Atlus recently took part in an interview with GameInformer, where they revealed a whole load of new tidbits and details about Persona 5. Here’s some of the highlights:
If you’ve been up to date you’ll know that Persona 5 tackles the theme of being an outcast from society. As Persona 5 director Katsura Hashino explains:
“Each of the characters, including the protagonist, has the mindset that – for one reason or another – they no longer have a place where they belong in society.”
But that’s not all there is to it. Apparently, the protagonists obtain the power to “steal people’s hearts,” and through this they get involved in the plot of the story:
“Rather than getting drawn into a strange case, the team throws themselves into the fray. Through their actions, they draw the attention of an even greater enemy… That’s how the game sets in motion.”
It sounds as though, where previous Persona titles (yes, even 1 and 2) had the protagonists passively reacting to actions of mysterious forces, the Persona 5 cast are the ones to trigger the events of their game. Hashino elaborated:
“…unlike Persona 3 or Persona 4, the protagonist and his team in this story aren’t being dragged into some sort of case or major crisis to resolve. The story begins with each of them looking for a sense of identity, and seeking to reform society with their own will.” He said, later adding “It’s quite different from the previous games’ protagonists who had no choice but to solve the mysteries they were confronted with.”
That’s sure to be an interesting difference. This is pure speculation, but could this make Persona 5 more choice-driven than past games?
Continuing the themes of being outcasts from society, the main cast are the embodiment being on the periphery of society. The protagonist is a “roguish antihero” with “a nuance of brash audacity to his character.” Ryuji has a “mischievous personality” and wants to “reform society and make their names infamous around the world.” Sounds like a standard Magician Arcana second-in-command like Michel/Junpei/Yosuke from Persona 2, 3 and 4 respectively. Ann is a transfer student from America who keeps her “emotional distance” because of her being foreign. Yusuke is “an oddball” with artistic talent, and Morgana is an anthropogenic cat mascot who makes cat puns. Well, Teddie had to get replaced some day.
Interestingly, Atlus didn’t confirm Morgana’s gender, and said that s/he would be the “prideful instructor”, and would have a “very particular set of standards for the expected aesthetics and conduct of a phantom thief.” That might explain how a bunch of high school students managed to accurately use a picaresque aesthetic given how before their time that concept would be. Hashino also said that the relationship between Morgana and the Protagonist would be “much closer than others you’ve seen in previous titles.” Mysterious.
On the topic of how these characters would be different, Hashino said that the alter egos (or Personas, see what they did there?) are “suppressed during their day-to-day school life” but are unleashed as their Personas during their night-time trips to “The Palace,” which apparently serves as the supernatural world for the protagonists to explore, much like Tartarus from Persona 3 or The TV World from Persona 4.
Hashino closed with a statement for American fans specifically:
“. We tried to mix a sense of familiarity with the supernatural, and show how things one might normally encounter or deal with in daily life might actually be connected to something far more extraordinary. The story is set in Japan, but we believe the theme is universal; mankind’s tendency to each view the world through their own individually distorted sense of reality – and its consequences on society and relationships – is a subject that resonates across the world.”
Persona 5 was slated for release at the end of 2015, but was delayed to Summer 2016 for “polish” in a move that angered some fans. Hopefully this will be the last delay, and fans will be ripping their masks off angrily and dancing to jazzy battle music soon.
Until then, we here at The Games Cabin will be constantly re-watching those gorgeous trailers over and over: