Video Game: Persona 5

Wake up, get up, get out there!

"You are a slave. Want emancipation?"
US Teaser

Persona 5 is an Urban Fantasy Role-Playing Game Spinoff of the popular Shin Megami Tensei JRPG franchise and the fifth numbered sequel in the Persona sub-series, developed by Atlus for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 and due for a summer 2016 release. It marks the first mainline entry in the Persona franchise following Sega's purchase of Atlus in 2013, and the first numbered Persona game to launch on multiple consoles.

You take the role of a new protagonist in Tokyo, a delinquent who spends his days as a second-year high schooler and his nights as a Gentleman Thief known as "The Phantom". Unlike previous games where the party acted out of a desire to help the people around them from an immediate threat, Persona 5's Anti-Hero Team seeks to atone for past mistakes by reforming the world around them.

Previews: Teaser, Teaser 2, Trailer 1, Trailer 2, Trailer 3

Persona 5 provides examples of:

  • Animorphism: One scene in the third trailer shows our heroes having been turned into mice, and controllable as such. Yes, even the cat.
  • Anti-Hero: The protagonists are delinquent thieves that are still serving the greater good, but with little information on the game's plot so far it's unclear how exactly.
  • Art Shift: The art direction is far more stylistic and comic book-like, fitting with the Phantom Thief motif. Dialogue boxes appear as comic book speech bubbles.
  • Blank White Eyes: A possessed subway conductor can be seen without any pupils as he runs a train off the tracks.
  • Bland-Name Product: The party can be seen eating a bag of Lays potato chips and drinking bottles of Coca-Cola at one point, only with the nondescript labels "Potato" and "Nice Cola" printed on them. Similarly, an ad can be seen for a tablet computer called the "Next P.A.D." that bears a striking resemblance to the Apple iPad.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Characters have been seen bleeding and injured significantly more often than previous games in the Persona series. Shots in the trailers have shown a beaten and bruised protagonist tied up to a chair, and briefly noticeable is the characters ripping off their masks as if it were their face, leaving a massive trail of blood. Coincidentally or not, the game's dominant color is a vivid blood red.
  • Body Horror: Several humans are shown in the second PV to transform into shadow-like entities. One of the shadows even has a demon erupt from inside it and dies in the process.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Atlus published an ad in an actual Japanese newspaper, appearing as a Cut-and-Paste Note, that proclaimed "The Phantom" would appear at the February 2015 event that revealed new Persona 5 footage. Sure enough, he ended up appearing, "shot out" the lights, and proceeded to reveal the very first gameplay trailer for Persona 5.
  • Build Like an Egyptian: The third trailer opens up with a cutscene of our heroes inexplicably running down a collapsing pyramid in a desert.
  • Camera Abuse: The screen will momentarily "crack" whenever you perform an All-Out Attack.
  • Chest Burster: Multiple enemies, like Norn, are shown bursting out of the backs of humanoid Shadows, killing the Shadow in the process.
  • Chucking Chalk: One of the protagonist's teachers hits him in the head with a piece of chalk from straight across the room in one scene.
  • Color Motif: Red, in opposition to Persona 3’s blue and Persona 4’s yellow, to underscore P5's themes of danger and rebellion.
  • Combination Attack: The "All-Out Attack", which lets your entire party attack weakened enemies at once, returns from previous installments, but new to the table is the "Random Fire" mechanic in which your party members stand side by side, aim their guns and blow their enemies away with a firing squad-esque shower of bullets.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: P4's protagonist moved from the big city to a rural town, had straight silver hair, wore his school uniform with a popped collar and open jacket, and only wore glasses in fights with Shadows. Further, he and his friends worked in their small town to help the police catch a dangerous criminal. By contrast, P5's protagonist moved from a small town to the big city, has messy black hair, wears his school uniform properly, and only wears glasses out of battle. Meanwhile, he and his friends are infamous thieves working in the metropolis of Tokyo to avoid the police at all costs.
  • Cool Mask: A recurring theme in the game, all the main characters wear a mask in their undercover costumes, and removing them seems to be how Personas are summoned in this installment; in addition, in the third trailer, upon obtaining a new Persona, it literally becomes a mask which the Protagonist then dons.
  • Dancing Theme: The main characters can be seen dancing around the city in the opening animation that plays before the title screen. The poses and spins make it look like they're ice skating on concrete.
  • Darker and Edgier: While it remains to be seen if it will reach the bleakness levels of the first three Persona installments, so far 5 seems to be significantly darker in tone than the famously-cheerful 4, with characters being seen receiving very visible, bloody injuries (at any rate, it's likely to be the most visibly violent entry in the series), some fairly creepy imagery, and a plot involving more ambiguous AntiHeroes.
  • Eldritch Location: The Velvet Room, an ever-changing location existing not in space or time but inside the collective unconscious of the human psyche, returns.
  • Epiphanic Prison: A major theme of the game is finding how to free yourself of the metaphorical chains society puts on you.
    Katsura Hashino: We may feel some sort of suffocation in this world today, but as long as the world is comprised of relationships among humans, it is a person’s character, or a group’s character, that will provide the "power" to destroy that "feeling of entrapment".
  • Expy: Game director Katsura Hashino stated the Phantom was based on elements from picaresque heroes that include Arsène Lupin, The Fiend With Twenty Faces, and Ishikawa Goemon.
  • Eyed Screen: Once again, a cut-in of just the character's eyes will appear when you perform powerful Persona attacks.
  • Faceless Masses: Non-important NPCs have blurry, smudged out faces.
  • Flash Step: One of the Protagonist's field abilities shown in the first PV allows him to quickly move from cover to cover in the blink of an eye.
  • Gorgeous Garment Generation: Unlike P3 and P4, awakening to your Persona abilities in P5 also grants you a cool thief outfit in a blaze of magical blue flames.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The screen turns blood red and your characters can be seen blasting holes in their enemies' silhouettes when you perform an All-Out Attack.
  • Haunted House: One dungeon has you infiltrating a mansion filled with Masked Figures.
  • Hero Antagonist: Naturally, the police force seems to oppose the group. It has yet to be seen how much of a role they have in the story.
  • Historical-Domain Character: In addition to Shin Megami Tensei staples, the main characters' revealed Personas veer away from standard mythological figures and include a few real life characters that fit the roguish theme of the protagonists:
  • Indy Escape: A scene from PV#3 shows the Protagonist, Ryuji, Yusuke and Morgana running down a staircase, away from a pursuing giant boulder.
  • Institutional Apparel: The Protagonist can be seen in black and white pinstripes during one of the scenes in the Velvet Room, which for him takes the form of a prison.
  • Jump Physics: This game introduces jumping as a form of movement, as shown when the Protagonist jumps across chandeliers in the first PV.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The protagonist will stick his hand out to the screen when you open the menu, with text reading "Don't look at me like that" in the corner of the screen. This is something often done in Japan when making eye contact with fictional characters. The fact that the protagonist is doing it implies that he's not the fictional one...
  • Malevolent Masked Men: The mysterious masked beings take this appearance after transforming from their human forms. In battle, they are ripped apart from the inside by demons.
  • Mask of Power: Masks are the Persona trigger this time around. A character's mask appears on their face when they summon their Persona for the first time.
  • Minigame: After school, the protagonist can kill some time by heading to batting cages or wailing on a training dummy, which presumably increases his stats and is presented as a minigame to the player. This is a notable evolution from the last two installments, which featured no such thing when doing after-school activities (other than 4's Fishing Minigame) and were instead passive.
  • Monster of the Week: The game's story progression has been described as that of an omnibus or serial TV drama. Rather than focusing on a single, overarching threat, the Protagonists steal the hearts of multiple targets in order to reform the world. This comes in contrast with other Persona games, as each one had a main goal and target to stop. This seems to be more of a slice of life game in the normal world. Of course, they still have enemies to take down in their attempt to change the world.
  • More Dakka: The "Random Fire" attack, where the heroes can unleash a barrage of gunfire on the entire enemy party.
  • The Musketeer: The main characters can switch between melee weapons and firearms, like in the original Persona and many other Shin Megami Tensei games.
    • The Protagonist uses combat knives and handguns.
    • Ryuji uses blunt objects and shotguns.
    • Ann uses whips and submachine guns.
    • Morgana uses toy swords and slingshots.
  • Mythology Gag: P5 has a number of references to other Atlus-made games.
    • The weapon shop menu lists the Protagonist next to a dog tag with the name "JOKER" on it.
    • Ryuji's thief outfit is a Whole Costume Reference to the Hell Biker.
    • The enemies are all mainline Shin Megami Tensei demons, a la the Persona games before P3 and P4.
    • This game actually has the team being formed over the course of the game rather than them being previously connected, much like Devil Survivor 2.
  • Portal Picture: In the Art Gallery dungeon, the party can hop into paintings to use them to sneak around foes.
  • Post-Modern Magik: The heroes use a phone app called Isekainabi ("parallel world navigation") to access the world of the palace.
  • Power Glows: the supernatural Persona are now covered in a glowing blue aura of flames when summoned.
  • Public Domain Character: Always the case with Demons and Personas in the Shin Megami Tensei series. 3 and 4 used Classical Mythology (usually Greek) and Japanese Mythology for its Personas, respectively, but 5 is using more modern folklore, with various famous thieves and Lovable Rogues. Like previous games, the Personas have allusions relevant to the character:
    • The main character's initial Persona is Arsène - as in, Arsène Lupin, one of the most famous thieves in fiction and the archetypal Phantom Thief. Arsène the Persona dresses similarly to famous depictions of the original thief, with a top hat and other formal wear.
    • Morgana's Persona is Zorro, a pulp hero and cunning outlaw who defends commoners and other innocents from an oppressive government. The fact Zorro has the Animal Motif of a fox and Morgana is a cat is probably a joke.
    • Ann has Carmen, the star of a French opera of the same name and a gypsy woman loved by men for her exotic features and hedonism. Ann is a quarter-white girl who is the subject of some nasty rumors at the school regarding her ethnicity.
  • Punny Name: The Protagonists attend a high school named "Shujin School" in Japanese. This can be read as "The People's School" or "Prisoner School".
  • Recurring Element:
    • Specifically to Persona 3 and 4:
      • A noticeable primary Color Motif that pervades the UI and artwork for the game. For this game, it's a vivid red.
      • The protagonist arrives to town by taking a train.
      • The Velvet Room has a new silver-haired, gold-eyed female attendant - though in a twist, there's two of them now.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: The Persona game starring Antihero Phantom Thieves also has a predominately red and black color theme.
  • Relationship Values: The "Cooperation" feature is apparently a replacement for the Social Links of 3 and 4, but it's as-of-yet unknown what that entails.
  • Running Gag: Morgana getting thrown by party members.
  • Sequel Escalation: Persona 3 and 4 were acclaimed games notably dragged down somewhat by their very limited budgets, the aging hardware of the PlayStation 2, and 4 running off the same framework as 3. Meanwhile, P5 is shaping up to be a completely different beast than its predecessors, with more dynamic cutscenes rather than the Going Through the Motions the older games had, more ways of navigating through the dungeons (such as stealth and platforming), minigames, and a larger overworld to explore filled with NPCs. Not just for the Persona series either: for Atlus as a whole, 5 seems like it's going to be their biggest game yet.
  • Seven Deadly Sins:
    • In the opening, nine Latin words flash on screen; luxuria (lust, which is apparently represented by Morgana), gula (gluttony), avaritia (greed), acedia (sloth), ira (wrath), invidia (envy), superbia (pride). Plus two more; cavum (hollowness), and irritum (nothingness).
    • In the third PV, Morgana implies that the dungeons are result of "warped desires" and the boss shown seems to represent gula or luxuria.
  • Shout-Out: A full page for them.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: As part of the thieving tone of the game, previews have shown that the party has the option to sneak around foes in various methods, from simply hiding behind walls to hopping into paintings. It remains to be seen if this is always a viable option in dungeons (which could make Persona 5 an outright Stealth-Based Game) or if players can only do so at certain points in the story.
  • Stealth Pun: The word "persona" means "mask". When the Protagonist attains a new Persona, it literally becomes a mask that he snatches from the air and puts on, adding it to his psyche. This is a recurring motif in the series with enemy design and characters such as Philemon wearing a mask, but this is the first time it's ever been so heavily emphasized.
  • Super Move Portrait Attack: A cut-in of the character's eyes will flash onscreen any time your Persona performs a critical attack.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Shadow Selves once again sport glowing yellow eyes, even when appearing as Doppelgangers of their human selves.
  • Talk to the Hand: The protagonist will stick his hand out to the screen when you open the menu, with text reading "Don't look at me like that" in the corner of the screen.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: Inverted. The Velvet Room, which changes into a location tailor-made for its current guest, becomes a prison for P5's Protagonist.
  • Take Cover: The protagonist can hide behind walls and furniture while sneaking around.
  • Tarot Motifs: Previews so far have shown the tarot theme of the series seems to be far less prevalent than previous installments, but Personas are still sorted by Major Arcana and the protagonist is still the Fool.
  • Tear Off Your Face: Tearing off one's mask is treated as this, and is also how they summon Personas. When two of the party members rip off their masks in a trailer, their face becomes appropriately bloodied as if it were their actual face. The protagonist is also shown trying to rip off the mask of the masked figures at one point, which is also acting as their face.
  • Technicolor Fire: Blue flames are a major visual motif in the game.
    • In the second teaser, an otherworldly blue flame can be seen in the distance once time stops.
    • The Protagonist, or perhaps his Shadow Self, bursts into blue flame when he summons his Persona.
    • Persona are now covered in blue flame when they are summoned.
  • Thematic Theme Tune: A currently-untitled theme sung by Korean R&B vocalist Lyn. The lyrics are about stepping out of one's comfort zone to confront the wrongdoings and evils in the world when others are content to just stand by and watch, and that if someone wants change in the world, they have to do it themselves rather than waiting on someone else.
  • Time Stands Still: In the first trailer, everyone in a crowded intersection freezes, other than the protagonist.
  • A Twinkle in the Sky: In a cutscene shown in the third PV, Ann throws Morgana so high into the air it results in this.
  • Unmoving Plaid: The plaid pattern on the male high school uniforms remain fixed no matter how much their wearers move around in the opening animation.
  • Urban Fantasy: You play as a high school student in modern day who can summon an Anthropomorphic Personification of your own psyche. More emphasis is put on the "urban" aspect than previous entries in the series - notably, the weapons have a somewhat more "modern" feel, with the protagonist using knives instead of swords and Ryuji's preference for good old blunt instruments (though Ann's whip might raise a few eyebrows). The party can also use firearms as secondary weapons again, like mainline Shin Megami Tensei games.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: The ability from Persona 4 Golden to equip your party members with different sets of clothes returns.

When your destiny has been determined, we will meet again... Hahahaha!