"The ambitions of god and human clash amidst the horror of a dying world. Neither human nor demon, the newly-forged Nahobino and his friends must decide what is worth saving... and prepare to sacrifice everything in its name. In a world without its Creator, which path will you choose?"
Shin Megami Tensei V is the fifth numbered game of the Shin Megami Tensei series, developed by Atlus for the Nintendo Switch. It was released worldwide near-simultaneously on November 11th, 2021 in Japan and other regions in Asia, while launching on November 12th in the west.
The Throne of Creation grants vast power to reshape the world to their liking to the one who assumes it. In a world of myriad gods, known as Nahobino, many have fallen in pursuit of the throne, but it would eventually belong to the God of Law, who robbed the Knowledge of his underlings to prevent anyone from being able to take it for themselves, reducing the "Nahobino" to demons. Their Fruit of Knowledge was secreted away by the Creator.
Eventually, a serpent, or rather the God of Chaos Lucifer, would tempt the mortals to eat their Fruit of Knowledge, with the promise they'll become more like God, but his true intentions were to revive the war of the myriad gods, infusing humans with Knowledge closer to gods. In a fit of rage, the Creator would banish humans from his paradise. This would make the humans target for demons, as their key to becoming Nahobino again is through the fusion of their other half that wields their stolen Knowledge. On the other hand, angels, another breed of demons, would be loyal to the God's creations and laws, obeying him without question. That would also mean becoming a Nahobino would be smearing their loyalty and honor for them, and as such are opposed to it.
After a war between angels and demons, titled Armageddon, spanning 18 years before the events of the game, humanity would be wiped out from the face of the earth in the matter of moments. Additionally, Lucifer would declare that he has slain their God, leaving the victory to the side of chaos, with Lucifer using the God's Knowledge to transcend to a higher plane of existence. However, the God's Shekinah Glory has reshaped the world back into its original form as if nothing happened, but that reality is only an illusion, and the desolated Tokyo is still active behind the scenes.
In the regular world, where the public is oblivious to the truth, various murder incidents caused by mysterious figures would begin to bloom within Tokyo, leaving the city in a state of alert and unease. A global force by the name of Bethel, aware of the truth, who has also participated in the war, worked in secrecy to protect their world against these demons, taking the side of the angels. The Japan branch in particular has lost most of its fighting force in Armageddon.
The protagonist, a high school student living an ordinary life within that reality, has also had his school, as an oblivious authority, attempt to take countermeasures against these incidents, having students follow a buddy system on their way back to the dorms. After having to look for other students who wandered off, with one looking for the other, they wander into another world called the "Netherworld," or "Da'at." After being confronted by demons, a mysterious man Aogami locates him and, under the pretense that the protagonist's life is endangered, he follows his order, fusing with him and becoming a Nahobino.
While exploring Da'at, the protagonist encounters the other students who've made their way into Da'at as well: Yuzuru Atsuta, an honor student at the protagonist's school, Jouin High School, who has also worked with Bethel, as well as Ichiro Dazai, an ordinary student, but one that doesn't have confidence in himself and doesn't know what is right or wrong.
After returning back to their world, Prime Minister of Japan and chief of Bethel Hayao Koshimizu offers the protagonist to work for them, and Ichiro joins in as well as he wants to help protect Tokyo.
Meanwhile, as the students return back to their normal lives, a victim of bullying, Sahori Itsukishima, draws in demon Lahmu looking for his human's Knowledge to become a Nahobino, eventually entering their world and raiding Jouin High School with other demons, who kidnap various students from the academy, taking them with them in Da'at. Lahmu's tempts his own target, Sahori, with her Knowledge, using her vulnerabilities and fears to prey on her, getting her to join him, tempting her to get him to kill her bullies in vengeance, robbing her of any choice in their bargain, kidnapping her back in Da'at. Her friend Tao Isonokami, and the Saint of Bethel, deeply worried about her, joins the protagonist in their mission to help the kidnapped students, as well as defeat Lahmu and rescue Sahori.
Bethel and staff locate the kidnapped humans, the help of a fairy village in Da'at, its demon villagers aid its injured students, giving them a place to rest until they're ready to go back home. Meanwhile, with Lahmu found, even though the protagonist defeats him, Lahmu has successfully fused with Sahori, becoming a Nahobino of their own. The protagonist and Aogami step in his attempt to kill Tao, getting themselves killed instead. Tao would then hear the voice of a higher being, finding her role and becoming a goddess, sacrificing her life to revive the rest. Back on their feet, the protagonist approaches Lahmu, slaying him and Sahori in the process.
The protagonist would eventually step in the turf where the angels and demons would hold their war, and the region of the root cause of humanity's extinction. He would helping the angels in getting past the other side's obstacles, eventually infiltrating the Demon King's Castle and slaying their leader Arioch, defeating the forces of chaos.
But once Bethel has won, the branches almost instantly disperse, with most now interested in taking the Creator's throne for themselves, as he's now conclusively dead, with the Nahobino's very existence proving that fact. Bethel Japan also concludes that's their best course of action, as the fake Tokyo is starting to fade away, with the Creator's Shekinah Glory wearing off, and the existence of the Nahobino being irrefutable evidence of the death of the Creator. The protagonist, already a Nahobino, still needs three keys to access the Empyrean, each representing traits necessary for a God in their leadership: Austerity, Benevolence and Harmony, having to take the keys from other regional representatives of Bethel: Vasuki, Zeus and Odin respectively.
Upon reaching the Empyrean, the protagonist and Aogami will be confronted by 3 other pairs that share the same Knowledge and are befitting to become Nahobino:
- Yuzuru Atsuta & Hayao Koshimizu: The pair will take the throne with the intentions of recreating the world, where everyone is a god, instead of letting it to a single god. Their goals are based on their desire to protect Tokyo, especially after its ruin they have witnessed under the hands of the Creator, and are entrusting their myriad of gods to wield the power and to protect the world.
- Ichiro Dazai & Abdiel: Ichiro believes that a world of multiple gods will only cause them to tear each other apart in a fight of power, and it is all better to entrust their faith to one God. As they're all-seeing and all-knowing, they couldn't possibly lead humanity astray. The two go as far as to defy the Creator's will to enforce his order, even with Abdiel being willing to become a fallen angel for his order.
- Shohei Yakumo & Nuwa: The pair rejects godhood and creation entirely, and is planning to destroy the throne altogether, letting humanity build their own fate. Shohei has shown strong contempt against demons for twisting humans, and his loyalty to humanity comes from his belief in their potential, which also leads to his scorn for humans who have given up.
Depending on what side the protagonist chooses to support, the ending of the story will be greatly influenced. But if the protagonist claims the throne while on the side of creation, he will be forewarned by Lucifer of the endless cycle that will continue, with Da'at recreated, and the Nahobino of that world will inevitably slay him together with the world he would shape. Lucifer, referring to this as the "Mandala System," proposes to the protagonist he slays him if he wants to destroy this cycle and earn the freedom Lucifer searched for and found. Doing so will grant the protagonist permanent freedom to carry on without forthcoming resistance. Observing the state of the world he has shaped, he holds firm to his beliefs in the face of conflict.
But depending on whether uncertain criteria is fulfilled, if he chooses to destroy the throne, Nuwa will propose another possibility to the protagonist that he may uptake. The protagonist will then be able to instead choose to create a world for humans only, instead of destroying the throne altogether. In this path, the protagonist will still be confronted by Lucifer.
One common theme is the ambiguity of the truth, or rather Knowledge itself, initially leaving most of it concealed or confused. The state of the delayed war between the forces of Law and Chaos has been kept going on after an ambiguous conclusion, where it is at first unclear if Lucifer really did slay God or not: even then, normal demons may not remember who really won the war. The state of Tokyo has also been concealed at first, via the Creator's Shekinah Glory, concealing the tragedy that has happened. Lahmu would also confuse Itsukishima in her suffering, tempting her for his own gain of power. Even the subject of Knowledge, the part that made the demons Nahobino, has been robbed by them by their creator, making them incapable of reaching and claiming his power for themselves.
The subject of power in relation to this Knowledge is also examined, as once the representatives of Bethel, particularly Zeus and Odin, have finally confirmed God's death, would go out and try to claim the throne for themselves.
Although the game still follows the traditional alignment system between Law and Chaos, the table is only a model for the main point of the story, which focuses on the subject of recreation. The subject of recreation is explored in detail as well, in terms of examining possibilities on how one would govern the world through godhood, separating itself in the subjects of Order, Potential and Humanity.
On the subject of recreation, certain sides will support it, whereas others will oppose it. The subject gets more complicated when those who naturally support it get into a big argument of their own, in terms of how the ideal world should be created: Yuzuru Atsuta strives for a world where godhood is embraced, and the world is governed by multitude of gods, while Ichiro Dazai wants a world where only 1 god takes charge. Their conflict muddies as the former ignores the inevitable war his world will bring, whereas the latter embraces humanity's fate of living in blissful ignorance and in turn having their fate be decided by said God.
On the topic of being against recreation, Yakumo wishes to destroy the throne of creation, halting recreation and letting the world stay as is, leaving all already-existing abnormalities stay. He has faith in humanity's potential, but he isn't able to uphold it himself. This is because they've ignored another possibility entirely, particularly using the throne to get rid of gods and demons, creating a world for humanity only. But he isn't able to follow that ideal, as Nuwa would have to disappear along with the rest, forcing the two to bend their ideals in the name of their love.
The protagonist himself, depending on his contributions, can be described as righteous. Fionn commends him for his will to help the weak in a world where the strong dominate, saying he's constantly steering the world towards peace, making him befitting of a noble ruler. Other essential set of subquests related to the subject are Khonsu's desire to help Miyazu, who has his soul, and suffers from a terminal disease, denying fate and trying to turn her into a goddess. There's also Amanozako, who has been chased by Kurama Tengu, but upon their attempts to get the protagonist to give her to them, he doesn't, protecting her instead.
There are also certain destructive forces at play, direct parallels to the topic of recreation. In the main storyline, the protagonist will have to take down various forces, which merely wish to see the world destroyed. There's also Shiva, who has a more benevolent, although not righteous, outlook on destruction, believing beings themselves should be recreated by the world, instead of the other way around.
In the hidden ending, which involves completing all the subquests, if he doesn't seek creation (meaning he can only side with Yakumo and Nuwa's choice to destroy the throne,) upon Yakumo's death, Nuwa will decide to tell the protagonist about their former plans, granting him the possibility to choose to create a world for humanity only. This allows him to dispel the world of gods and demons, a conclusion stemming from his righteous nature.
Either way, if the protagonist decides to create an ideal world of his own, Lucifer will test the presence of his righteousness, by challenging him with the knowledge of how his ideals will be inevitably taken down by another due to the natural state of the world, and offering him absolute power that ends the cycle in return, which he will achieve upon defeating him. Lucifer examines this in the form of the Mandala system, a real-world political model relevant in early history that was based on local power, instead of modern forms of government such as kingdoms and nation states where everyone is congruent. The mandala could be described as multiple forms of power intersecting with one another, and hence the inevitable conflict. With Lucifer's death, the form of mandala is rid of and the protagonist's world would be everlasting. The subject is further examined in the "Humanity Only" ending, with the narrator provoking the question of whether the world really can exist without Mandala.
The sides of the conflict borrow various religious beliefs, integrating them in the game as potential forms of government:
- The side of god's order takes inspiration from Christianity, embodied by Abdiel, who defies her Lord's will to uphold his order.
- The side of the myriad gods relies on Shintoism, a Japanese religion. The side is represented by its head, Tsukuyomi, a kami from the religion.
- Buddhism is also taken note of through Goko, a monk who often observes the state of the war between law and chaos, and has a neutral stance on the problem at hand, having no interest in the throne for himself. Additionally, his true name is Amitabha, the principal figure in Amidism, and helps open the protagonist's vision once he claims the throne for himself.
- Main article: List of Shin Megami Tensei V Characters
- The protagonist - a third-year high school student of Jouin High School. After finding himself in Da'at after a tunnel collapse incident, he fuses with a mysterious man, becoming a Nahobino and using that power to fight demons.
- Aogami - a mysterious man that suddenly appears in front of the protagonist while he gets attacked by demons in Da'at. He proposes to him that he takes his hand if he wishes to live, letting them fuse together.
- Tao Isonokami - one of the protagonist's schoolmates of the same year. She has been aware of the existence of demons, and since her youth has she worked at Bethel, a global organization that fights demons in the real world.
- Yuzuru Atsuta - one of the protagonist's acquaintances at school. An honor student with a strong sense of justice. After wandering into Da'at, he also accepts the invitation to join Bethel, in order to protect his only relative and the peace of Tokyo.
- Ichiro Dazai - a student at Jouin Academy. He has a carefree personality, but performs poorly at school. He joins Bethel alongside the protagonist and Yuzuru after their experiences in Da'at, in order to prove his worth to a noble cause.
- Miyazu Atsuta - Yuzuru's younger sister and only relative. She is shy and weakly.
- Hayao Koshimizu - the prime minister of Japan and the head of the Japanese branch of Bethel.
- Sahori Itsukishima - A student at Jouin High School that gets captured by a certain demon while the school's being raided.
- Amanozako - a cheerful and energetic demon that often tags along with the protagonist, having grown a liking to him.
- Sophia - the lord of the World of Shadows. She aids the protagonist in fusing demons and similar facilities.
- Gustave - sells items at the Cadaver's Hollow. He leads a pack of Miman and asks the protagonist to look for them and have them return home.
- Shohei Yakumo - a mysterious man determined to slay all demons, and confronts the protagonist in Da'at.
- Nuwa - a mysterious demon allied with Shohei. She says she's been by his side since he was young.
- Abdiel - the archangel that leads the forces of Bethel.
- Lahmu - an ancient, vile god seeking his other half in goals of reaching the throne.
- Enemies that can be encountered now appear directly in the overworld, rather than as a silhouette.
- The Moon Phase System has returned as a mechanic.
- Magatsuhi skills are special types of skills that cost a full Magatsuhi gauge to execute. A majority of these skills are only available to certain races.
- Magatsuhi Crystals may be collected in the overworld, providing small restoration of health, mana, and Magatsuhi.
- Enemies can give away their own species' Essence, which allows the protagonist to implement their skills and affinities onto himself or his demon allies.
- Miracles are special abilities that grant various benefits, like the App system of the previous game. Each ability is to be unlocked separately, in exchange for Glory, which can be found through various means in Da'at.
- A new ailment has been added, called Mirage.
- Effects from Buff and Debuff skills, such as from Tarukaja, now only last 3 turns since its last use and are separated into single-target and AoE types. They still stack in ranks, but up to twice only. Casting a new buff, regardless of whether the buff's effects have been maximized, will renew the timer.
- Skills that pierce now ignore all resistances, as well as shields.
- Hama and Mudo-type skills now deal regular damage, with a chance of instant-kill to enemies that are weak to the respective element.
- Skill Potential, a spiritual successor to the Skill Affinities of Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse, now apply to the protagonist as well, instead of just the demons, and can be modified with his Miracles.
- Miman are scattered in Da'at, and finding them will have them give the protagonist Glory, and the shopkeeper Gustave may also reward him.
- Demon Statues can be found in the overworld, which increase ally demons' levels. The protagonist cannot level up via these means.
- Abscesses are obstacles in the overworld which spawn powerful enemies if approached and obscure the minimap. If destroyed, the protagonist will unlock new Miracles to learn.
New & Redesigned Demons
- Jack Frost (Fairy, minor redesign)
- Amanozako (Genma)
- Hayataro (Holy)
- Khonsu (Deity, redesigned)
- Abdiel (Herald, redesigned)
- Nuwa (Lady, redesigned)
- Lahmu (Vile)
- Fionn mac Cumhaill (Genma)
- Angel (Divine, redesigned)
- Daemon (Brute)
- Hydra (Drake, redesigned)
- Manananggal (Femme)
- Loup-garou (Beast)
- Idun (Megami)
- Aitvaras (Drake)
- Kaya-no-Hime (Jirae, redesigned)
- Artemis (Megami, DLC, redesigned)
- Tao (Panagia, guest party member)
Shin Megami Tensei V contains various DLC, all of which became available for purchase on the day of the game's release:
- Safety Difficulty: Free DLC. An easier difficulty than those available in-game.
- Japanese Voices: Free DLC, western release only. Includes voices from the Japanese dub of the game.
- Return of the True Demon: includes battles with the Fiends and the Demi-fiend, where defeating the former will have them unlocked for fusion, while the latter will grant "Demi-fiend's Essence."
- A Goddess in Training: a side quest involving goddess Artemis that's searching for a training partner. If the protagonist fights her and defeats her, she will be unlocked in demon fusion.
- The Rage of a Queen: formerly a representative and member of Bethel Egypt but stripped of her title, Cleopatra can be encountered and fought. Defeating her will unlock her for fusion.
- The Doctor's Last Wish: After a Bethel researcher has gone missing, the protagonist crosses paths with Mephisto. Certain conditions need to be fulfilled to unlock him for fusion.
- Mitama Dance of Wealth: This item will greatly increase the encounter rate of Saki Mitama. Mitama Dance items can be toggled on and off in the Options menu.
- Mitama Dance of EXP: This item will greatly increase the encounter rate of Ara Mitama and Kusi Mitama, which drop items that help level up demons and the protagonist respectively.
- Mitama Dance of Miracles: This item will greatly increase the encounter rate of Nigi Mitama, which drops Glory.
All of the paid DLC can be bought in a bundle at a discount. All of the DLC can also be bought alongside the base game, but there are no additional discounts aside from that. The free DLC is downloaded separately.
Aside from the Standard Edition, in Japan, the game has a 14,800 yen Limited Edition called Shin Megami Tensei V First Limited Edition "Forbidden Nahobino" Box, which includes:
- Special Case (based on the Tree of Knowledge from the game, the design of the case includes the eyes of the characters)
- Demon Artbook (A5 size, 116 pages)
- Mini-Soundtrack (35 songs in 2 CDs)
- Series Masterpiece Medley String Quartet Arrangement (A compilation of popular songs from the Shin Megami Tensei series, arranged in a string quartet.)
- A Nahobino T-Shirt (Design is a mixture of the protagonist's white and Aogami's blue.)
There is also an alternate edition, which includes just the game and a Jack Frost pin inside a black box. It can also be bought together with the limited edition of the game for 16,280 yen.
In the West
The Fall of Man Premium Edition, sold in the West, includes:
- Demon Hand Book
- 2-Disc Soundtrack
- Collectible Box
- Sling Bag (6'' x 11.5'')
There is also an alternate Steelbook edition, which only includes the steelbook.
"All the fountains of the great deep broke up and the windows of heaven were opened. In this lightless age of corruption we long for the dawn of a new messiah."
Producer Kazuyuki Yamai has said in an interview with Famitsu that he wants Shin Megami Tensei V to sympathize with the troubles that the world is currently going through such as terrorism, nuclear weapons, unemployment, the uneasiness about life retirement and other troubles at home and abroad. He wants people to look at the "characteristics of the time."
Shin Megami Tensei V is developed in Unreal Engine 4, the first time the engine is used by the developers. In the same interview, it was mentioned that said engine creates a new environment to work with when creating games as it allows them to create something and immediately check it out on the game screen, it gives the creators more time to spend on coming up with ideas and trial-and-error.
The game is expecting a release on the Nintendo Switch. On the team's choice of console, Yamai has expressed that the Switch is "charming," due to its ability to let users play HD quality games freely on the go. He also remarked about its flexibility as a hybrid console.
Since Shin Megami Tensei V is the first home console release from the mainline series in a while, he wants to create a hybrid with the charm of Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne and the fun demon upbringing elements of Shin Megami Tensei IV. As such they are experimenting with new elements to add to demon fusion.
In a 2017 trailer of the game, the keyword "Shekinah Glory," which translates to "God's Miracle" could be spotted. Yamai wants players to think about that keyword, and get a "true understanding" of it once they play the game.
The game was first teased on January 13th 2017 as "Shin Megami Tensei HD," or a "brand new work in the series," later revealed to be its fifth installment in October 23rd during a livestream, and that it would plan release on the Nintendo Switch.
During the Nintendo Direct Mini: Partner Showcase on July 20th, 2020, the game was shown off for the first time since 2017. It was also announced the game would receive a simultaneous worldwide release in 2021. A year later, on June 15th, 2021, during E3 2021, it was announced the game would release on November 11th in Asia, and later on the 12th in the West.
A few days later after the announcement at E3, on June 17th, a Daily Demon series was started on Atlus JP's YouTube channel (atlustube), which showcases a certain recruitable demon of 214 from the game each day, and the pace would eventually accelerate to two videos a day. A majority of these were uploaded before the release of the game, with a remaining few being left for after that, but at a nearly weekly pace.
In addition to that, another series, called "Shin Megami Tensei V News" began on June 21st, showcasing and explaining information about the game. It follows a format of a regular real-life news program, with Chiaki Matsuzawa as its announcer. Although the videos have been uploaded only in Japanese, they have been given official subtitles in English, Korean and Traditional Chinese.
Another minor series is "Osamurai-chan's SMT Challenge," a side show hosted by Japanese comedian O'Samurai-chan, where he undertakes various challenges. It has been captioned in Korean and Traditional Chinese initially, with English captions arriving later around the upload of the 2nd episode.
The game also made an appearance on Tokyo Game Show 2021 on October 2nd, where unreleased footage and a live playthrough has been displayed.
Aside from publicity events and YouTube series, the game has also been promoted in Japan via merchandise (specifically upcoming Nintendo Switch accessories,) and the Demon Colosseum, a limited-time lottery event hosted on the game's website.
The promotional process has been concluded with a release eve stream, which occurred hours before the day of release.
Streams & Gameplay
In Other Languages
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- Shin Megami Tensei V is the first game in the series to have a simultaneous worldwide release, although the game came out in the West a day later.
- The game's release date, "2021.11.11," may be a reference to the title's roman numeral "V", instead written with five "I" (1) symbols.
- Shin Megami Tensei V shares many of its UI elements with Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE, such as skill, ailment and buff icons, the color scheme and the level up screen.
- In the English dub of the game, all demons who have origins of Japanese mythology entities are left undubbed, instead keeping their voice lines from the Japanese version.
- From 6/17 to 6/20/2021, free gems were given as a login bonus in Shin Megami Tensei: Liberation Dx2 to commemorate the reveal of the release date of Shin Megami Tensei V.
- On November 9th, 2021 a Shin Megami Tensei V AR filter featuring Jack Frost was added to Facebook and Instagram.
- Starting on November 11th in Japan, in commemoration of the release of Shin Megami Tensei V, a Jack Frost icon will appear at the end of related hashtags: #真V, #真・女神転生V, #SMT5, #SMTV and #ShinMegamiTenseiV.
- Official Japanese website
- Official English website
- Official Korean website
- Official Traditional Chinese website
- Nintendo Switch page (US)
- Nintendo Switch page (CA)
- Nintendo Switch page (UK)
- Nintendo Switch page (AU)
- Nintendo Switch page (JP)
- Nintendo Switch page (KR)
- Nintendo Switch page (HK)
- Japanese Charts: Shin Megami Tensei V Goes Straight To Number One, Nintendo Life (Ryan Craddock, November 18th, 2021)
- ゲームメーカー60社の年賀状を一挙公開。年賀状とともに新年のお祝いメッセージをお届け！【年始特別企画】(1/7), Famitsu (2022.01.01)
- ゲームメーカー60社の年賀状を一挙公開。年賀状とともに新年のお祝いメッセージをお届け！【年始特別企画】(2/7), Famitsu (2022.01.01)
- Shin Megami Tensei V has sold 1 million units worldwide!
Character Designer Masayuki Doi has created a special illustration to celebrate! Thank you so much for your support! #SMT5, Twitter (@Atlus_West, Apr 18, 2022)
- 『真・女神転生V』 初回限定版「禁断のナホビノBOX」の内容をご紹介！, atlus.co.jp (June 16th, 2021)
- Shin Megami Tensei V Is Being Made To Sympathize With The World’s Current Troubles, Siliconera (October 24, 2017)
- Atlus On Why Shin Megami Tensei V Is A Nintendo Switch Game, Kotaku (Brian Ashcraft, October 26, 2017)
- MSSPがはじめての『真・女神転生V』にチャレンジ！, atlus.co.jp (2021.11.06)
- 『真・女神転生V』ガッチマンVさん先行実況プレイ！ , atlus.co.jp (2021.11.07)
- 『真・女神転生V』ガッチマンVさん先行実況プレイ！, atlus.co.jp, (2021.11.01)
- Shin Megami Tensei 5 - Tokyo Mirage HUD comparison BuffMaister, YouTube.com (June 18, 2021)