With Makoto's Persona Johanna having the form of a motorcycle, many fans have proposed that instead of riding in the Morganamobile in Mementos she instead rides her Persona. The joke later appeared, and was recognized, in the release of one of the P5 anthology mangas.
In a way, one of the endings to the Third Semester plays into this; should Joker accepts Maruki's deal to maintain the false reality, the ending has Sojiro ask Joker if he'd like to continuing living with him for to finish his third year with his friends, and maybe take over Leblanc in the future. This has been popular Fanfic Fuel for the fandom since the original game's release, and Atlus decided to invoke it here with this bad ending.
The English version of Royal chose to give human Morgana a different voice and voice actor, while in the Japanese version he keeps the same voice in both forms. This leads to a blooper where if you talk to him outside of Leblanc between 1/2 and 1/9, he'll say a voice clip from his cat form.
In the vanilla game, when you're investigating Kaneshiro, you talk to a blackmailed student named Iida who gets a voiced scene right after talking with Ann. However, his conversation with her is fully voiced in Royal, and Iida clearly has a different voice actor between the takes.
During the confidant reactions to the aftermath of Shido's calling card in the English dub of Royal, Takemi's single line still uses Kristen Potter's voice work instead of Abby Trott's.
Cash Cow Franchise: While Persona as a whole exists as this for Atlus, Persona 5 ended up replacing Persona 4, the previous main cash cow, as this in the more recent years.
A few days before Persona 5 was released in Japan, preloads of the game were datamined which inevitably led to said dataminers posting spoilers, most notably confirming the popular fan theory that Akechi was the one who sold out the protagonist during the Niijima's Palace heist.
A never-before-seen official artwork of Crow, matching the style of the other Thieves, was unintentionally leaked via the Persona O.A. app where it was used alongside the other male Phantom Thieves' official artworks for a set of White Day-themed wallpapers, which lead to said wallpaper being pulled less than 24 hours later due to an apparent issue with its unlock conditions and replaced with a cropped version of his All-Out Attack finisher screen. Oddly enough, the full version of Crow's official artwork has yet to be revealed by Atlus even after Persona 5 Royal's release, with merchandise using stock official art of the Thieves opting to use Akechi's civilian attire even with the rest of the Thieves dressed in their Metaverse outfits.
Kasumi: Ribbon-chan, Poniko,note a combination of the words ponytail and -ko, a common Japanese suffix for female names; not to be confused with the similarly nicknamed Yume Nikki character.Info-chan, Suminote (spoilers) A neutral nickname to get around spoiling her plotline, due to her real identity as Sumire Yoshizawa, the real Kasumi's sister
Maruki: SnaccDaddy, Salt Bae, The Worldnote Mainly because of his attire when he summons Azathoth for the first time. This one in particular is rather amusing considering his dub actor also voiced Josuke Higashikata, the main protagonist of Diamond Is Unbreakable.
Sojiro: Brojiro, Sojibro, note For both being the first adult Reasonable Authority Figure the protagonist encounters in the story, because he takes the protag under his wing in the cafe, and finally because he plays Shipper on Deck for the protagonist and whoever they choose as his love interest Coffee Dad
Toranosuke Yoshida has been referred to as "Japanese Bernie Sanders".
Yabbadabbadoo is a common shorthand for the final boss Yaldabaoth as people struggle the pronounce the name.
Joker, Akechi, and Kasumi are often referred to as the "Royal Trio" due to Akechi's increased prominence in Royal and well as Kasumi debuting in the same game, and the fact that all three are the primary playable characters for most of Royal's third semester.
Akechi's lack of presense in a lot of promotional material for the game up to and including not appearing in collaborations such as the CatherineFullbody DLC and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, as well as his Guest-Star Party Member status in the original game, has caused some (mostly his detractors) to take it to mean that Akechi isn't "officially" counted as a Phantom Thief, even though the official site for Persona 5 Royal lists him on the Phantom Thief page and promotional material shows him amongst the Thieves to the point of appearing in Royal's opening animation, and official surveys and character popularity polls label him as one.
Before Word of God officially confirmed the Deuteragonist of the game to be Akechi, many fans often claimed that Makoto was the deuteragonist, usually by wildly exaggerating her relevance in the story due to her sister Sae heading the interrogation that acts as a framing device or by pointing out the Game-Breaker power of her equipment. Some fans even argued that Morgana was the deuteragonist due to his closeness to the protagonist and being revealed to be the manifestation of mankind's hopes and being created by Igor to assist the protagonist.
A misinterpretation of the artbook and an interview with Katsura Hashino led many fans to believe that Hifumi Togo was meant to be the Phantom Thief strategist, before Makoto took her place and Hifumi was demoted to a Confidant. What actually was said is that her character design was proposed for a Phantom Thief, to be added to the team alongside Makoto, and the two of them would have both been strategists and Foils of each other (Makoto a straight-forward one, and the other one more unorthodox). When it was decided that Makoto was to be the sole strategist, the other character's design was repurposed for Hifumi. This also explains Hifumi's unorthodox approach to shogi in-game.
There was speculation that Ann would be Caucasian, as "Takamaki" is both a Japanese and Finnish surname and thanks to the complicated Kanji in her name, no one really knew if her name was "Anne" or "Anzu". Add to this her blue eyes and blonde hair, which, in a series where Blue, Red, Purple and Silver are both natural hair and eye colors, have been reserved for foreigners, such as Lisa (American) and Bebe (French). A profile released shortly after the third trailer revealed one of her grandparent was American, making her ¼ Caucasian. While it's not clear if she has any Finnish ancestry (although the game reveals she did live in Finland for a time), she is partly Caucasian as speculated.
After the fourth trailer revealed her character, many guessed that Futaba was a Hikikomori, based on her computer expertise and her name being a Shout-Out to 2Channel. This was confirmed by Famitsu a week later.
Many fans guessed that the boy seen on a plane in the fourth PV with the Protagonist and Ryuji would be a Confidant. This was confirmed in the July stream as Yuki Mishima, the Moon Arcana.
Virtually every fan correctly picked The High Priestess as Makoto's Arcana. Ditto for Akechi being Justice.
Many, many fans correctly called Sae being Makoto's older sister. Granted everyone knew they were related thanks to sharing a last name and the only other possible relation was Sae being her mother.
Practically everyone predicted that Akechi sold the protagonist out during the Niijima's Palace heist.
Several predicted that the molester the protagonist stops in the prologue would be the Big Bad.
As soon as the theme for this game's Personas were revealed to be famous literary characters who reflected the thief motif of the Main Characters, everyone immediately predicted one character would have Robin Hood as a Persona. It took a while to be confirmed, but it was eventually revealed to be Akechi's Persona. Funny enough, the guy who owns the most recognizable Persona (or rather, his namesake) is the Sixth Ranger Traitor.
A common theory regarding Royal was that the events of the third term would involve a Lotus-Eater Machine scenario. And as it turned out, people were right.
Many people predicted that Goro Akechi would have an expanded role in Persona 5 Royal due to his popularity and his apparent Heroic Sacrifice in the vanilla game being regarded as poorly written, with many having expecting him to receive a redemption arc instead. This theory would be partially confirmed by the E3 trailer for the game which shows a scene of Haru in the Mona bus with the knee of Akechi's Black Mask form partially visible behind her and was later fully confirmed during an August livestream for the game.
When the game was in-development, many theorized that Shujin Academy was a reform school. It was instead simply the only school that would take Joker after he got expelled from his old one.
A popular fan theory regarding Akechi's mother especially amongst fans of the "Akechi and Futaba are half-siblings" theory was that she had some involvement in Wakaba's cognitive psience research, due to the manner in which Shido referred to her as "that woman". Royal reveals that she was a stripper that Shido had raped.
A theory that was popular prior to the release of Persona 5 Royal was that Kasumi would have some connection to the Gnostic figure Sophia, or would turn out to be a non-human like Marie from Persona 4 Golden. Not only does Sophia not appear at all in Royal, but Kasumi is a human. Although the latter theory ended up partially true in the sense that "Kasumi" isn't her real identity. Sophia would later appear in-person during Persona 5 Strikers.
Another theory popular with Kasumi is that she instigated the Third Semester dream world events by stealing dreams. It turns out that Takuto is the instigator and not Kasumi, and "Kasumi", or more accurately, Sumire was merely one of the people affected by him. And the only dream that she stole is from the real Kasumi, who could otherwise continue winning championships in gymnastics or even enter nationals as a sister duo if she didn't sacrifice herself from this "Kasumi's" suicide attempt.
During a very brief period, people believed that Kasumi is actually a ghost of a girl who died of a car crash a month prior to the protagonist's arrival, as implied by Sojiro during the second day of the game in a dialogue that didn't exist in Vanilla. The timing that Sojiro talked about it even made them think that she died because of a Mental Shutdown. Days later when the full game's content came out to the public, it was revealed that while a girl called Kasumi did die of a car crash a month prior to the protagonist's arrival, all the other details are different. The "Kasumi" you see throughout most of the game is actually the younger sister of the one who died, her real name is Sumire, and she's taking on her name as the result of a cognitive delusion due to being unable to cope with the grief of Kasumi's death. The traffic accident is also separate from any of the mental shutdown incidents, as it was merely induced because of a fit of jealousy that nearly caused her to be ran over by traffic on accident, only for Kasumi to push her out of the way and take the hit in her stead.
A popular speculation before Royal was released was that the game would allow Joker to romance characters that cannot be romanced in the base game, with popular choices being Sae,* Of note is that Sae has unused lines in the base game implying she was meant to be a romance option. Lavenza,* Due to the previous two games allowing the protagonist to romance their Velvet Room attendant and her Love Confession to Joker if she's spoken to with the reward item from the Bonus Boss fight in his inventory. Shiho* This mostly tied into speculation that Shiho would end up getting her own Confidant in Royal instead of having a brief cameo in Ann's. and Akechi.* In part due the expanded focus on him in bothThe AnimationandRoyal and the confirmation his Confidant would be reworked to be optional When Royal was released, this was jossed as the only new romance option is Kasumi, a character unique to Royal.
Late Export for You: The free Christmas costumes DLC was released on 21 December 2016 in Japan, and on 11 July 2017 in North America. Before the game's release, it was announced for that same date for Europe. But somewhere along the line Deep Silver, the European publisher, silently removed it from the list. When asked about it on Twitter, they answered Christmas was still some time away. Fans reacted to this as well as you might expect. It was eventually released as part of the paid Costume and BGM DLC bundle in late October with a free separate release still nowhere to be seen.
In the deadline game over for the new Very Definitely Final Dungeon in Royal, the new Final Boss believes that the protagonist missed the deadline because making a decision was too tough for him and decides to resolve his pain by sending him into an endless sleep cycle.
Milestone Celebration: Semi-unintentionally, but thanks to the delays, the game was first released in 2016, the 20th anniversary of the Persona series. A title card featuring the logos of all 5 schools the protagonists go to shows when booting the game up. The Japanese release also nearly matches up with the 25th anniversary of the Shin Megami Tensei series as a whole, with the Western release being a more even match.
Newbie Boom: Even more so than Persona 3, Persona 4, and the anime adaptation of the latter. Persona 5 is the best selling game in Atlus' history by a wide margin, and the growth of let's plays, online streaming, and social media since Persona 4's release way back in 2008 gave the game significantly more exposure to a wider audience. Persona 5 received even more exposure after its main character was included as a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Posthumous Credit: Chihaya Mifune is voiced by Miyu Matsuki, who died before this game was released.
Spoiled by the Merchandise: While Goro Akechi's lack of presence in a good percentage of the game's trailers, marketing, and artwork was intended to hide the fact that he joins the Phantom Thieves despite his public disapproval of their methods, a lot of people used this to correctly predict that Akechi was the one who sells the protagonist out during the Niijima's Palace heist. The initial intent of concealing Akechi's involvement with the Thieves in promotional material also backfired as he is present on the box art alongside the other Phantom Thieves, spoiling the fact he joins them in the first place.
After Atlus mandated the game's streaming restrictions for the sake of not spoiling the plot, a number of content creators posted spoilers just to protest.
Another instance happened after Atlus tried to DMCA a PS3 emulator on the grounds that it could run Persona 5. Not only did it fail, but it also made more people aware of the emulators existence and that it could run P5 reasonably well.
Swan Song: Released over a decade after the console's launch and almost 6 months after the console was discontinued in North America, the PlayStation 3 version is considered this for western players, as it was the final big title to release for the system. Most tend to agree that it was an amazing way to go out.
Urban Legend of Zelda: A few rumors gained ground around the time of the game's Japanese release, when accurate information and translations were rare:
Another was that Goro Akechi's Bolivian Army Ending only occurred if you didn't max out his Confidant, and maxing it out and saving him was required for the "true ending". This one was quickly jossed after it was confirmed that Akechi's Confidant ranks up automatically, and the game doesn't have a "good vs true ending" split like Persona 4 did.
Tying into the above was an abundance of rumours involving ways of accessing Akechi's Palace, with two of the more prominent involving having to max out the Justice Confidant or maxing out all your Confidants and handing in your diary to Sojiro.
Another suggestion was that the Protagonist could romance Sae if her Confidant was maxed out. Like Akechi, Sae's confidant is automatic and even in the normal ending, Sae only sees him after the end of Mementos just to inform him that the police need to arrest him for breaking his probationary status. Dummied Out content implies she may have been romanceable at one point during development.
There are long-standing rumors about the game over/bad endings from failing to complete some of the Palaces, most talked about being Futaba committing suicide and her family blaming the protagonist for it, as well as Haru's fiance; personally suing the Phantom Thieves. In Futaba's game over, all that was mentioned was that the protagonist is arrested for coercion, blackmail, and suspicion for being a phantom thief, while Sojiro is also arrested for hiding a suspect. Okumura and Sae's palaces have the same game over in that the police was given an anonymous tip that the protagonist is the leader of the Phantom Thieves. In the first three game overs, the game was very explicit on who filed the charges, or in Makoto's, who was found at an "illegal services" shop. These seem to have come from fan analysis, and while certainly implied through the narrative, the victims were not mentioned in the game overs at all. Some fans went as far as so claim they were in the original version and the English localization had left them out for whatever reason. Those who have played the Japanese version will point out that the game overs in both versions of the game are, in fact, thesame.
Ann's English voice actor supports shipping Ann with Ryuji.
On the 25th of March 2020 Australian games retailer EB Games released Royal about six days ahead of the intended release date. While it is not currently known why this happened, common believe is that with the Australian Governments attempts to crack down on the COVID-19 pandemic forcing non-essential buisnesses and stores to close the next day, it's possible that they were trying to get the copies they had out before serious actions had to be taken.
Voice Acting Trivia
Acting for Two: Elizabeth Maxwell has mentioned on Twitter that she also voices the woman Shido confronted aside from Sae.
Subverted with Igor's voices (Masane Tsukayama in Japanese and David Lodge in English), which if you pay attention are shared with the Holy Grail. This is because the Holy Grail aka Yaldabaoth has been impersonating Igor the whole time, and the real Igor has a distinct voice.
Casting Gag: A retroactive one, given how Royal is an Updated Re-release. When the Phantom Thieves first meet Jose in Royal, the boy initially mistakes Morgana for a tanuki before correcting it to "cat". Morgana angrily responds that he's not a tanuki, and then adds that he isn't a cat, either. Ikue Otani has some experience with a very similar gag in another series.
Played with. While it is presumed Igor is voiced by Masane Tsukayama due to Isamu Tanonaka's fatal heart attack in 2010, this is actually due to a plot point, foreshadowing the Igor we see for most of the game is an imposter, while Tanonaka actually reprised his role as the real Igor, for the few lines the character had after being freed from his own imprisonment near the endgame.
Due to the passing of Miyu Matsuki and Kazunari Tanaka, Chihaya Mifune and Junya Kaneshiro are instead voiced by Haruka Terui and Takahiro Fujimoto respectively in Persona 5 Royal; the game was dedicated to Matsuki and Tanaka's memories. Both Terui and Fujimoto previously voiced Chihaya and Kaneshiro in the game's anime adaptation.
In the English version of Royal, Abby Trott replaces Kirsten Potter as Tae Takemi. According to Laura Post, Potter had moved away and couldn't reprise her role.
Playing Against Type: A few of the confirmed actors are rather outside their usual comfort zones for this one.
Aoi Yūki usually does "cute girls" and magical girl protagonists. Here, she's playing nerdy computer maniac Futaba Sakura, who also gets to pilot a UFO and can get pretty into it. note She has had a role a little like this once before in Fate/EXTRA CCC but Jinako's attitude was still very much a contrast to Futaba's desire to change the world around her.
Ikue Otani is playing Morgana, who seems to be a little similar to her biggest role, Pikachu, in being a cute mascot character... except that Morgana is a sarcastic thief with questionable respect for his teammates, which is rather outside the wheelhouse of any of Otani's other characters.
Soichiro Hoshi as Goro Akechi. Looking at his track record of voicing either a youthful young boy, either pacifistic (Kira Yamato or Kilik) or overly Hot-Blooded, but for the most part good-hearted guys... Goro might look like it's just another work in a day for him... until he's revealed as a big traitor and not a good person. At all. Jesus Yamato is now Satan Yamato...
Turns out a good amount that voiced Atelier protagonists also voice a majority of the main cast, such as; Totori as Morgana Meruru as Haru, Ayesha as Ann, and Logy as Ryuji. For someone not a main character in Persona 5, we have Shalotte as Chihaya.
Aki Toyosaki and Carrie Keranen are respectively the Japanese and English voices for twin Velvet Room attendants Caroline and Justine, who rather than twins are the two halves of Lavenza, also voiced by the same actresses.
Sora Amamiya and Laura Post likewise voice both Kasumi that is, Sumire and (in flashbacks) her twin sister the real Kasumi Yoshizawa.
Hifumi is voiced by Eden Riegel, who voiced Marie in Persona 4 Golden.
Kamoshida is voiced by D.C. Douglas, who voiced the Dance Instructor in Persona 4: Dancing All Night.
Madarame is voiced by Kyle Hebert, who voiced Mitsuo in Persona 4.
Development Hell: The game was first announced in 2013 for a Winter 2014 release, which was later pushed back to a general 2015 release. Come September of that year, the game was pushed back again to a Summer 2016 release. And while they did work this out by finally settling on a September 2016 release for Japan, the English release was pushed back another five months instead of the closer release that had been previously implied. And then the English release was pushed backanother two months in order to improve the localization. Developer interviews have strongly hinted that the delays were related to the financial difficulties of Index Holdings, Atlus's former parent company.
Executive Meddling: The way the document detailing the infamous streaming limitations was worded all but states that it's all because of Atlus Japan (with Atlus USA reluctantly enforcing the will of "their masters in Japan").
The simultaneous Americas/Europe release date was going to be on Valentine's Day, tying into the heart motif but it was delayed until April 4.
Royal came out in Japan on Halloween 2019, which could be seen as tying in with the motifs of masks, costumes, and monster summoning. The International release was on March 31st, or just before April Fool's Day.
Recycled Script: Just like the previous gamethe True Final Boss is a godlike entity who granted the protagonist and his Foil their Persona abilities as a part of a test of humanity. That said, rather than being disguised as a forgettable NPC, said god disguises themself as series Big GoodIgor, so it's partially subverted.
On a related note, the final dungeon's plot takes some cues from Persona 2 as well. A benevolent and malevolent god have a "game" going between them as to whether humanity is worth saving, and the malevolent one is rigging it in his favor. This sums up Philemon and Nyarlanthotep in 2, and Igor and Yaldabaoth is this game.
Likewise, Munehisa Iwai's design resembles early concept art for 4's Kanji Tatsumi.
Akechi was originally going to be an optional confidant, difficulty with implementing this due to him becoming an enemy later in the story forced Atlus to change it into an automatically progressing one. In the game's Updated Re-release, Akechi's confidant once again became optional.
Schedule Slip: Persona 5 was initially announced in November 2013 to have a Winter 2014 release on PlayStation 3 - just before winter rolled around, the game was delayed to late 2015, alongside the announcement the game would also be appearing on PlayStation 4. And once again, as the end of the year approached with Tokyo Game Show, there was another long delay to Summer 2016 - in short, approximately a year and a half after the game was initially set to release. Finally, on May 5, the game's Japanese release date was announced for September 15, 2016, while it would be releasing in the West on February 14th, 2017. However, as if that wasn't enough, the Western version was delayed again to April 4, 2017. This meant that since its reveal until the international release, Persona 5 took three years and five months for the entire world to play.
Teasing Creator: One of the earliest trailers was this, where the main character appeared to be the typical mild-mannered silent protagonist like the ones in the previous two games. This made the Phantom Thief reveal come straight out of left field.
Unused dialogue for Sae Niijima has her commenting on things such as the weather and having short quips such as saying Hello and Goodbye, much like the other confidants. Considering that she cannot be interacted with outside of the story until after her Palace, this heavily implies that she was going to be a regular Confidant rather than one scripted by the story like Morgana and Akechi. The biggest find is that there is unused dialogue that is very romantic in nature, indicating she was planned to be another love interest for Joker.
A lot of dummied content is present for Black Mask.
There are unused files in the game's code suggesting that Black Mask was going to return as a permanent party member. Akechi has voice clips in both Japanese and English for summoning Loki normally and code exists for him to be able to use it as a playable Persona instead of Robin Hood, and he also has a fully functional mouse form with voice clips despite not being playable while the mouse status condition can be encountered. He also has an animation intended to be used when the Protect confidant bonus activates, which is one of two teammate confidant bonuses he never gets in-game (the other being Second Awakening). In addition to all of these, there's dialogue for Morgana further hinting this: the first is an alternate set of dialogue after the first battle with Akechi, and the second is a set of clips where Morgana refers to him by his given name instead of Akechi. Due to the societal importance of naming in Japan and given that everyone refers to Goro Akechi by his last name, this bolsters the suggestion further.
As noted in What Could Have Been, Akechi was considered to be a regular Confidant before being turned into an automatic one for the final release. There's a full list of bonuses that his proposed Confidant would give aside from his battle commands, many of them having to do with enhancing negotiation (like Ann), or making talking to characters during daily life easier, such as highlighting dialogue options that aren't recommended.
There are remnants of this in the finished game. At Rank 2 of Akechi's confidant, it is mentioned that he would teach Joker how to make deductions. This is not followed up on in the game that was released, but it is a clue to the context of Akechi's Confidant bonuses had he been a regular Confidant.
Unused Shadow negotiation dialogue implies that Akechi was even meant to have a palace at some point. The dialogue has the shadows referring to him as Master Akechi and Lord Akechi, with another piece of dialogue implying his palace would have taken the form of a castle. This dialogue is placed between the negotiation dialogue for the Casino palace and Cruise Ship palace. An unused environment effect likely intended for this palace still exists, and if loaded over another location's environment effect in-game it will produce a thick fog over the area◊. Any other remnants of this palace appear to have been deleted.
A bit of dummied data is The Hero with a Bow, a book in Shujin's library for Akechi's initial Persona, Robin Hood, with its benefit being increasing Kindness. All of your other party members have a book on their initial Persona in the library available for reading after they join, with this one likely becoming available after Akechi joins. Many fans have noted that its lack of presence is one of the many red flags that note Akechi as the traitor.
Of note is that Black Mask would later become playable during the third term events of Persona 5 Royal alongside Loki, and The Hero with a Bow gets added to the Shujin Academy library upon Akechi initially joining the Thieves. His voice clips for summoning Loki are new recordings and not the unused ones found in Persona 5's data.
A ton of unused rooms for Kamoshida's Palace still remain in the game, with most of them being for the dungeon area, which only gets visited briefly in game. Adding to this is that the final game's models for Kamoshida's Palace still have unseen geometry likely linking them to these unused locations. One of these rooms ended up being used in Persona 5 Royal for one of the Will Seed rooms.
There's dialogue for an unused cutscene involving the thieves having to play Poker against Shadow Sae in the Casino Palace in order to proceed past the High Roller's floor.
There are some unused voice clips of the thieves complimenting the others in battle, just like in Persona 3 and 4. Some of these aforementioned quotes seem to be complimenting Futaba/Oracle as if she was directly in battle. Futaba also has unused voice lines for summoning Necronomicon and Prometheus, although these unused voice lines might have been intended for when she interferes with the battle as opposed to being concrete proof she was meant to be playable.
Joker has tons of miscellaneous voice lines that are unused in the final game, including what sounds like more level up and save quotes, quotes for dying in battle, him naming off the days of the week, complaining about the weather, questioning who's calling on his phone, considering what his plans are for the day, and loudly complaining in distress that something is sold out.
A slew of datamined images and dialogue suggests that reversing and breaking Confidants was going to be implemented in the game. There are fully formed inverted, red-tinted cards standing for reversed◊ and broken◊, along with text that tells you when your Confidant has entered a state of doubt or broken entirely. There's also text where your Confidants and party members get upset with you if you ignore them, with some expressing disappointment that lead to reversing/breaking the link.
A dummied-out cutscene for the beginning of Mishima's Confidant shows that, when the first rank is attained, Igor was supposed to appear near Joker and briefly tell him the importance of bonds. Similar dialogue for Igor exists, without cutscenes, for all other Confidants except Caroline and Justine, Akechi, Sae and Igor himself. In the final game, this is replaced with the "I am thou, thou art I" speech voiced by Lavenza.
Some notable miscellaneous unused images you can extract from the disc are some unused Security Meter Icons (one of Kamoshida's real self,note Which is impossible to see in-game, because the meter cannot be seen at all before meeting Shadow Kamoshida one of a more visible Shadow Futaba, and one of Wakaba herself), a slew of unused Mementos dialogue, and unused facial expressions of Akechi in his Black Mask costume. There's also data from older trailers of regular portraits of the Protagonist, like this one◊, in lieu of the cut-in used whenever you pick his dialogue in the final version.
Data for various Personas that appeared in past games but didn't make it into this one appear in the game's files. None have models or associated voice clips, but some have compendium entries. The identifiable unused Personas are Alraune, Ares, Alilat, Hachiman, Helel, Kartikeya, Masakado, Atavaka, Hitokoto-Nushi, Sati, and Yatsufusa. Both Alilat and Atavaka were later added to the roster in Royal.
Personas only obtainable through fusion cannot be encountered as enemies, yet they all have unique titles for being encountered when not unlocked in the compendium, as well as animations for being hit, dodging, downed, and recovering. While most, like Odin and Metatron, share animations with other Personas, others have completely unique movements, as seen with Alice's dodge◊ and approach◊, Yoshitsune's knockdown◊, and pretty much everything Cybele related◊.
Black Mask has two unused voice clips intended for when he uses skills he doesn't have in the game, with one of them being intended for an Ice skill and the other being intended for the skill Bloodbath. He still retains the passive Ice Boost skill in his move set for the final game despite lacking an Ice skill.
Hidden in the files for Royal are two trios of scenes that depict the backstories for Kamoshida and Madarame, which were meant to be played when you get their Will Seeds. Crossing over with the What Could Have Beens, this indicates that there were plans to do this for all the Palace rulers, backed up by the Depths of Mementos, the only Palace not ruled by a single person, being the only Palace to lack Will Seeds.
A leak from the Chinese version of Royal showed an alternate version of the Valentine's Day event, where As part of Maruki's perfect world, Joker is allowed to openly receive chocolate from every love interest in the game, including Sae.
There are voice clips for most of the party members and Confidants saying some variation of "Let me explain!" followed by "And that's it!" In the final game, only Sojiro uses these clips (and only "Let me explain!") when accompanied with the coffee descriptions.
Royal has a lot of unused content that heavily implies Kasumi was intended to have a larger role than she did in the final game:
During the period of the game where the Thieves' hideout is in Joker's bedroom in Royal, Kasumi has an unused animation involving her sitting on Joker's bed that can only be seen if the game is hacked to let her be in the party at that point. This implies she was meant to join the Thieves much earlier in the game.
Kasumi has an unused animation of her cheering the Thieves on before the battle with Yaldabaoth, which presumably would have played had her social link gotten to Rank 5 beforehand.
Royal's data has two unused Showtime attacks. One would have been between Morgana and Ryuji, and another would have involved Akechi; the latter is theorized to have been an Akechi/Kasumi attack on the basis that both characters are the only ones in the final game to have only one Showtime attack.
P5 was actually in development much earlier, with some work being done almost as soon as P4 came out in 2008-9... and then the Tohoku earthquake and nuclear accident happened. While the P5 team originally planned for the game's theme to be backpacking and world travel, they felt in the wake of the disaster that they needed to refocus on the issues facing Japanese society, which led to the massive Sequel Gap and the other delays on P5 itself (some JP info here and here). That said, parts of the original concept made into the game in the form of several of the Palaces (Futaba's in particular) and the school trip abroad and the concept as a whole was later reworked into Persona 5 Strikers.
Whatever exactly the relevance of the five chairs◊ in the initial teaser image is unclear - in the final game, chairs have nothing to do with anything - suggesting some sort of abandoned concept for the original direction the game would take.
A character design that was originally planned to be one of the Phantom Thieves and a playable party member, a radical strategist that served as a Foil to Makoto's more straightforward strategies, eventually became Hifumi Togo. Due to the lengthy game development, and how long the game already was that point, this character was removed and the design was repurposed for a Confidant instead. A number of people further suspect she was going to be "Queen" - Hifumi's even still called "Queen" in several places in her Confidant, and the role would make a ton of sense for her. When the Hifumi character was demoted, the role was instead mashed together with Makoto, leaving her as the sole strategist.
The Protagonist originally was not going to live above Sojiro's Coffee Shop, but instead live in the same apartment building as Makoto and Sae Niijima (which, among other things, might explain why the Niijimas have a relatively developed apartment "set", compared to many other homes barely being seen). It also explains why the apartment in which you begin the Temperance Confidant is completely unique and fully modeled, despite only appearing in a single scene; this was likely the protagonist's original apartment, re-purposed for that one scene.
Similarly, the school cafeteria was originally another place to hang out with Confidants (though likely limited to school-related characters). In-game, the cafeteria only appears in Rank 4 of Futaba's Confidant and in Kasumi's Confidant in Royal, with only the level of detail put into it serving as a hint to its original purpose, and Joker walks in front of its entrance during Kawakami's Confidant.
The Protagonist was originally envisioned to have the German Demon Mephistopheles as his Persona, but this ended up getting switched to Arsène to better fit the themes of the game.
The biggest change from early previews is the complete lack of the protagonist's "The Phantom" moniker. Despite the very first advertisements referring to him as such, at no point in the game is he called this, instead being referred to exclusively as "Joker".note It's also unlikely that his codename was originally "Phantom" only to be changed to "Joker" later, as "Joker" can be seen in a menu in the first trailer
The first trailer showcased the main area of Cafe LeBlanc as the initial base of operations, in the game proper, LeBlanc is the third Phantom Thief hideout after the school roof and accessway in Shibuya, and even then, it's Joker's room/the attic and not the downstairs area. Although, in a possible Development Gag, it does later serve as the fourth and final meeting place. In that scene, Morgana was also shown in his Metaverse form, implying that he was able to transform from anthropomorphic to a normal-looking cat at-will.
There is a scene in one of the trailers where the protagonist, Ann, Ryuji and Morgana were planning a heist on a desk, with a big paper drawn map scribbled over with marker. This no longer exists in the final game.
There's a scene in the first PV showing Joker, Ryuji, Ann, and Morgana chatting at a graffiti-laden overpass. Both the scene and area are nowhere to be found in the final game, though the overpass' similarities in design to the Shibuya accessway that serves as the Thieves' second hideout in the final game suggest it may have been redesigned.
In one of the early trailers, Futaba's "Final Guard" ability was called "Last Guardian". It's possible it was renamed due to the PS4 game of the same name.
The official art book revealed that certain characters underwent several design changes from their early concepts
Joker underwent several changes, one initial design pretty much wasprevious protagonist Yu Narukami with slightly longer hair, one design was close to his final look but with slicked back hair, one had rounder glasses and short, neat hair, and another had him extremely feminine to the point of androgyny. An early test video of the game had the protagonist wearing his uniform in a more unkempt style.
Yusuke had long brown hair he kept partially braided over his shoulder.
Ann's facial features were nailed down fairly early (being a Retool of a discarded concept for Rise Kujikawa), but her costume underwent huge revisions - the initial concepts riffed much more heavily off of Catwoman, with a gunmetal-grey catsuit with racing stripes, a headband with obvious cat ears and large, red glasses which were an obvious reference to the red goggles Catwoman wears in many of her modern appearances, like the Batman Arkham games. The same art also shows her using a scoped crossbow as her only weapon.
Makoto underwent a number of revisions - her thief outfit incorporated goggles a bit more like what Futaba would end up with as well as a large cloak-and-muffler that would cover her face below the nose; it was also she who was the katana user at this point. Most of her later sketches show her drifting more toward her final design, though still with somewhat softer features than the version that went to print, and she actually wore a standard Shujin outfit with the coat.
Futaba originally had black hair and more "emo"-looking attire. According to Soejima, her initial attire was considered to be too stereotypical for her character. He also notes that her hair is dyed.
Two of Akechi's initial designs were a more mature-looking young man and one that bore even more of a resemblance to Yu Narukami, respectively. Both of these concepts show he was supposed to be a Shujin Academy student. He was also considered to be siblings with Makoto at some point, and he was also supposed to be a regular Confidant.
Munehisa Iwai lacked his hat and had long shaggy black hair that would often hide his eyes. Concept art also had him smoking a cigarette, instead of the lollipop he has in the final version.
Sadayo Kawakami's initial design was almost identical to Sayako Uehara, the Nurse and Devil Social Link from P4.
Ichiko Ohya had a hairband holding her hair back and a large bandage on her forehead (which were probably meant to relate to her escapades with Kayo).
Sae had a few concepts, one that looked very much like Katherine with black hair, and an other had her smoking and wearing an eyepatch.
Shadow Sae'sStripperific black dress had an initial design that, while extremely similar to the final design, had noticeable differences. The initial design◊ had the dress hiked so high and neckline dipped so low that you could see her wearing what appeared to be a purple thong. The second design didn't have that problem, because it was transparent barring a few strategically place straps and it was blatantly obvious the dress was the ONLY thing she had on. There's no way that would make it past the censors so the dress was reworked into the version used in-game.
Kamoshida was a lot more sleazy looking, with Perma-Stubble and thinning hair, as well as lacking the build he had in the final game.
One of Madarame's concepts was a Bishōnen, closer to the age of the main cast rather than the old man he was in the final game.
The thief outfits were a lot more low-key; simply being their school uniforms with a mask, gloves and a scarf.
At another point, Ryuji had a clown mask, Ann's mask was a pair of heart-shaped sunglasses, and Joker's mask was also originally blue.
Shido's boss fight ended with him (or at least his shadow) suffering a Disney Villain Death. This was probably discarded when the narrative rules of the Metaverse were more firmly put in place.
Kamoshida's boss fight originally had him riding a chariot pulled by giant cognitive versions of the volleyball team.
Leviathan was fought in the Casino's battle arena. As noted in Dummied Out above, the Phantom Thieves were also supposed to play Poker on the High Roller's floor in order to proceed, but this was cut.
A number of eye cut-ins did not make it into the final game. While the majority of them are for the Shadow Selves of the villains, there's also a nefarious one of either Akechi or his Cognitive double with a maniacal smile on his face.
An early trailer showcased a section in Kamoshida's palace where the thieves were turned into mice and had to navigate around without alerting enemies. This puzzle was cut from there and moved to Shido's palace.
Shujin Academy was originally much larger and located right next to the real life Tokyo Tower landmark, rather than the in-universe replacement Sky Tree Tower. In the game's credits, Tokyo Tower is still given a special thanks.
The interior of Kamoshida's Castle looked more like a twisted, medieval version of the school rather than a medieval castle.
The seventh palace; Shido's Cruise Ship was almost hilariously over the top◊, in addition to it being much, much bigger than the final version. It had a giant ferris wheel, a roller coaster that went into the sky, a space shuttle launch pad, complete with rocket, and behind all of that was an entire city located at the back. It also took place at night, with Zeppelins patrolling the sky.
The Velvet Room was originally more fancy looking, with a large stained glass window, an aquarium and multiple floors. A revised design more resembled the version used in the final version but with a large guard dog by Igor's side and a singular, adult warden as opposed to Caroline and Justine.
Some datamined textures for Yaldabaoth was internally referred to as "metathron". While the exact reason for this is not known, it would suggest that the design was originally supposed to be Metatron before being changed to fit with the Gnostic themes (note that Yaldabaoth has a "robotic angel" design just like Metatron has always had in the Shin Megami Tensei series). This could also explain why Metatron does not appear with the angels in the final area before your battle with Yaldabaoth. In the finished game, Metatron is instead the ultimate persona of the Justice arcana and cannot be fought as an enemy anywhere in the base game, although he does appear at one point in Royal's challenge battles.
Morgana was originally going to turn into a sports car instead of a van. This idea was abandoned because a sports car wouldn't have been able to fit the entire team in it.
Unused text strings found in the game's code suggests that social link reversal and breakage were supposed to return, only worse. Here, not only would breaking social links would bar you from fusing Personas of their respective arcana, but you permanently lose the abilities you've gained from their progressing their links. Luckily it didn't make it into the final game. In the final game, links can no longer be reversed or broken.
An early trailer had a scene of Joker riding the subway and the train violently shakes after another speeds past it, implying that the train crash was supposed to happen on his first day of school.
The first few trailers and some Dummied Out pieces of information showed that the Phantom Thieves could go to Palaces/Mementos at night. This was changed in the final product to being only doable during the day.
Various pieces of Dummied Out content suggest that the game was going to have more stealth moments in order to handle the Targets. For example, Kamoshida originally was supposed to send the volleyball team after you to detain you, requiring Joker to stealthily escape the school or else be forced to waste an afternoon. Another was that you would have needed a disguise in order to get close to Madarame. Ultimately these were removed late in development.
Several pieces of concept art for Violet depict her with brown hair instead of red, heavily implying that the real Kasumi would have been a party member while Sumire would have died instead, rather than it being the other way around.
Type AB: Futaba, AkechiNote Interestingly, both of them specifically have AB Negative blood. Futaba's was noted in the art book, while Akechi's was noted in the Maniax book. Even more interesting is how said blood type only exists in 0.05% of the Japanese population