Atlus, the mastermind behind the Persona series has finally started releasing details on the upcoming Persona 5. Considering that Persona 4 Golden is often hailed as the definitive PlaysStation Vita game, and is one of our most influential games of all time, we have been eagerly awaiting any and all details on this latest addition to the franchise.
Last week saw the release of the new Japanese trailer, which I’ve stuck below for those who missed it and everyone who wants to see it again. It screams Persona, is as Atlus as you can get (you can see it riffing on Catherine a few times), and it is most definitely set in Shibuya, Tokyo. For those who can’t read the Japanese at the beginning, it asks the player “Will it bring glory?! Or will it be catastrophe?!”
Since then, we’ve been wondering a few things – who is the dude in the mask? What are the masks all about? What on Earth is up with that cat thing? Well, producer and director Katsura Hashino has stepped up to the plate and given us (via Famitsu via Siliconera), some vague idea as to what the game is actually about.
Persona 5‘s protagonist is a second-year high school student who transfers to Shibuya in the spring. Nothing surprising there, considering it’s a Persona game, and the Japanese school year starts in April. Our protagonist, it seems, has gone to live with parents’ friends in their coffee shop; again, a fairly standard anime setup and nothing surprising there. We don’t know what happened to this chap’s parents just yet or anything else about his history, other than that our hero is suffering from some sort of problem that he needs to face head on. Again, all fairly standard Persona stuff.
Now for the juicy bits – we now know that while the game starts out in Shibuya, the game is actually spread across various parts of Tokyo. We also know that the dungeon shown in the trailer was not automatically-generated. Combat is set to remain as turn-based, and each character is set to have some sort of long-range weapon this time around – however, the proper dungeons will stay randomly-generated, with some of the more story-centric areas laid out specifically to challenge your skills as a phantom thief.
Incidentally, we know that our protagonist’s default Persona is named “Arsène”. This is undoubtedly a reference to the famous fictional French phantom thief, Arsène Lupin. Character designer, Shigenori Soejima, has noted that Arsène’s cape and wings are there “to suggest that he can go places other character’s can’t”.
Also, it has been confirmed that the Social Link feature – a defining characteristic in the franchise – will be returning in Persona 5. In what form we can only guess, but in previous games your interactions with your friends has had a direct impact on the powers your friends can summon forth.
So far we have only had confirmation on the 4 characters you can see in the trailer above. The player will meet Morgana, a transforming cat, towards the start of the game, who we’re told will play a key role in the story. Likewise, the protagonist will meet the other two characters early on; it’s been suggested that all three of them have recently lost their homes and are new to the area.
Persona 5 is currently in development for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.