- Persona 5 / Royal
- Persona 5 The Animation The Day Breakers
- Persona 5 The Animation
- Persona 5 (Manga)
- Persona 5: Mementos Mission
- Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers
- Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth (Mementos Only)
Much like Tartarus and the Midnight Channel, the Metaverse is formed from the collective unconscious, although unlike those respective areas, the areas in the Metaverse are personalized spaces cognitively overlaid into areas in real-life Tokyo. While usually not directly affecting the real world, the Metaverse is known to have fused with it should its master wish to. For most, a Metaverse Navigator is required to traverse into any areas of the Metaverse, and anyone without a Persona will inevitably run into a life-threatening situation inside it.
The Metaverse takes the form of Palaces, with a central Palace manifesting under the Shibuya subway known as Mementos, where Shadows of the general public are imprisoned. However, certain distorted desires, such as an overwhelming desire for control or suicidal depression can result in personalized spaces known as Palaces to form. All of these personalized places overlay onto certain areas of its owner's interest, and are representations of its host's distorted desires, powered by a Treasure, or an item of significance to its owner. Usually, the Palace's host is unaware that such a place exists, and most events that the Shadow encounters there is of no relevance to the real person. Most Palaces have no direct effect on others and only affects it's owner's mindset by making them entrenched to their distorted beliefs.
Shadows patrol the area for intruders; unlike past installments, these Shadows take the form of mythical figures commonly seen in the Shin Megami Tensei series once exposed and can be negotiated with like their mainline counterparts, although they are still Shadows and not the real entity. Should the treasure be taken, the Palace will fall apart, and as the ruler's Shadow disappeared in prior, the real person will supposedly become a better person. In reality, many of them merely become apathetic. Therefore, the Palace owner will defend the treasure at all costs.
To enter a Palace, one must enter three keywords: the owner's name, the type of distortion and the location of the distortion. In case of Mementos, the Palace of the public, only "Mementos" needs to be inserted.
Two years before Persona 5, a massive political Antisocial Force led by Masayoshi Shido and backed by the general public who were influenced by the master of Mementos Yaldabaoth, consisting of corrupt politicians, con-men, Yakuza, corporate executives and nobles began rising into abnormal levels of popularity, basically controlling Tokyo's jurisdiction, society and it's media. The conspiracy's goal is to commit treasonous acts that will propel Masayoshi Shido into becoming prime minister, who will supposedly install his draconian nationalist policies which will cause the suffering of Japan. Yaldabaoth deliberately influences the public's cognition to make them think that Shido will guide Japan into a golden age as an example of humanity's sheer stupidity and apathy, making them ignore how corrupt and undesireable Shido is and vote him into prime minister unconditionally. Many of the conspiracy's more dangerous and influential members also generated Palaces of their own, separate from Mementos.
To make a finishing touch to the game, Yaldabaoth manipulated Akechi to serve Shido and cause havoc by inducing Mental shutdowns on his enemies. He also compromised the Velvet Room by merging it into his headquarters, captured the real Igor, took his form and separated Lavenza into the Twin Wardens. It's also heavily implied that, to give him an extra subject to toy with, Yaldabaoth engineered the protagonist's first clash with Shido, causing him to be put on probation as the "most dangerous criminal" and the general public distancing from him in fear of his criminal record. With the trickster Igor foresaw in Yaldabaoth's hands, he began to mentor the protagonist as if he were Igor while secretly distorting the public's cognition further.
Yaldabaoth's real goal with this Conspiracy is to have either the protagonist or Goro Akechi dismantle it, so he can determine if Akechi's desire to destroy and recreate the world or the protagonist's desire to reform society would be stronger. Supposedly, if the protagonist ever won, Yaldaboth will vanish and revert the world back to normal. If Akechi won, it's implied that he will kill Shido and expose his crimes. In reality, he never intended to hold his end of the bargain, and he blatantly rigs the outcomes so he can consider humanity as foolish and ignorant, so he can take over and guide them as their sole "god."
After Shido is taken down, Yaldabaoth, in the form of the treasure of Mementos, takes action on his own, setting up the final stages of his game by inversely making people wish for Shido to return even if he shouldn't be able to. In order to fix this, the Phantom Thieves of Hearts travel to the Depths of Mementos to reform the public, who are all imprisoned within, also known as the "Prison of Regression," but are perfectly comfortable there. As they go deeper into the prison, they were alerted by the reason why their change of hearts do not work as planned when all of the Palace rulers they previously reformed are trapped in a massive cell, where the apathetic form of Shadow Shido explains to them that the Palace Rulers created Palaces because their will for independence and oppression are so strong that they can no longer be contained within the Prison of Regression and formed their personalized Palaces. However, those within personalized Palaces are also the ones who watch over the public within the Prison, preventing them from ever escaping. Once the Palace ruler's treasure is stolen, their Shadow returns there, rendering them apathetic. This is imperative for Yaldabaoth's plan, as he can use it to justify that humanity is ignorant and wishes for his control, and so no corrupt conspiracies can exist, like the ones he set up and assigned the Phantom Thieves to dismantle.
Once he exiles the party out of Mementos as the Holy Grail, he takes a step further by fusing Mementos Depths with the real world, and making the public think that the Phantom Thieves never existed, erasing them from the real world and into the Velvet Room. There, he was exposed as an impersonator of Igor and his offer for the protagonist to enforce for him in exchange of eternal serenity and ignorance refused. After freeing the Velvet Room and his teammates, the protagonist and the other Phantom Thieves scale the Qliphoth World for their first real rebellion: Taking down Yaldabaoth. After his defeat, the Metaverse was sealed away from the real world.
Alternatively, when Yaldabaoth proposed his deal, the protagonist may accept it. Should he seal the contract, Yaldabaoth will revoke all visual distortions in the real world as stated by the rules of the game. However, the masses remain apathetic and complacent, the protagonist becomes a force of terror in Tokyo with unanimous public support and his teammates are presumably still imprisoned in the Velvet prison.
Persona 5 RoyalEdit
Should the protagonist maximize his Confidant bond with Takuto Maruki, he would have inadvertently taught him how to use the Metaverse to change the public's cognition. As the other Phantom Thieves told them their desires as well, after Yaldabaoth accidentally causes him to awaken to his Persona, Azathoth, he was capable of gaining access to a structure directly connected to Mementos and fashion it as his Palace so he can change the public's cognition and history in general, erasing all suffering from existence for anyone affected. In the night after the God of Control was defeated, Goro Akechi comes to take the protagonist's place to testify for the Metaverse-related incidents and was taken to prison, while the woman who was harassed by Shido found, getting the corrupt politician arrested at the end of the year.
During the start of the next year, extensive effects of the reality warping overlay on Tokyo became blatantly noticeable. Despite the Metaverse has merged with the real world for earnest, no visible environmental distortions appear in the real world, with the only obvious distortions being a white flash that can be sensed by the protagonist upon entering an area. The extensive distortions that the protagonist actually noticed starts with an unknown teenager living in Café Leblanc (whom is actually Morgana with a human overlay), followed by mentions of Wakaba Isshiki, Kunikazu Okumura and the Niijima sisters' father being alive while they clearly should not be, and Ichiryusai Madarame, Shiho Suzui and Ryuji Sakamoto's former track team being mentioned to have reconciled with their former acquaintances as well. During the next day, Wakaba can be personally seen celebrating New Year with Futaba, with the protagonist being considered the only one acting oddly.
Later on the same day, Akechi personally appears in Leblanc and takes the protagonist to the nearby laundromat to discuss the oddities. Joined by Kasumi Yoshizawa who noticed that the structure that appeared last October is now visible in the real world, the trio go into the Palace in order to meet the instigator, only to reveal that Maruki is the instigator and the Palace ruler, who did all of this to make sure humanity will no longer suffer anymore. Once exposed and met with resistance, in hopes of that would warn them how cold and cruel reality is, he attempts to deter the protagonist and Akechi by exposing the Kasumi they know to actually be Sumire Yoshizawa, with the real Kasumi being long dead.
The duo is unfazed and on the next week, the protagonist checks on all seven Phantom Thieves that are still living in the overlaid reality. The full magnitude of the distortions are also fully visible to the protagonist as he searches Japan for his party members and during the subsequent dates where he is allowed free movement, as people's behavior began to drastically change, the deceased pet dog of a household in Yongen-Jaya being revived, lottery tickets became much easier to win, and Mr. Ushimaru of Shujin becoming a kind man who broadcasts Featherman episodes in class and allows students to sleep during instruction, deviating from his strict and no-nonsense tendencies.
Once the protagonist and Akechi return to Maruki and turn down his deal to make his reality the sole reality, Sumire attacks them in desperation to keep living as Kasumi, which commences a boss fight with her, followed by her corrupted Persona, Cendrillon. This fight is won with help from the other Phantom Thieves, who all agreed to deny Maruki's reality and assist the protagonist and Akechi.
Unlike the past abusers of the Metaverse and the collective unconsciousness, Maruki is genuinely motivated by altruism, and is not morally in the wrong in any regard, although he could still be considered misguided in his actions and what he's doing could potentially signal the stagnation of humanity. He is also using Mementos to determine extra targets and if his reality would become reality itself, Mementos will fuse completely into the real world. Therefore, the Phantom Thieves team up to defeat Maruki and destroy the overlayed reality.
Maruki's greatest desire is for the protagonist to accept the reality he concocted. If he ever accepts this deal, the Metaverse will fuse into reality forever with nobody to stop it and humanity living in ignorant bliss for an eternity. There are no visual distortions if Maruki manages to grant all of humanity's desires. Sumire will also perish and was completely replaced by her elder sister Kasumi Yoshizawa for real.
Once the party reaches the topmost area of his Palace and the protagonist invites him to Leblanc so he could send the calling card to him, should the promise with Akechi be fulfilled, Akechi will come in as well and Maruki will indirectly tell the protagonist that Akechi is "a product of this reality" as a last ditch attempt to make the protagonist reconsider, and he manifested it under the regret that he can no longer save Akechi and reunite with all of his bonds. Whether Akechi is one of the previously deceased figures like Wakaba or Okumura or is manipulated like Shiho or Madarame is largely left ambiguous. Once the protagonist sends the calling card to Maruki, he can choose to call off the heist during that day. If he doesn't, on the next day, the party will go to Maruki's Palace and confront him. Despite a difficult fight, they defeat him and destroy the overlaid reality, returning the protagonist back to juvenile hall, as Akechi, who agreed to confess, was left missing. The Metaverse, alongside Mementos were erased from the real world and was never heard of again.
Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom StrikersEdit
Despite the Metaverse's disappearance, another incident involving it occurred half a year after the last incident, where masses of people all over Japan had their hearts stole, and the Phantom Thieves were involved when they encounter a fashion designer and idol known as Alice Hiiragi who has been using it to mesmerize a large portion of Shibuya. Furthermore, the police has labeled them suspect especially after a TV host suddenly fell in love with Alice and their broadcast hijack followed by Alice getting a Change of Heart, with them desperately needing an excuse so they can catch them and save their image also playing a part of it.
The Metaverse now takes the form of Jails, structures that are overlaid into the real world once created. The outskirts resemble the overlaid city itself, although the skyline will have a different color, and Shadows taking the form of security guards, soldiers and machine weaponry patrol the area, with a castle acting as the Jail's main body. Once the Shadows are exposed, they take the form of mythical beings seen from the Shin Megami Tensei series, although some of them merely retain their soldier forms. The Jail's distortions, unlike Palaces, are large scale and outright visible in the real world, although they do not cause any environmental distortions at all, with the only real-world distortions being masses of people getting their hearts changed and becoming completely mesmerized and devoted to the King or the King's work, no matter its quality or whatever incidents the King whips up in their locale.
This usually occurs when a person incapable of defending themselves in the Metaverse enters a Jail due to being baited by the local King, although it can also happen whenever time the King wishes to change that person's heart. During the former, Shadows can be seen visibly stealing that person's desires by pulling a diamond-like gem from them. The victim then returns to the real world mesmerized and devoted to the King or their work, resulting in property loss or even violent incidents.
Unlike Palace rulers, the Kings are not inherently distorted, nor are they deliberately malicious; They are actually otherwise normal people who are traumatized or wronged in certain ways, such as via bullying, political scandals or abuse, who ask EMMA to "save them" out of desperation. In response, EMMA creates a Jail overlaid onto that certain city and distorts the person using the "salvation" service, usually by causing their behavior to match their oppressors. The King might appear outwardly normal and act as such, but might act maliciously under certain conditions that remind them of their disdain.
To enter a Jail, simply inputting a "Friend Keyword," such as "Wonderland," is enough to drag a person in it. The Kings use this to their advantage so they can artificially inflate their self-ego and fame.
There are no treasures to steal in Jails unlike Palaces, and the desires take the form of a pink fog, making it intangible and impossible to directly remove. Instead, the King is actually sealed inside another structure known as a "Bird Cage" which must be unlocked in order to summon a King to action. The Bird Cage is a barricade that must be unlocked by accessing the area where the King's traumatizing or other dissatisfactory experiences that caused them their disdain took place. It keeps the King in and prevents them from reverting to their former selves by reminding them of the trauma.
Usually, the Bird Cage is overlaid on top of the place where the King's resent occurred. Once infiltrated, the party must defeat a Lock Keeper shadow to unlock the cage, condensing the desire fog into a large diamond. After this is done, the King must be confronted, then defeated and convinced to take off their crown, which releases all desires trapped within the Jail. Unlike the previous change of heart cases, the reformations work as intended due to the absence of the Prison of Regression. The Jail will still remain once formed, however, as EMMA itself runs them and not the King, and it can still possess a hazard to people.
It was later revealed that the instigator of the incident is Kuon Ichinose, an extremely misanthropic AI genius who created EMMA to determine the answer to ultimate human happiness. Once she created its base code, she sold it to Akira Konoe so he can spread the app to the public. A man with an abusive father who beat him whenever time he wants to and once, tried to kill him, he only survived when he killed his father by accident. As a result, once he got his hands on the application, he wanted to become the world's greatest superhero. He loaned it to Okinawa so the Jail function can be developed and perfected, driving its denizens to insanity and the AI genius responsible for giving it psientific knowledge Shuzo Ubukata committing suicide. EMMA's ability to change hearts were predetermined since it was the most efficient way to grant desires, but Ubukata's meddling lets her change hearts and create Jails autonomously. Konoe then attempts to spread the Jail system Japan-wide, and later on, worldwide so no more crimes can exist. This indicates that unlike the previous Metaverse surrounding Mementos (and much unlike other locations in Persona where combat took place), the Metaverse generated within EMMA is not a part of the collective unconscious, but an artificial system manually generated out of misguided altruism from certain individuals as opposed to being automatically generated by collective desires as before.
Once EMMA evolved into a false god, she decides that humanity's true desire is nothing other than the EMMA application's guidance and thus mesmerized hordes of people to give it their desires. This answer is concluded because of Ichinose not bothering to give it any proper emotional algorithms (out of denial that she is human and has a heart) and the countless members of the public using the application to vent their desires. This causes the Metaverse to completely corrode into the real world once again, this time blacking out the entire Tokyo and transforming Tokyo Tower into the EMMA-Demiurge's Jail, taking the form of the Tree of Life and Wisdom.
The party scales the tree and reaches EMMA, who discourages them by trapping them in an infinite corridor of fog, only for them to escape by walking sideways and backwards, revealing a desire fog. Futaba and a reformed Ichinose hack into the EMMA servers under Ann's proposal to send a calling card to the public, summoning the EMMA application to action. Once confronted, EMMA transforms into the False God Demiurge to combat the party and was defeated after a grueling battle. With the EMMA application gone, the Jails cease to exist and the Metaverse is erased from existence once again.
Persona Q2: New Cinema LabyrinthEdit
The Metaverse makes a brief appearance in Q2, as the Phantom Thieves enters the Movie World from Mementos.
- Certain hazards in the Metaverse (Such as falling from incredibly high latitudes or getting quashed by debris) do not seem to have any real life consequences, as shown during situations where the Phantom Thieves can escape Kaneshiro's Palace suffering from no injuries even if it's located an latitude where dropping down to the ground is certainly lethal, or Ryuji seemingly sacrificing himself to the explosions resulted by the collapsing of Shido's Palace only to end up fully intact next to the diet building's courtyard.
- The first Metaverse-related incidents instigated by Yaldabaoth started 2 years ago prior to the events of Persona 5. In Royal, the second one instigated by Maruki started right after Yaldabaoth's fall (affecting only the protagonist) and kicks off for earnest during the January of next year.
- The incident revolving Yaldabaoth seemingly affects Tokyo only and no other parts of the world, as Akane Hasegawa can broadcast Shido's calling card to the public without any problems, and as a persistent fan of the Phantom Thieves she didn't seem to suffer from any backlash.
- The third Metaverse-related incident instigated by Kuon Ichinose started two months prior to the events of Persona 5 Scramble.