"You are a slave. Want emancipation?"
Persona 5 is a fantasy based on reality which follows a group of troubled high school students: the protagonist and a collection of compatriots he meets along the way. These disturbed and troubled teenagers gradually realize that they are living in a toxic and dangerous world resembling a prison full of slavery, oppression and injustice, ruled by corrupted and twisted adults. They can't live with the system and can't live without it, and simply existing means they are at risk of being doomed and condemned to a life of slavery.
In order to seek freedom, liberation and justice, they live dual lives as rebellious Phantom Thieves of Hearts. Using a mysterious smartphone app, they undertake fantastical adventures by using otherworldly powers to enter the hearts of people (specifically, corrupt adults in positions of power) in order to re-shape and transform them. The Phantom Thieves realize that society forces people to wear masks to protect their inner vulnerabilities, and by confronting their inner selves and by literally ripping off their protective mask do the heroes awaken their inner power, using it to help those in need. Ultimately, the group of Phantom Thieves seeks to change their day-to-day world to match their perception, end slavery and see through the masks modern society wears.
The game takes place in 20XX. However, Rise Kujikawa, a character who is 15 in Persona 4, which is set in 2011, makes an appearance in Persona 5 at the age of 20. This is supported by the in-game calendar matching the actual 2016 calendar.
An enhanced version, titled Persona 5 Royal, is releasing on PlayStation 4 on October 31, 2019 in Japan and worldwide on March 31, 2020. It includes many new features, including a new main character, battle mechanics, and a third semester added to the main story.
At the start of the game, the protagonist is seen infiltrating a casino with his teammates. Police begin to swarm the casino and the protagonist attempts to make an escape by a path at the ceiling with his teammate's assistance. Eventually, he reaches the other side of the casino and one of the guards reveals themselves to be a Shadow which bursts into Moloch to attack him. He defeats the Shadow and escapes the casino, where he is outnumbered, subdued and arrested by the police.
He then is bought to the interrogation room in the police station where the officers drug him, beat him and asked him to sign his name for a false confession. They then bring him to the interrogation room, where the prosecutor Sae Niijima asks him about the events of the year. For most of the game, he is testifying the events for her in the interrogation room, and his testimonies might overturn the seemingly hopeless situation or cause his demise.
The story focuses on the 16-year-old protagonist after he is transferred to Shujin Academy in Tokyo, Japan, after he is put on probation after confronting a man harassing a woman, and subsequently being detained by the police because of the injuries he's inflicted on that man. In Tokyo, he stays with his parents' friend Sojiro Sakura who owns a coffee shop called Cafe Leblanc, where he lets the protagonist stay in an upstairs apartment. That night, in his dreams he appears in the Velvet Room, where he is also on probation set by Igor and his two wardens Caroline and Justine.
On his first day headed to Shujin, the protagonist meets his classmate Ann Takamaki, who gets a ride to the school, and problem student Ryuji Sakamoto who helps him find his way to the school. However, after Ryuji complains about the physical education teacher Suguru Kamoshida who is the man who gave Ann a ride, he and the protagonist accidentally activate a mysterious app on the protagonist's phone, sending them to a castle full of hideous monsters. Just as they are about to be executed by someone identical to Mr. Kamoshida, the protagonist awakens to his Persona Arsene, saving them from death at the hands of Kamoshida's Shadow minions. In this castle, they also encounter a talking, cat-like creature who calls himself Morgana, who they settle a deal with, helping one another in the process. He teaches them about the nature of the Metaverse, ranging from Palaces, Personas (his own being Zorro) and Shadows; in addition, he joins the protagonist in the real world disguised as an ordinary housecat.
Over the next few days, while trying to adjust to life as a student and going into the Palace with Ryuji who obtains his own Persona Captain Kidd as well, they're taught that the Palaces are the representation of the distorted desires of the people around them, and the only way to get rid of a Palace is to steal its owners hidden treasure, changing their heart in the process. Though the risk of causing a mental shutdown within the user, or erasing their desire to live causes them to hesitate, this reaches a level of urgency when the protagonist and Ryuji's attempts to reveal that Kamoshida has been physically and sexually abusing students in his role as volleyball coach result in him threatening to expel them and fellow student Yuuki Mishima (who Kamoshida recruited to spread rumors about the protagonist) from the school.
They are soon joined by Ann, who is accidentally drawn into the Metaverse with them and discovers the truth about Kamoshida's true personality after witnessing her friend Shiho Suzui attempt suicide due to Kamoshida's advances, gaining the Persona Carmen as well. The group soon names themselves the "Phantom Thieves of Hearts" during their quest to steal the treasure from Kamoshida's Palace, leaving a calling card to prove their existence to cause the treasure to manifest, and ultimately preventing the protagonist and Ryuji's expulsion from school when Kamoshida admits guilt in his abuse of the students.
The three kids also promise to help Morgana with his own quest: to investigate the depths of Mementos, the collective unconscious of society, to recover his lost memories and discover his origins. Meanwhile, Mishima promises the protagonist that he will make up for his mistakes in helping Kamoshida by opening a Phantom Thieves fansite, as he has surmised that the protagonist is responsible for the change of heart, allowing the public to air possible grievances linked to people's Shadow selves becoming distorted.
While investigating Mementos, the team discovers one Shadow self who has his own problems with his former art mentor Ichiryusai Madarame. They are soon tangled in this web when Ann is approached by Madarame's current pupil Yusuke Kitagawa who wishes Ann to model for him. They discover that Madarame has been plagiarizing his students' work for his own personal gain, and decide to try to get this information out of Yusuke to no avail, but they do discover Madarame's Palace, a massive art museum displaying all of his students as his previous "works of art." In their ploy to reach the treasure, Ann agrees to model for Yusuke while Morgana attempts to pick a lock on a door in the real world, ultimately revealing the truth about Madarame to Yusuke. Ann and Morgana panic when Madarame threatens to call the cops, traveling to the Palace and taking Yusuke along with them, where he confronts the Shadow Madarame who reveals his own part in the death of Yusuke's mother and he awakens to his own Persona Goemon. After stealing the treasure and defeating Madarame's Shadow, the real Madarame publicly apologizes for his plagiarism, and Yusuke joins the Phantom Thieves, seeking to develop his own art style in the wake of being abused for so many years. A few days later, teen celebrity Goro Akechi appears on TV, denouncing the Phantom Thieves as criminals who tamper with people's hearts.
During this time, Shujin student council president Makoto Niijima has been pressured by the school principal Kobayakawa to seek out the identities of the Phantom Thieves to assist the police, unaware that the principal has ulterior motives. She successfully deduces that the protagonist, Ryuji, Ann and Yusuke are the Phantom Thieves in question, and demands that they help her uncover a criminal ring shaking down students. The protagonist uses his connections to discover the crime ring is lead by Junya Kaneshiro, but their inability to solve the problem leads to her confronting Kaneshiro herself, putting all of them in trouble when he attempts to blackmail them for millions of yen. However, this allows them to discover the nature of Kaneshiro's Palace being a bank covering Shibuya, and Makoto's disgust at the nature of Kaneshiro's actions and her own perceived ineptitude at solving the problem awakens her Persona Johanna. With Makoto's help as a strategist for the Phantom Thieves, they successfully steal Kaneshiro's treasure, freeing them from his blackmail and leading to his arrest.
Over summer vacation, the Phantom Thieves are taunted by the hacker collective Medjed when they are suddenly approached by another mysterious hacker named "Alibaba" who wants them to steal a heart: their own. Alibaba's actions lead them to discover that Alibaba is none other than Futaba Sakura, Sojiro's adoptive daughter who has become a shut-in after the trauma of witnessing her own mother's death and being blamed for it by her mother's co-workers. In Futaba's Palace, which represents a "tomb" she feels trapped in, they discover that Futaba wants her treasure stolen in order to free herself of her suicidal thoughts and her guilt towards her mother's death. When Futaba discovers she too can enter her own Palace, she is confronted by her own Shadow while the Phantom Thieves face off against her cognitive view of her mother Wakaba Isshiki who has become a monstrous beast in her mind. When Futaba finally accepts that she is not at fault for her mother's death, her Shadow transforms into the Persona Necronomicon, allowing her to help the Phantom Thieves turn the tide in battle against the monster, and successfully changing her heart and freeing her of her guilt. The Phantom Thieves also discover that Wakaba was researching cognitive psience, which has some connection to their ability to enter the Metaverse.
As summer vacation winds down and Futaba spends her first day outside, the Phantom Thieves question the popularity of one target on their website: fast food CEO Kunikazu Okumura. Before they leave on their school trip to Hawaii, Principal Kobayakawa mysteriously dies en route to the police, forcing several third-year students to act as chaperones so other teachers can stay behind and respond to police inquiries. Meanwhile, Morgana has lost heart on whether he's human or not, thinking it's better that he stayed with the Phantom Thieves, considering it's the only place left for him to belong. However, his identity and lack of contributions makes him feel insignificant and potentially unbelonging within the team. When the team returns to Tokyo, during their meeting on Okumura, a misunderstanding sparks an argument between Morgana and the others, with Morgana's insecurities and fears not to lose his only place to belong ultimately leading to him leaving the group in order to prove himself, asserting he'll catch the supposed culprit behind the mental shutdowns all by himself. Worried about him, the Phantom Thieves investigate Okumura's Palace, which resembles a space station. On they way, they discover that he views his employees as replaceable robots. Although this spurs them to infiltrate the palace, they discover Morgana has taken a new Phantom Thief under his wing who is able to get through the Palace's biometric scanners, and the next day they discover she is none other than Okumura's own daughter Haru Okumura, who claims to also want to change her father's heart to end his mistreatment of his employees. However, that's only a superficial reason, as she's only spurred by her father's selfish attempts to use her for his own means by arranging a marriage to Sugimura, the son of an influential politician. Eventually, the ill-feelings between Morgana and the others are mended through their shared desire to help Haru after being confronted by her abusive fiance. Additionally, with Haru encourages Morgana to overcome his fears of being a burden to his friends, allowing himself to rejoin the Phantom Thieves. Haru joins the team as well, later awakening her Persona Milady when confronting the cognitive version of Sugimura in her father's palace.
Together, the Phantom Thieves manage to steal Okumura's treasure and give him a change of heart, but after they leave his Shadow behind, another person appears in the Palace and kills Okumura's Shadow. While the Phantom Thieves celebrate Haru's success at Tokyo Destinyland, they watch in horror as Mr. Okumura dies on live television after suffering a mental shutdown.
During the ensuing investigation, Haru overhears that principal Kobayakawa also received a calling card, leading her to question if the Phantom Thieves were behind the principal's death as well, which they all know is not the truth. The turn of events has also boosted Akechi's popularity, leading the school to request he visit them for the cultural festival. During a speech, Akechi reveals he has surmised the identities of the Phantom Thieves, but before he announces this he receives a call, and asks the gang to speak to him in private. He reveals to them all that he has identified them as the Phantom Thieves, and even has a photograph of them entering the Metaverse. But he has also deduced that they cannot be responsible for the murders and mental shutdowns, because he too has entered the Metaverse and encountered the true culprit, only surviving because he obtained his Persona Robin Hood to defend himself. He convinces them to infiltrate the palace of public prosecutor Sae Niijima, Makoto's sister, because he has discovered that she has had her sense of justice twisted to the point that she needs a change of heart and will falsely convict someone of being the Phantom Thieves without their intervention.
Inside Niijima's Palace, which has turned the district courthouse into a rigged casino, they discover the source of her twisted desire to obtain a guilty verdict no matter the cost, and successfully defeat her Shadow self and convinced her to change her ways, when suddenly the Palace is infiltrated by dozens of real police officers. The protagonist agrees to go off on his own to distract the cops, allowing his friends to go free, when he is captured and told one of his teammates has sold him out.
In police custody, the protagonist is drugged, beaten and forced to sign a false confession, when Sae comes into his cell to interrogate him, which has been seen in a series of flash-forwards since the protagonist began his probation in Tokyo. This brings the game back to where it belonged at the start and concludes it. Depending on how the protagonist responds to Sae's questioning, he either reveals the names of his friends and accomplices, leading to a "bad ending" where he is assassinated by the traitor, or the drugs begin to wear off and he remembers the truth, convincing Sae to take his cellphone and show it to Akechi on the way out of the interrogation cell. After Sae leaves, and she passes Akechi in the hallway, Akechi speaks to the protagonist himself, taking the guard's gun and murdering the guard and the protagonist, later calling his superior Masayoshi Shido that he has succeeded in his task. If the protagonist was successful in convincing Sae of the truth, she does show Akechi the phone, and receives instructions from "Alibaba" on the other end to do as she says. The next day, the news announces that the leader of the Phantom Thieves has apparently committed suicide in custody, but the rest of the gang seems to know the truth.
They all meet at Leblanc days later, where it is revealed that the protagonist is alive and well. They never stole Sae's treasure, allowing Makoto to convince Shadow Sae to create a cognitive copy of the interrogation room, the protagonist and his guard in the Metaverse, as the Palace extended to the police station. They had all discovered Akechi had been conspiring against them from the start, after Morgana recalled Akechi had heard him speak months earlier at the TV station, when only people who have heard him speak in the Metaverse can hear him as a cat in reality. With Sojiro and Sae's help, the Phantom Thieves realize that they have been manipulated by Masayoshi Shido from the start, as he has been conspiring to use the Phantom Thieves to bolster his popularity among people to become Prime Minister, and he has been using Wakaba Isshiki's research on cognitive psience to manipulate the Metaverse to his own ends as well. Indeed, all of the other Palaces they had infiltrated had some sort of direct connection to Shido's plans: Principal Kobayakawa knowingly let Kamoshida abuse students and tried to use Makoto to silence the controversy surrounding the school, Madarame's plagiarized art helped fund Shido as did Kaneshiro's blackmail schemes, the Medjed impersonator was one of Shido's cronies who intended to admit defeat on the day of the cleanse in order to bolster the Phantom Thieves' popularity (Futaba's hacking into them was an unexpected event, but was ignored as it worked in their favor), and Okumura was a party to the conspiracy, using it to further himself until he became a liability, leading to the hacking of the Phantom Thieves fansite to push Okumura to the top of their rankings so that the Conspiracy could frame them for his murder.
A confrontation with Shido later leads the protagonist to remember that Shido is the one who led to his false arrest earlier in the year, all as part of his attempts to keep his record spotless and win the election to Prime Minister of Japan with no opposition. After realizing that he sees the Shido's Palace to find a cruise ship sailing through a sinking Tokyo where they confront Cognitive beings who Shido has managed to turn into powerful Shadows to protect him.as a ship he must steer, the Phantom Thieves infiltrate
Once they defeat these five men, they are confronted by Akechi who has realized that the protagonist never died. He fights the Phantom Thieves, revealing his innate power to drive people's hearts mad, and admitting that he is the one behind all of the mental shutdown incidents before. This is all part of his plan to get Shido into power and then hold power over him when he reveals to the new Prime Minister that he is his bastard son, all in revenge for driving his mother to suicide. When he is finally defeated by the Phantom Thieves, he drives his own heart mad and summons another Persona Loki to battle them once more.
After they successfully defeat him again, Shido's cognitive version of Akechi appears to kill the real Akechi for failing him, as Shido has already surmised that Akechi is his son and he cannot have any loose ends that might threaten his power. Akechi, however, has realized the error in his ways and makes amends with the Phantom Thieves, locking him up in a room with the cognitive version of himself that will flood and kill both of them while saving the others. The Phantom Thieves then make it to the site of the treasure, and return to the real world to film a video broadcast to all of Japan that their leader is still alive and they will make Shido pay for his misdeeds.
They successfully defeat Shadow Shido, but this makes the real Shido realize that something is amiss, so he attempts to kill the Phantom Thieves by taking a poison that will temporarily kill himself, destroying his Palace and everyone inside. The Phantom Thieves barely make it out alive, and Shido's aides discover that they successfully changed his heart, leading them to panic, particularly after he admits all his wrongdoings live on television after his party's victory in the Diet. However, no one seems to think that the Phantom Thieves had anything to do with it.
This leads the Phantom Thieves to investigate Mementos on Christmas Eve in order to enact a change of heart on everyone by stealing the public unconscious's treasure. They discover that the people of Tokyo have suddenly decided to allow themselves to be imprisoned by the impositions of society at large, that it is easier to allow themselves to give into a greater force controlling them than make their own decisions on their lives. In the depths of Mementos they find the public's treasure, a giant Holy Grail, which speaks to them and demands that they submit to its power. They are unsuccessful in defeating the Holy Grail and are ejected from Mementos, only to find that Shibuya and Mementos are beginning to fuse together, and that they are all disappearing now that the Phantom Thieves have left the public's cognition.
The protagonist awakens in the Velvet Room once more where Igor berates him for failing, and orders Caroline and Justine to execute him. After a battle that leaves the protagonist nearly dead, the two girls realize that something is strange, and asks the protagonist to fuse them together just as they had fused Personas for him over the past year. This transforms the two of them into their original form: Lavenza. Lavenza then reveals that "Igor" is an impostor who has rigged all of the past year's events against the protagonist in a game to decide the fate of humanity with both the protagonist and Akechi as the "players." The false "Igor" then presents the protagonist with a choice: either allow him to control humanity and become his assistant, restoring the world to normal but becoming a force of terror that keeps Tokyo under control, or refuse to assist him. Should he accept, the bad ending will start playing but not before Lavenza express her disappointment to him for accepting the false god's deal. Should he refuse, "Igor" leaves to become one with the Holy Grail once more, and Lavenza reveals the true Igor has been trapped here all this time and that the protagonist's friends are alive elsewhere in the "jail" of the Velvet Room. After freeing his friends, Lavenza and the real Igor help him return to free Tokyo, and Morgana finally remembers that the real Igor created him using the hopes of humanity's freedom to find the true Trickster and aid him on his journey to stop the evil behind the Holy Grail.
The Phantom Thieves go on their true final mission to destroy the Holy Grail, as the friends and Confidants made along the way (Phan-site administrator Yuuki Mishima, homeroom teacher Sadayo Kawakami, Doctor Tae Takemi, model gun shop owner Munehisa Iwai, fortune teller Chihaya Mifune, investigative journalist Ichiko Ohya, video game child prodigy Shinya Oda, shogi expert Hifumi Togo, former politician Toranosuke Yoshida and Sojiro Sakura and Sae Niijima) rally the public into believing the Phantom Thieves exist and revealing the horror that surrounds them. The Phantom Thieves defeat the Shadows of the 4 archangels; Uriel, Raphael, Gabriel and Michael on the way and managed to make it to the Holy Grail once more and battle it, but it soon transforms into its true form, the god Yaldabaoth, who punishes the Phantom Thieves with the various Seven Deadly Sins until the public finally believes in the Phantom Thieves enough to free them from Yaldabaoth's control. This allows the protagonist to awaken the Persona Satanael to finally destroy Yaldabaoth and save humanity. This causes the collapse of the Metaverse entirely, and Morgana bids his friends a fond farewell.
With everyone saved, and Tokyo back to normal, the gang decides to hold a party to celebrate their success on Christmas Day. However, the protagonist is approached by Sae, who tells him that in order to prosecute Shido, he must turn himself in to the police to provide testimony so that none of his friends face arrest. The other Phantom Thieves learn about this terrible news the next day, and spend the next several months trying to free him, as do all of his other Confidants. By spring, Shido has successfully been tried and the actions of his friends led to the woman he saved the previous year recanting her testimony against him, overturning his original conviction and clearing his record.
Now a free man, the protagonist heads back to Tokyo one last time to spend one more day with his friends before he goes back to his hometown. Morgana returns as well, having survived the collapse of the Metaverse due to the rest of the Phantom Thieves keeping him in their cognition. He decides to spend the rest of his life with the protagonist to "keep him in line" and to see if there is truly a way for him to become a human. After spending Valentine's Day at Leblanc, the protagonist heads home with his friends at his side, driving him back to his hometown.
Bad Endings Edit
Persona 5 has a number of bad endings which may occur:
- Miss a Deadline: The party misses the deadline to complete the Palace. All of these endings save for Shido's deadline are similar. Police come to the cafe and arrest the protagonist, with Sojiro express his disappointment (Kamoshida's, Madarame's) or disbelief (Kaneshiro's, Okumura's, Niijima's) to him, or trying to protect him (Futaba's). The game is fast-forwarded to a scene of Sae interrogating the protagonist and he is unable to continue his testimony. Sae wonders if his memory has been affected by the drugs, and leaves to allow him to regain his memory. Akechi, as a mysterious figure, enters the interrogation room and assassinates the protagonist after Sae leaves, making the scene that resemble a suicide. The protagonist is later found confined in the Velvet Room for eternity, where a poem-like message appears, and Igor comments it as a foolish end and states that the game is over. If the protagonist misses a deadline, they are given the option to go back a week before or return to the main menu to load a save file.
- Miss the Kamoshida Deadline: Kamoshida files charges against the protagonist, causing him, Ryuji and Mishima to be expelled.
- Miss the Madarame Deadline: Madarame files charges against the protagonist.
- Miss the Kaneshiro Deadline: Makoto was found heavily drugged and brutalized in an illegal services shop, deliriously muttering the protagonist's name.
- Miss the Futaba Deadline: The protagonist is charged of coercion and blackmail and is also suspected of being a Phantom Thief. Sojiro is also arrested for harboring a criminal.
- Miss the Okumura Deadline: A mysterious tip claims the protagonist is a Phantom Thief.
- Miss the Niijima Deadline: A mysterious tip claims the protagonist is a Phantom Thief.
- Miss the Shido Deadline: Akechi arrives with the police (along with Sojiro who has been presumably forced by them to confess about the protagonist's whereabouts) to arrest the protagonist for murdering a guard and deceiving Akechi with an illusion. Akechi declares to the protagonist that "This game is over."
- Okumura Escapes: If the party takes too much time to reach Okumura during the final infiltration of his Palace or takes too much time to defeat him, he will escape it via spaceship and the Phantom Thieves are presumably killed in an explosion.
- Major Bad Endings: These endings are unrelated to deadlines and are based on incorrect decisions that the player makes for the protagonist. In both of these endings, the music for Mementos Depths, "Freedom and Security" plays in the gloomy credits, and a red "END." appears at the end of the credits instead of the white "FIN." in the true ending. Triggering these bad endings will unlock New Game Plus since the game is considered cleared, but the protagonist will not get any bonuses they would during a normal New Game Plus, such as Satanael.
- Sell out your friends: During the interrogation with Sae, the protagonist makes the deal with her to reveal his accomplices. Akechi arrives and convinces Sae to leave. Akechi kills a police guard, shoots the protagonist in the head and makes the scene resemble a suicide. The protagonist finds himself in the Velvet Room, where the residents berate him for his failure to complete his rehabilitation. Igor tells him that ruin will come momentarily and confines the protagonist to his cell for the rest of his life. Should the player choose the incorrect decisions that would lead to the protagonist selling out his accomplices, a prompt will appear asking if they are sure that they are making the right choices in order to prevent them from triggering this ending by mistake, since the player might otherwise trust Sae with the information.
- Make a deal with the False God: The world is changed back into its normal non-hellish form, although the people in it are "distorted masses." The Phantom Thieves are praised and gain fame. However, the people are trapped by their lack of free will, abandoning their ability to think for themselves. The protagonist smiles maliciously at the end, indicating he too has became a puppet of the false god while his friends are presumably jailed in the Velvet Room.
The main theme of Persona 5 is freedom, anger and breaking free from slavery to corrupted adults from the school, prestige class, gang, corporation, government and politics. Persona 5 discusses the hardships of modern-day 21st century society and features characters that are restrained by the rules set by this society, especially in Japan where the game is set. This freedom is meant to liberate those who "are bored and discontent with their lives." Persona 5 was made to be an emotional experience that stirs up its audience and finally lets them go with a strong sense of catharsis.
Persona 5 contains some Judeo-Christian symbolism. The bosses are loosely themed after the Seven Deadly Sins, many enemies are based on Abrahamic figures, the song Rivers in the Desert is likely an Isaiah reference, etc. The party is also forced to defeat the four Christian archangels Uriel, Raphael, Gabriel and Michael before the final boss.
In particular, the Gnostic version of Judeo-Christianity is symbolized in Persona 5, as Sloth is considered the capital sin in there, the false ruler god of Gnosticism Demiurge, known as "Yaldabaoth" in this game acts as its final boss, and the protagonist's ultimate persona, Satanael is responsible for teaching humanity to rebel against the Demiurge in Gnostic lore.
A major theme is that the protagonist and the Phantom Thieves are working to defeat the Seven Deadly Sins that humanity is attached to, such as lust, greed, pride, etc; the protagonist is called the savior of humanity, and defeating these vices is essential to overcoming the enslaved mindset and condition of humanity.
- Main article: List of Persona 5 Characters
Playable Characters Edit
- Protagonist: The player character is a falsely accused delinquent moonlighting as a gentleman thief. He wears a bird mask and uses knives and handguns in combat. His Persona is Arsene, after the literary gentleman thief of the same name.
- Ryuji Sakamoto: A boy who attends the protagonist's school and joins him in his heists. Bold and hot-tempered; he is seen as a delinquent at his school due to an incident with his former track team. He wears a skull mask and wields bludgeons and shotguns as weapons. His Persona is Captain Kidd, after the notorious privateer-turned-pirate.
- Morgana: An amnesiac, shapeshifting cat-like creature that meets the protagonist. Wanting to discover his origins and his place to belong, he joins the protagonist in his heists, teaches him and his allies the mechanics of the Metaverse, and the ropes of being a phantom thief. He has some sort of connection to the Metaverse and Mementos. He wears a fabric mask around his head, and wields curved swords and slingshots in battle. His Persona is Zorro, after the literary outlaw.
- Ann Takamaki: A quarter-American girl in the protagonist's homeroom. An outcast for her foreign looks and upbringing, she joins with the protagonist in his heists to inspire hope in people in troubled situations. She wears a panther mask and uses whips and sub-machine guns. Her Persona is Carmen, after the heroine of the novella of the same name.
- Yusuke Kitagawa: An eccentric art student from a neighboring school and the disciple of a legendary Japanese artist. He wears a fox mask and uses katanas and assault rifles. His Persona is Goemon, after the legendary Japanese bandit.
- Makoto Niijima: The intelligent student council president, a girl with a strong sense of justice and a hidden violent side. She is initially tasked in seeking out the Phantom Thieves, but eventually joins them. She wears an iron mask and uses knuckles and revolvers. Her Persona is Johanna, after the legendary Medieval female pope.
- Futaba Sakura: A shut-in bespectacled girl with orange hair who is a highly capable hacker and the team's dungeon navigator. She wears VR goggles and participates in battle through her Persona Necronomicon, named after a mystical book from H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos.
- Haru Okumura: A third-year student and daughter of a major food manufacturer, she is refined but has seen little of life. She wears a domino mask and fights using axes and grenade launchers. Her Persona is Milady, after the antagonist Milady DeWinter from The Three Musketeers.
- Goro Akechi: A third-year student and a renowned detective investigating the Phantom Thieves case in collaboration with Makoto's elder sister. He wears a red long-beak mask and fights using laser sabers and ray guns. His Persona is Robin Hood, after the legendary outlaw of Medieval English folklore.
Supporting Characters Edit
- Igor: The man who operates the Velvet Room.
- Caroline and Justine: Two young assistants to Igor in the Velvet Room. They both wear an eyepatch over one of their eyes and a blue prison guard outfit. Caroline has hair buns and Justine has a long braid.
- Sojiro Sakura: Owner of a coffee shop Cafe Leblanc and a friend of the protagonist's parents' who looks after him while he is in Tokyo.
- Sae Niijima: Makoto's older sister and a public prosecutor responsible for the Phantom Thieves of Hearts' case.
- Masayoshi Shido: A powerful politician who aims to become the next Prime Minister of Japan. The protagonist has a feeling that he has met him somewhere before the events of the game.
Daily life Edit
The story takes place over the course of a year and the protagonist must balance high school life and saving the world.
The protagonist lives in the attic of Cafe Leblanc. The protagonist can explore various locations in the Greater Tokyo Area and travel using the subway system. The protagonist can take part-time jobs, play video games, go out with friends, go to restaurants, study, go to the movies, play baseball, go to the bathhouse, fishing, exercise in their own home or go to the gym, make equipment for use in battle, messages, watch TV or go to the clinic. A certain amount of these activities can increase the protagonist's stat performance such as their Max HP and SP. There are also a variety of minigames.
Using the P. A. D., the SNS system allows the protagonist to chat with other characters using phone text messages, helping the protagonist to learn more about the personalities and background of other characters.
During the prologue, the player can select the difficulty from "Safety," "Easy," "Normal" and "Hard." Except for Safety difficulty, the rest can be changed at any time. An additional "Merciless" difficulty above Hard is available as free DLC. Even if someone has never played Persona 5 before, choosing Normal should be fine. The difficulty statistics/features are:
- Safety: Damage received: x0.5 - Damage dealt: x2.0 - Experience: x3.0 - Money: x5.0
- If the protagonist is killed, you will be given the option to revive the entire party with full HP and SP
- You will be unable to change the difficulty until the beginning of a new playthrough.
- Easy: Damage received: x0.5 - Damage dealt: x1.0 - Experience: x1.0 - Money: x1.0
- Normal: Damage received: x1.0 - Damage dealt: x1.0 - Experience: x1.0 - Money: x1.0
- Hard: Damage received: x1.6 - Damage dealt: x0.8 - Experience: x1.0 - Money: x1.0
- Merciless: Damage received: x1.6 - Damage dealt: x0.8 - Experience: x0.4 - Money: x0.4
- Critical and Technical damage from any source is tripled
The Palace of every arc of the main storyline has a certain deadline to complete. Failure to complete the Palace before the deadline will result in a "false ending" Game Over scene. It is impossible to explore past dungeons once they're cleared, so it is recommended to explore dungeons as much as possible.
One of the major complaints about previous Persona dungeons is that they were boring and felt like a series of unending similar barren hallways with the occasional treasure chest or Shadow. Persona 5 was designed with this criticism in mind; all Palaces except Mementos are not randomly generated, they feature unique elements of platforming (jumping up and down ledges), puzzles, stealth, and traps.
A dungeon called Mementos is where the party can traverse by driving a vehicle transformed from Morgana where they can collect treasures, obtain Personas that are present in the previously collapsed Palaces and steal the hearts of minor targets submitted to the Phantom Aficionado Website (Phan-site). Mementos is affected by the weather, and it is a good idea to explore Mementos during days with bad weather for advantages in battle.
Battle can be initiated when the protagonist is in stealth mode and ambushes the enemy, which gives preemptive turn. If the protagonist fails in stealth, the security level will increase. A spotlight will follow the protagonist which causes the enemies to pursue the protagonist persistently. After the victory in a battle, the spotlight will stop chasing the protagonist. If the protagonist successfully performs another ambush attack, the security level will drop slightly. When the security level reaches 100%, the party is forced to leave the dungeon. The next time the party enters the same dungeon again, the security level will drop by a portion. Mementos does not have a security level, aside from the final area.
After the party successfully makes it to the end of a Palace, they can go back to the real world and send a calling card to their target. Doing so takes the entire daytime period away and during that night they cannot go outside Cafe Leblanc, although they can still craft tools if that ability is unlocked. During the next day, they will be automatically thrown into the Palace and cannot get out until the boss at the end is defeated. Doing so will collapse the Palace and advance the story further.
The party engages in strategic turn-based combat with Shadows using both melee and ranged weapons, instead of only one type of weapon. The party will use their Personas in battle to combat the bosses and Shadows. The general aim is to find the enemy's weakness and exploit it in order to knock them down.
If the protagonist dies in battle, the game will end. However, if it was a boss battle, one is able to restart the battle before the boss. Death in a random battle will start the game back at the most recent [[Safe Room]. Protecting the protagonist is an important priority.
When a party member has knocked down the enemy, a new feature called "Baton Pass" appears where the party member can pass the "1 More" turn to another combatant to boost up their stats during that turn. However, the limit is three passes, as the "baton" cannot be passed to the same party member twice.
- Negotiation: The game brings back the old way of interacting with the enemy: Negotiation for obtaining Persona, money and item, a feature returning from absence since Persona 2, in vein with the Shin Megami Tensei games. Tips on negotiation are here.
- All-Out Attack: The party members all attack at once for massive damage. If all enemies are defeated in that All-Out Attack, the game will play a finishing touch sequence featuring the party member who has knocked down the last enemy.
Unlike traditional RPG where the player has to go through layers of menus in order to give a command in battle, Persona 5 features an improved UI which offers shortcuts to major commands like melee attack, gun attack, Persona skills, items, guard and tactical order. Instead of navigating a wheel in Persona 3 or a vertical list in Persona 4, choices are now a button press away, allowing for fast-paced action. The player can now switch party members during battle, although the player must obtain Confidant abilities from Hifumi Togo and/or Futaba Sakura in order to do so.
Online features Edit
The Thieves Guild allows online players to share and receive information about what kind of activities they take. A graph shows the percentage of all online players venturing the Palace, improving social performance or participating in Confidant events. It is also particularly useful to rely on this during test answers and Confidant questions, as certain choices provide more benefits.
Special editions Edit
In Japan Edit
Persona 5 was released for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 in Japan for 8,800 yen on September 15, 2016.
A 13,800 yen 20th Anniversary Edition includes the following additional content:
- Persona 5 art book
- Persona 20th Anniversary All Time Best Album (five CDs)
- Disc 1: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona
- Disc 2: Persona 2: Innocent Sin / Persona 2: Eternal Punishment
- Disc 3: Persona 3 (FES)
- Disc 4: Persona 4 (The Golden)
- Disc 5: Persona 5
- Special Collaboration DLC Set #1: “Orpheus Picaro” and “Izanagi Picaro”
- Special Collaboration DLC Set #2: Persona 3 “Gekkoukan High School Uniform” costumes and Persona 3 battle BGM set
- Special Collaboration DLC Set #3: Persona 4 “Yasogami High School Uniform” costumes and Persona 4 battle BGM set
- Special Custom Theme
- Special Persona 5 Art treasure box
Persona 5 (standard version) is bundled with PlayStation 4 Slim (1 TB) in a limited package as Sony announces the Slim models of PS4 in September 2016. The package was sold for 39,980 yen on the day of the game's initial release, which is 5,000 yen more than buying the console alone but saves 3,800 yen than buying the standard version of the game and the console separately.
In North America and Europe Edit
Persona 5 launched for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 in both North America and Europe on April 4th, 2017. Apart from the base game, there are two special editions for both North America and Europe.
Take Your Heart Premium Edition Edit
Exclusive to the PlayStation 4 version of the game, the "Take Your Heart" edition, also known as the premium version with the most content, will include:
- "Sounds of Rebellion" soundtrack CD: A selection of music from Persona 5 by Shoji Meguro and Toshiki Konishi. The music is exactly the same as the Persona 5 disc that came with the Japanese release, except the 20th track seems to be absent.
- 4” Morgana plush: Morgana the Phantom Thieves’ cat is not just the mascot of the Phantom Thieves, but also a member – and also not just a cat! The premium edition includes an exclusive 4” plush of Morgana.
- "Persona 5 Art Book The Aesthetics": This 64-page hardcover art book is full of concept sketches, character art and more by character designer Shigenori Soejima.
- SteelBook: As strong as a vault, the game disc for the PS4 will come specially packaged in a SteelBook collectible case featuring this art.
- School bag: Designed after the traditional school bags in Japan, the exclusive replica bag comes complete with the Shujin Academy crest.
SteelBook Launch Edition Edit
Exclusive to the PlayStation 4 version of the game, Atlus released Persona 5 in a special SteelBook Launch Edition. All pre-orders and a very limited number of launch copies came in an official, collectible SteelBook case, adorned with Persona 5 art identical to the one in the “Take Your Heart” Premium Edition.
The SteelBook edition (both "Take Your Heart Premium Edition" and standalone) comes with a unique feature that reflects a central theme in the game's plot, although it is unknown if this is intentional or not. It is needed to take a picture of the case with the flash on. Shadows are the manifestation of mostly negative human emotions and serve as the primary enemies in some of the installments. Strong-willed shadows usually attract their lesser kind, which make them into more powerful creatures. Similarly, most of the cast have their own inner shadows, which represent their "true selves" which they often hide from society.
There is a variety of DLC such as Personas, costumes, battle music, etc. The English-language releases include some free DLC, such as Japanese voice acting, merciless difficulty, costumes, etc.
|DLC Content (Costumes/Others)|
Karukozaka High School costumes DLC
St. Hermelin High School costumes DLC
Seven Sisters High School costumes DLC
Gekkoukan High School costumes DLC
Yasogami High School costumes DLC
Casual Clothes Costume Set
Catherine Costumes and BGM Special Set
Swimsuit Set DLC
Devil Summoner Raidou Kuzunoha Costumes DLC
Shin Megami Tensei IV Costumes DLC
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax Costumes DLC
Persona 4 Dancing All Night Costumes DLC
Maid & Butler Costumes DLC
Christmas Costume DLC
Persona 5 - Challenge Difficulty DLC
|DLC Content (Personas)|
Orpheus and Orpheus Picaro DLC
Thanatos and Thanatos Picaro DLC
Izanagi and Izanagi Picaro DLC
Magatsu-Izanagi and Magatsu-Izanagi Picaro DLC
Kaguya and Kaguya Picaro
The game was first mentioned to be under development in August 2011 in an interview with Katsura Hashino, the producer of the Persona series. Hashino confirmed that the basic preparations for the development were finished and announced the return of Shigenori Soejima and Shoji Meguro as character designer and music composer, respectively. Both Soejima and Meguro previously worked together with Hashino on Persona 3, Persona 4 and Catherine. Hashino's original concept was about "backpacking and flying all over the world," but after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami occurred, he wanted a closer focus on Japan.
Unlike Catherine, which used the Gamebryo engine, Persona 5 uses an in-house custom-made engine. Before it was decided that the game would be released exclusively for the PlayStation 3, it was also discussed internally to move the series to mobile gaming devices like the PlayStation Vita or smartphones. Eventually, Hashino and his team chose the PlayStation 3 as they felt that fans would love to see another game for home consoles.
Persona 5 was officially revealed on November 24, 2013 following a 72-hour countdown that eventually resulted in a series of announcements that included Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth and Persona 4: Dancing All Night. A Persona 5 website domain was previously registered on June 25th, 2013 by Index Corporation, the former parent company of Atlus. An American release was confirmed on February 25, 2014 with an originally estimated release in 2015. A PlayStation 4 version of the game was announced on September 1, 2014 during Sony's Tokyo Game Show conference with a new trailer that gave a first look on the setting and the game's protagonist.  A bonus Blu-Ray containing a variety of Persona 5 related content was released as a preorder bonus for the Japanese version of Persona 4: Dancing All Night on June 25, 2015, which also included the second trailer for the game.
On September 17, 2015, a third trailer for Persona 5 was shown as part of the company's Tokyo Game Show 2015 broadcast which revealed that the release date would be postponed to Summer 2016. According to Katsura Hashino, this decision was made so that game could become the biggest out of all the games he has directed so far.
Initially, the oversea versions were scheduled for February 14, 2017. In the beginning of the official live stream of the English version demo on November 16, 2016, Atlus announced that because they wanted to set a new height of localization standard, the release date was pushed back to April 4, 2017. Atlus USA explained that extra time was required for revision of the script as well as recording some voices again. The fact that Atlus Japan only handed over the complete script for Atlus USA to begin localization also contributed to the delay. In compensation for the delay, the game had been reprogrammed to support dual audio option and the Japanese voice set is available as free downloadable content permanently. This is the first-ever entry in the entire Megami Tensei series to support dual audio.
- Persona 5 The Animation The Day Breakers: A 30-minute anime released on September 3rd, 2016.
- Persona 5 The Animation: Anime covering the entire game. It aired throughout 2018.
- Persona 5 Manga: Currently in production.
- Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight: Rhythm game.
- Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth: The cast of Persona 5 will make an appearance.
- Persona 5 Royal: An enhanced edition of the base game set to release October 31, 2019 in Japan.
Other Game CollaborationsEdit
-  (multiplayer action game by Capcom) includes character skins of Joker and Panther.
-  (multiplayer action game by Sega) includes attires and character animations of the protagonist/Joker, Ann, Makoto and Futaba, pet Arsene and posters of Persona 5.
-  (card game on arcade machine by Square-Enix) includes cards of Joker, Panther, Fox, Caroline and Justine.
-  (mobile/handheld RPG by Sega) collaboration festival from January 19, to January 31, 2017.
- Sonic Forces (platformer game by Sega) includes Joker outfit for original character.
- (mobile/web browser RPG by Cygames) collaboration event from June 18, to June 29, 2018.
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (a Nintendo platformer/fighting game hybrid) includes a Persona 5 DLC pack, released on April 17, 2019. It included Joker as a playable character, as well as Mementos-themed stage and five music tracks from Persona 5, two music tracks from Persona 3, three music tracks from Persona 4, and one track from Revelations: Persona. The lead developer, Masahiro Sakurai, has also noted that he was personally inspired by Persona 5 for the menu design.
PlayStation 4 main box art
PlayStation 3 main box art
Concert promotional artwork of the Persona 3 and Persona 4 protagonists alongside the Persona 5 protagonist.
Game Key Visual
Special Movie Blu-ray
Wanted Poster of the main playable characters
Illustration by Shigenori Soejima/wallpaper
The Phantom Thieves
The Phantom Thieves
The "Sounds of Rebellion" album included with the "Take Your Heart" PS4 Premium edition
Comic Anthology published by DNA
Comic Anthology published by Dengeki
|Persona 20th Anniversary Edition|
20th Anniversary Edition Collection
Persona 5 art book
Persona 20th Anniversary All-Time Best Album, featuring music from all five main Persona games
Persona 5 Art Treasure Box
Dengeki PlayStation Page 1
Dengeki PlayStation Page 2
Dengeki PlayStation Page 3
Dengeki PlayStation Page 4
The protagonist "Joker"
The protagonist walking through Shibuya Station with Morgana in his bag
The protagonist, seated behind Ann, daydreaming in class
Tae Takemi and the protagonist in her office, with Morgana visible in his school bag
The group in Sumikon planning their first heist
The protagonist in combat
Ann in combat
Ryuji in combat
Humans transformed into enemy icons
The Phantom ripping the mask off an enemy icon
Police ambush in the prologue
- The game usually takes between 80 to 120 hours to complete on a first playthrough, with 100 being a rough average. However, a few have managed to clock in over 150-180 hours; such players may be playing on harder difficulty, may be slow readers, may prefer walking around the city instead of using fast travel, or may be playing the PlayStation 3 version which has slower loading times which can add up.
- Unlike previous Persona titles, which were set in fictional locations, Persona 5 takes place in Tokyo, primarily in the Shibuya ward. A lot of the locales in Persona 5 are heavily based on real-life Tokyo. Because of this, Atlus had to ask Persona fans to stop bothering and inconveniencing the locals and trespassing.
- Unlike previous entries, the in-game calendar displays the year as "20XX," leaving the exact time period ambiguous. However, in-game references suggest the exact year is 2016; for example, a TV report regarding Rise Kujikawa stating that she "gained a lot of sex appeal since she hit 20," who is 15 during the events of Persona 4, which takes place during 2011. Additionally, examination of the exact dates shows that they line up exactly with the 2016 calendar.
- The art assets in the game, such as UI and portraits, had to be redrawn and redone when the game was also being developed for PlayStation 4, as it meant a jump from 720p to 1080p. The PlayStation 3 version has a max resolution of 720p.
- The box art of Persona 5 has a similar style to Persona 4's, in that the main cast is featured surrounding the protagonist, who stands at the front of the group, with the game's setting and the protagonist's Persona in the background.
- Persona 5 includes Nuclear and Psy elemental skills, along with the Kouha and Eiha lines of Light/Dark skills, which have not been seen in the franchise since the Persona 2 duology, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner and the original Megami Ibunroku Persona, respectively.
- The Arcana written on the tarot cards are based on the Tarot of Marseilles deck, using French names of the cards. The Death tarot card is unnamed accordingly because Death (La Mort) is also known as "The Card with No Name."
- The ending of Persona 5, while showing the party, does not show the party's Personas, unlike Personas 3 and 4. On a side note, however, it does show the protagonist awakening to his Persona, whereas the rest of the casts' awakenings are not shown.
- Persona 5 is the first Persona game to use circular chronology in its storytelling.
- Official North American website
- Official Japanese website
- Official PlayStation Japan software website
- ↑ To Persona 5 and Beyond, 日本語の投稿って「Dime a Dozen」
- ↑ Persona 5′s Characters Will Be Restrained By Modern Society, Siliconera
- ↑ PlayStation®4 Persona5 Starter Limited Pack
- ↑ 「PS4®が新価格」：新型「PS4」×『ペルソナ５』動画 (Video of PS4 new price: new model of PS4 × Persona 5)
- ↑ Persona 5 Was Originally Going to be About Backpacking Around the World
- ↑ Persona 5 uses Atlus' internal engine, Destructoid
- ↑ Persona 5 domain name registered, IGN
- ↑ Persona 5 Coming To North America in 2015, Siliconera
- ↑ Persona 5 Coming To PlayStation 4, Gematsu
- ↑ Persona 5 Special Movie Blu-ray contents announced, Gematsu
- ↑ Persona 5 Gets Delayed To Summer 2016 In Japan, Siliconera
- ↑ ペルソナ５開発室より（お詫び）, Persona Channel
- ↑ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erEyBjQTEn8
- ↑ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qc5La1WsW3c
- ↑ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdTPhw6ncp0
- ↑ Sega's Chain Chronicle collaboration festival page
- ↑