see what their plans were for the year. Katsura Hashino, Persona 5’s director gave a simple statement that has sent the internet ablaze.
In 2016, we’ll be able to release Persona 5, which I’m overseeing, sans problems… or so I’m thinking.” Hashino added, “To everyone who is looking forward to this, I apologize for making you all wait. And it would be great if we could put out the best thing we can… or so I’m thinking.
The phrase “or so I’m thinking” has led many on the internet to wonder if Hashino is having doubts that Atlus can deliver a release date for Persona 5 in 2016 as promised; as it stands the game has already been in development for close to five years, so there are many who wonder how much longer fans will have to wait before it graces our screens.
Fans of the series have a lot to look forward to when Persona 5 comes to Playstation 3 and Playstation 4 (hopefully) later this year. More information on a Persona 5 release date from Atlus is likely to come when E3 rolls around, if not before then, so follow us and stay tuned!