"...we do not go astray because we do not know, but because we think we know."
Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth is an RPG for the Nintendo 3DS and a sequel to Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth. It is a crossover game between Persona 3, Persona 4 and Persona 5. Like the previous game, it is based on Etrian Odyssey. The main theme and opening for the game is Road Less Taken.
The story begins after the P5 hero wakes up from a dream where a blue butterfly shows him a quote projected on a theater screen during a nap in class at Shujin Academy. Alongside Morgana, he gathers the other Phantom Thieves in Café Leblanc to explore Mementos. These members include Morgana, Ryuji Sakamoto, Ann Takamaki, Yusuke Kitagawa, Makoto Niijima, Futaba Sakura, Haru Okumura and Goro Akechi.
While exploring Mementos, the Mona-bus suddenly veers out of control, and sends the Thieves into a movie screen initiating a countdown.
The Thieves quickly find themselves in a city where they're still wearing their thief outfits, and the Metaverse Navigator has stopped working. They try and ask the city's police for directions, only to be attacked by strange Shadows. It's soon revealed that their guns do not work in this reality. To make matters worse, a large Shadow resembling an obese man in a superhero chicken costume appears and pursues them, forcing them to escape via a movie screen into a Cinema. Unfortunately, they soon find that Haru and Makoto were left behind. They also find locks on the front doors, barring their escape.
Though the Cinema seems deserted, the party quickly notices that a strange, black creature is in the projection room. It does not talk and does not interact with them, standing completely still. When its body is touched, it bounces. Morgana then notices figures standing up from the theater's seats, and tells the party to investigate. They find a woman in white, who introduces herself as Nagi, and a shy schoolgirl named Hikari. Nagi is the curator of the Cinema, and claims all of her customers aside from Hikari suddenly vanished. They are locked in the theater just like the Thieves and cannot leave.
With no other way forward, the team investigates each labyrinth after rescuing Haru and Makoto. Each movie revolves around a moral centered on discarding individuality and becoming one with others. Throughout the game, the Phantom Thieves are joined by Persona users from different timelines: the P3P heroine in Kamoshidaman; the Investigation Team in Junessic Land; SEES in A.I.G.I.S. All of them land in the movie world after routine trips to the collective unconsciousness, namely the Velvet Room, Midnight Channel, and Tartarus. Velvet Room attendants from other timelines—Elizabeth, Margaret, and Theodore—join Caroline and Justine in assisting the party.
The party's goal is to derail each movie's distorted moral codes by giving them happy endings while Hikari and Nagi watch. Upon returning, Doe grants them a key to unlock one of the four locks on the theater's front gate.
After completing A.I.G.I.S, Doe supposedly kidnaps Hikari, causing panic in the Cinema, and both are confirmed to be inside the fourth movie. Its trailer displays a suspiciously cheery and whimsical fairy tale landscape, with a forlorn Hikari being surrounded by three copies of her past selves. They repeat the messages of individuality being useless, everyone doing the same thing means it cannot be wrong, and authority is justice. A message at the end states that Hikari has decided to discard her self to become "normal," and the movie's name is obscured by black scribbles. The party enters the movie reality to save Hikari from Doe.
As the party explores the labyrinth, which appears as a cheerful, yet highly unsettling fairytale landscape, they encounter musical-like stages; each of them representing a personal trauma that Hikari experienced in the past, starting from primary school to her eventual breakdown. As soon as they reach the first of them, they encounter a younger version of Hikari being tormented by a copy of her teacher, followed by the real Hikari appearing. The copy transforms into a Shadow and attacks the party. After defeating the Shadow, Hikari reveals that she was not kidnapped by Doe, but had instead voluntarily entered with him so she could face herself and remember the events that ruined her life.
The party now accompanies her to travel the Labyrinth, as the truth of this reality unravels; the movies are actually cognitive worlds created from Hikari's heart. Kamoshidaman was created from her resentment of being falsely accused of poisoning and killing the class rabbit by her primary school teacher and class, Junessic Land was created from her alienation by her secondary school friends because of their own selfish reasons, and A.I.G.I.S was created by the rejection of her desire to become a film director by her relatives.
Her father, however, supported Hikari's endeavors throughout her life. He was the only one who provided unconditional support and inspired her dream of becoming a movie director, so she decided to create a movie and send an invitation letter for her father to watch her creation.
All of this comes to a standstill after an incident related to her relatives. The combined traumas in the form of repeated emotional abuse has consumed Hikari with extreme depression, self-loathing and grief. Giving up the meaning of her existence, she locked herself in her room and never came out. Her father tried to give her a notebook he bought as a gift, but she remained unresponsive due to her depression. He then asked her "Why do you have to be like that?" As all of her tormentors asked her such a question when they emotionally abused her, she began to believe that her father was the same. Presumably due to the belief that her father was talked in by her relatives, the perceived denial from her father caused her to be overwhelmed by a series of traumatic flashbacks that completely broke her down.
The party enters the depths of the labyrinth, which in sharp contrast from the cheerful-looking upper levels, appears as a monochrome and sinister flowerbed with the flowers having hollow eyes and tearing blood, symbolizing its owner's desire for self-destruction as an end to her pain, and the viewing of her life as torture. Doe appears in the center clearing. Hikari claims that he is not an enemy and confesses all of her self-destructive behavior, also stating that she will never forget him. He expresses a desire to keep her forever in the Cinema to end all of her pain, which she denies. He becomes berserk, transforming into a morbid abomination. When the party destroys his head, his remains spill ichor that triple binds the party. Hikari steps in with a new skill to aid them, using her support to remove binds from party members and they defeat the rampaging Doe.
Doe calms down after he's defeated, and the reality of Hikari's breakdown is made clear; when her father asked "why do you have to be like that", he was only asking after her wellbeing, and her breakdown was nothing more than her misinterpreting his words. Hikari steps in to hug Doe and he transforms into her father, revealing that Doe is nothing more than a cognitive copy made by her, twisted by her distorted perception that her father is a terrifying figure, but also from her admiration for him and her suppressed desire to break free from her shell. She tearfully repents for her erroneous perception towards her father and Doe transforms into the key required to remove the last lock along with her invitation letter. Hikari then confesses to the party about the reality of her distorted self-destructive desires and thanks them for changing her heart and giving it back, completing her rehabilitation and allowing her to escape from her living death. The credits roll with Nagi watching alone, with the movie's true name revealed as "Hikari" and "To Be Continued" shown afterwards.
The party completes all of the movies and removes the last lock with Nagi's full approval and permission. Hikari expresses a will to escape the Cinema and Nagi, despite being upset, approves. However, as they open its gates, they find that they are inside a twisted landscape, with Nagi dropping her guise, transforming into a malicious-looking version of herself with red hair. What seems to be Nagi reveals herself to be Enlil, a god created from humanity's desire to end all of their pain. She reveals that the Cinema is in fact a part of her domain in the collective unconsciousness, and she advises the party to leave and stop bothering. She also claims that weak humans should accept her salvation plan, which comes in the form of drawing in depressed people into the Cinemas within her domain.
Enlil reveals that Hikari was only one of the souls trapped, and those of many others suffer the same fate. The Cinema acting as the hub of the game is merely Hikari's Theater, and each of the other theaters contain a person who suffers from the pain of living just like Hikari did. She also reveals that she did not prevent them from escaping, but they simply expressed a lack of desire to be free from their self-imposed imprisonment and also a lack of enthusiasm to live, effectively playing themselves into her plan. Despite showing extreme arrogance, Enlil still lets them leave anyway, but Hikari convinces the party to stay in order to confront Enlil, so others can be freed from her domain.
The party ventures through Enlil's domain, known as the Theater District, finally reaching its depths. While they're more than ready to fight her, she displays a lack of desire to directly confront them, instead sending out a duo of Shadows to deter the party. Once they are slain, she applauds them for their courage to stand against her but displays that others do not and teleports them back to Hikari's Theater.
It is revealed that the movies in the Cinema are an Akashic Record of negative thoughts flowing from the projectors at the depths to the Cinemas, in which Enlil believes that having them watch such movies can relieve the pain of living. However, this only feeds into their negative impulses and makes their collapsing mental health worse. In the projection room, they find the edited versions of Hikari's films and devise a plan to replace the negative film projections in Enlil's domain with them so they can reverse the negative movie's effects on the theatergoers. Every Persona user and Hikari now automatically recognize themselves as the Phantom Thieves and executes the plan to replace the four projectors, defeating the projections of Kamoshidaman, Yosukesaurus, Mother Computer and Doe in the process.
After the negative films are replaced, the party and Hikari confront Enlil and send a calling card to her. She reads the calling card and is severely angered as the Theater District begins to be purified by the edited versions of Hikari's movies. The purified movies display Kamoshidaman expressing a desire to protect the weak, the Herbivore Dinosaurs and Yosukesaurus begin respecting each other's opinions, Ribbon teaches a group of robots with personality to love flowers, and the high school copy of Hikari makes Doe vanish by expressing the will to escape the Cinema and for her father to watch her movie.
Enlil is enraged as her "salvation plan" crumbles and combats the party in human form. She exerts a terrifying power that wounds the entire party, but Hikari begins to rally those trapped into escaping the Cinema, and the edited movies start to take effect. Enlil views Hikari's actions as a betrayal and is further enraged, causing her to reveal her true form, an angelic, eagle-like god. She proclaims that the party's hope is completely pointless and states that they are foolish for opposing her. Despite the party's greatest efforts, Enlil removes all combat members on the field, leaving Hikari and the navigators helpless. The navigators tell Hikari to leave, but she ignores the warnings and steps in to confront Enlil alone. Because of her belief and trust in the people who helped her regain her memories and saved her life, Hikari is able to bring the party back. In complete bewilderment, Enlil is left defenseless as all four protagonists unleash a unison attack.
Despite her defeat, Enlil is still determined to go on, but the party and all of the trapped people persuade her into surrendering and giving up her "salvation plan." She returns back to the form of the black-haired Nagi and vanishes into light, finally acknowledging the possibilities and strengths of humanity, but not before leaving a warning that she will return as long as people wish for her to. The Theater District is destroyed and all the trapped souls return to their realities. However, the memories of the Persona users' adventure will be wiped, and nobody will remember anything that happened. Hearing this, Hikari breaks into tears as her first friends will no longer be able to recognize her anymore. She wants to give P5 hero her notebook as a memento, but he returns it to her as it was her most precious memory, and without it, her movie will never be complete. Accepting the truth and moving on, she exits the Cinema back to her reality.
In order, SEES and the Investigation Team leave and return to their realities as well, with the P3P heroine and the P3 hero expressing sadness as they part, still holding a feeling of recognition towards each other. The P5 cast returns to reality last, with Goro Akechi reluctant to leave, indicating that he is still the traitor and did not want to return to his old self.
As Hikari's soul returns to her reality, she wakes up in bed, puzzled by tears she has no recollection of, yet her Change of Heart is still intact. She meets her father in the living room. He wonders why Hikari is so worked up all of a sudden since she used to be extremely withdrawn. She expresses the desire to continue production of the movie she created before she fell into depression with full approval by her father. The two then have a chat with each other.
In Iwatodai Dorm, P3 hero decides to rent a DVD after a sudden urge to watch a movie. He invites the group to watch it with him, as everyone is home. With Mitsuru's approval, everyone brings snacks and drinks to the lobby, and settles in to watch.
P4 hero and Nanako Dojima cook food for the Investigation Team, who soon arrive at the Dojima Residence. The group sees that a dinosaur movie will air soon, and, encouraged by Nanako's enthusiasm, decide to watch it together.
The P3P heroine wakes up in her room after falling asleep while studying. She wonders at a dream she possibly had, but is interrupted by Yukari and the rest of SEES, who invite her to watch a movie with the rest of them downstairs. Wondering at her sudden silence, she explains that she feels like she's finally home, and that she's been waiting to see them for a long time. But she soon brushes this off, and eagerly agrees to watch the movie with them.
In the attic of Leblanc, the Phantom Thieves—sans Akechi—decide on what they wish to do, as there's still plenty of time before their deadline. Ann shows the group a flier for a high-school student film festival someone on set gave her. Ryuji inexplicably feels as if they must go, much to his confusion. The rest express the same desire, and they all agree to attend together. After watching the movie "New Cinema Labyrinth," Hikari is introduced as its director. The P5 hero shows surprise at seeing her, then smiles. Whether or not he remembers anything is left ambiguous.
Unlike the previous game, Persona Q, there is no route selection; Persona 5's cast is the main focus. The game is not dubbed in English, similar to Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux, and instead has English subtitles with Japanese voices. Additionally, horror elements are toned down, and labyrinths are made easier to navigate compared to PQ.
The Investigation Team and SEES are not available party members at the start of the game. Instead, each group joins the Phantom Thieves after finding them in a specific Labyrinth. Persona 3's female protagonist is the first to join.
Unlike Persona Q, or any Persona game for that matter, a protagonist is not required in battle unless playing on the hardest difficulty. The original characters—Hikari, Nagi and Doe— serve a supporting role instead of an active battle role.
Unlike in Persona 4 Golden or Persona 5, if a player has never played the Q series or any game in the Persona series before, it is advised to choose the Safety or Easy difficulty, as Normal is proven to be too difficult by many players.
A mechanic originally in Persona Q has returned, which involves no protagonist having the power of the Wild Card because of the distortion of the new world; rather all party members are able to be equipped with a second persona (Sub-Personas), which can be summoned in battle. While Sub-Personas retain their six skill slots, main Personas now also have six skill slots which are populated by skills they inherently learn. The skills gained by a main Persona's transformation are stronger versions of their inherent unique skill, and there is no skill slot reserved for the Persona's evolution. Skills are no longer forcibly upgraded to their stronger (but more expensive) version, allowing for greater customizability of a main Persona's build.
An All-Out Attack is no longer dependent on the number of Boosted characters, and is instead triggered by knocking all enemies down through weakness exploitation or critical hits. It is thus possible to trigger multiple All-Out Attacks in quick succession if all party members repeatedly hit the enemies' weaknesses. Finishing the battle with an All-Out Attack not only gives an experience bonus, but also raises the chances of finding rare materials from slain enemies.
Because the game’s story is centered on the protagonists of Persona 5, the battle background music is P5 themed at the beginning. However, as members of Persona 3 and Persona 4 join the party, the variations in music change.
Unlike in Persona 5 where Shadows appear like their Persona counterparts, they appear as Arcana Shadows in this game.
During battle, certain characters can initiate a Unison attack, similar to a mechanic in Persona 4 Golden where certain characters can perform a follow up attack after an All-Out Attack.
The character groups that can perform these attacks are:
- Skull Bro-Bash: Skill by two tough, manly boys: Ryuji / Kanji
- Brand☆New☆Bam: Skill by two endlessly cheerful girls: Ann / Chie
- Kacho Fugetsu: Skill by two paragons of grace: Yukiko / Yusuke
- Lightning Duo: Skill by two wild card team leaders: P5 hero / P4 hero
- Prince Pincer: Skill by Detective Princes: Akechi / Naoto
- Severed Fate: Skill by heiresses unbound: Haru / Yukiko
- Presidential Combo: Skill by student council presidents: Makoto / Mitsuru
- Strike of Bonds: Skill by a heroine and her classmates: P3P heroine / Yukari / Junpei / Fuuka
- Roar of Hunger: Skill by three hungry lads: Yusuke / Shinjiro / Akihiko
- Trainee Air Raid: Skill by thieves and their disciple: Ken / Morgana / Ryuji / Ann
- Charge of Trust: Skill by a heroine and her senpai: P3P heroine / Mitsuru / Akihiko / Shinjiro
- Animal Capriccio: Skill by (mostly) loveable enigmas: Morgana / Teddie / Koromaru
- Pair of Aces: Skill by wild cards with guts of steel: P4 hero / P3 hero
- Destined Strike: Skill by a heroine and her new bonds: P3P heroine / Aigis / Koromaru / Ken
- Double Trigger: Skill by two mature wild cards: P5 hero / P3 hero
- Beauty Quartet: Skill by four beauties(?): Haru / Aigis / Rise / Teddie
- Triple Support: Skill by three navigators: Futaba / Rise / Fuuka*
- Martial Artistry: Skill by three martial artists: Makoto / Akihiko / Chie
- Partner Power: Skill by three partners(?) of the wild cards: Junpei / Yosuke / Ryuji
- Wildcard Order: Skill by four wild cards: P5 hero / P3P heroine / P4 hero / P3 hero*
The game has a theme that arches between P3, P4 and P5, namely death, truth and identity. The "identity" theme is connected between the Phantom Thieves of Hearts being criminals that rebel against the machinations of society and the game featuring characters that are considered outcasts due to being different from others, such as the P3P heroine who lacks any teammates to fight alongside her unlike the other Persona users, as well as the movie characters that are frequently persecuted and disrespected due to being different from their respective movie's other inhabitants. The "truth" theme is connected between the Persona 4 cast's desire to find the truth of the murders of Inaba and the fact that the final blow that made Hikari broke and fell into despair is because of a false belief that her father hated her, despite that clearly not being the case. The "death" theme is connected as the Persona 3 characters frequently put themselves into life and death situations and the fact that people who are trapped in the Cinema are actually forfeiting their lives, having subjected themselves to a state of apathy that equals death.
Much like the Persona 5 theme, PQ2 also discusses different problems in modern society, namely complete authoritarian or majority rule and emotional abuse towards children, depression, and the shut-in escapism that they result in.
- See also: List of Persona Q2 Party Members
- Hikari: A very shy girl who the persona users met in the theater. She seems to have issues communicating with people. She is voiced by Misato Fukuen.
- Nagi: The curator of the movie theater, trapped alongside Hikari inside the complex. Like everyone else, she is perplexed by the series of events taking place. She is voiced by Kikuko Inoue.
- Doe: A suspicious being lurking inside the projection room. He is the one who plays the movies that Hikari and Nagi watch. He doesn't speak, and he's jiggly to the touch. It never talks, even when spoken to. He is voiced by Kazuhiko Inoue.
- Hikari's Father: An old man who manifested as Doe in Hikari's cognition and is the only person who genuinely cared for her.
- Yosukesaurus: The "villain" of Junessic Land, he is not well liked by his fellow Herbivores for being different from them.
- Ribbon: The "villain" of A.I.G.I.S, she is put on execution bounty by the Overseer due to having a personality.
Persona 3 Portable
- Kamoshidaman: The "superhero" of his titular movie, he rules over his city, "Kamocity" with an iron fist.
- Herbivore Dinosaurs: The weak majority of Junessic Land, their stubbornness and selfishness causes them to be easy prey for carnivorous dinosaurs.
- Overseer: The A.I. ruler of A.I.G.I.S out to destroy all with a personality.
- Mother Computer: The true master of A.I.G.I.S.
- Enlil: The almighty being who is the true ruler of Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth's setting.
Early Purchase Bonus
There was an early purchase version of the game, which included the “Persona 3, 4, and 5 Battle BGM Set,” for free, which includes the following tracks:
- Persona 3: "Mass Destruction"
- Persona 3 Portable: "Wiping All Out"
- Persona Q: "Light the Fire Up in the Night 'DARK HOUR'"
- Persona 4: "Reach Out To The Truth"
- Persona 4 Golden: "Time To Make History"
- Persona Q: "Light the Fire Up in the Night 'MIDNIGHT'"
- Persona 5: "Last Surprise"
- Persona 5: "Life Will Change"
- Persona 5: "Will Power"
These tracks can be purchased as DLC for people who didn't purchase the game early. They cost $2.99 each, and require 2 Blocks of available storage.
The download code with first-print copies of the game includes a special Nintendo 3DS theme, though it is now available for free on the Nintendo Theme Shop. The music selected for said theme is an instrumental version of "Cinematic Tale."
Japan Release Announcement Trailer (August 4, 2018)
First Trailer PV (August 5, 2018)
Japan 15 Second Trailer (August 10, 2018)
Second Trailer PV
Battle Music DLC Trailer
Junessic Land Trailer
English Story Trailer
English Phantom Thieves Trailer
English Launch Trailer
P5 hero's trailer
P4 hero's trailer
P3 hero's trailer
P3P heroine's trailer
Caroline and Justine's trailer
- Every protagonist save for Persona 5's is voiced, and can be named.
- This is the first game in the Persona series that doesn't have an English voice-over.
- As it is implied that Akechi is still the traitor—based on his reluctance to return home and his absence during the epilogue—the events of PQ2 may take place during Niijima's Palace.
- This game contains the largest number of unique playable characters in any game in the Megaten franchise, having a grand total of 28. If Hikari is counted towards a playable character with a support role, the number goes to 29 instead.
- This is the first combat-based game in the Persona series after Persona 3 without any direct or implied Shadow Selves, although Cognitions with Shadow Self-like traits constantly appear throughout it.
- The quote at the start of the game is "We do not go astray because we do not know, but because we think we know" by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. This can refer to any of the following events in the game:
- The P3P heroine encountering what seems to be her SEES comrades in A.I.G.I.S and believing that they reunited with her, only to discover that they are not from her dimension and do not recognize her, which causes her to be struck with confusion, disappointment and alienation, as this means that she's alone.
- Hikari breaking down due to a belief that her father hated her, simply because of a question identical to one that each of her tormentors asked. Though unlike them, he had no intent of demeaning his daughter.
- The people trapped in the Cinemas in Enlil's realm believe that they cannot get out due to their depression and apathy, despite Enlil allowing them to leave at any time.
- Enlil's delusional belief that her "salvation plan" which involves trapping "weak" people in Cinemas will relieve their pain of living, but in fact inversely increases their pain further. She also believes that humanity is weak and needs her protection.
- A Graphic of Overall Persona Series Physical Game Sales in Japan for February 2020 Persona Central (Reggie, February 26, 2020)