After five years of development, Atlus Games Persona 5 delivered two things to the RPG community on May 5th. One was a brand-new trailer that gave glimpses of new characters, the gameplay, and the streets of Tokyo. The other was a set release date of September 15th in Japan. While there’s no word yet on a release date for everyone else in the world, the hope is with one release announced the other is sure to be announced soon.
For those unfamiliar with the Persona series, the games follow this basic premise; a group of teenage friends attend high school by day and go on adventures fighting monsters called Shadows by night with summoned creatures called Persona. While Persona 2 broke with this slightly (some of the characters from the first game returned, all in their 20s at this point), for the most part, this holds true for the series. The themes of each game also differ. Persona 3 had its young protagonists grapple with death and the emotions that surround it — our fear of dying, our grief, but also acceptance of loss as part of life. Persona 4’s cast struggled with the theme of truth — as teens, we often struggle with our sense of identity and learning to accept ourselves regardless of outside opinions. The Persona each of the characters summon usually reflect something about the character’s personality and connection to the overarching narrative.
From what’s been released so far, Persona 5 aims to discuss breaking free of societal rules. The teens, this time, form a group called the “Phantom Thieves of Hearts”, everyone wears masks to conceal their identities, and even the game’s UI labels certain actions as criminal activities.
The player character’s signature Persona is named Arsène, after the fictional character Arsène Lupin. Presently, it’s too soon to tell what their thievery will do to affect the plot, or stop the Shadows invading the world this time. Though, like previous installments, at some point their antics will likely become gravely important to the fate of the world at large.
More news from Atlus should be arriving at this summer’s E3 so be sure to watch this space for updates, or hey, why not check out the previous titles if you’ve never given them a chance before until then?