Appropriately, it all started at 5 AM for me.
For two and a half hours, that’s all we saw. A shot of Tokyo Tower in the skyline… and it was amazing. Why? The music, my friend. Two and half hours of Persona 5 background music as composed by the one and only Shoji Meguro. Granted it was a three song loop, but it was still incredible.
Then at 7:30 things began to pick up. We were greeted with reports from Tokyo Tower of the Phantom Thieves taking over. At 8, the lights went out and came back on to a bright glowing red. We heard the voice of Jun Fukuyama, the man behind the P5 protagonist and his Persona, and then PV04 began.
Three new characters, tons of music, and most importantly a release date for Japan: September 15th, 2016 – five days before the franchise’s 20th birthday (are you sensing a theme?).
Here’s what we know from the fourth trailer thus far. All three of the detailed new party members are ladies. The first, still unnamed, has dark short hair and is a combatant. She likely fights with her fists and her Persona would appear to be a motor bike. Yes, a motorcycle, for all of you Tatsuya Suou fanboys and fangirls.
I don’t agree with the theory that she’s from another school (her skirt resembles the Syujin High School uniform), but that’s a good guess that she is the Priestess arcana. One translation I’ve heard is that she is student council president, meaning the emblem would likely be a symbol of status. If she is student council or class president, that makes me wonder if she’s a 3rd year student, which would make her the first cast member to hold that distinction since Akihiko and Mitsuru in Persona 3. What is apparent is she seems to be hyper aggressive and a total badass. Already she has a lot of fans.
Speaking of making a lot of fans…
Our new navigator would appear to be named Sakura Futaba and is the Hermit arcana (according to observant Japanese viewers). She’s likely a hacker by trade, her Persona is a shaped like a UFO and seems to draw its influence from Eldritch/Lovecraftian horror given its name is “Necronamicon.” That is the coolest thing I have ever seen and the Internet is already head over heels for this girl. Also of note is that nowhere in the trailer does she appear to be wearing the Syujin uniform which may mean, like Yusuke, she doesn’t attend our protagonist’s high school.
Finally there’s the girl – also nameless – that refers to herself as the beautiful theif.
Note: I wouldn’t think her name is actually “Adieu.” (French for “goodbye”)
What an entrance. With these three ladies, alongside Ann, we now know our P5 main cast girls, so allow the waifu wars to begin anew. It would seem Katsura Hashino and his team have crafted four strong, unique female characters for us to get to know and welcome to the Persona family.
After PV04 came yet another director’s interview with Hashino. There isn’t an English subtitled version yet, but I’ll make another post when translated versions of this and the trailer are inevitably made by dedicated fans. Regardless, you can still check out all the awesome gameplay that’s shown during the interview. Dungeon crawling looks to be based on tearing the masks off of Shadows or whatever the monsters will be called, which frees the Personas inside and allows the real battle to begin.
The user-interface looks spectacular and commands/attacks are now mapped to buttons on the controller, allowing for a faster and more streamlined combat experience. As I’ve said before, it’s clear that when it comes to dungeon gameplay and combat, Persona 5 is going to simply crush its predecessors and make this aspect of the game something to be cherished and savored.
After this, the stream shifted gear to focusing on release information. Box art was finally revealed, which is in line with the covers of the original Persona 3 and Persona 4 in terms of style.
Not surprisingly, a special edition was also announced. It will come with an art book, a special CD set featuring arrangements from Persona 1-5 to commemorate the series’ 20th anniversary, and bonus DLC. The DLC includes special P5 themed versions of Orpheus and Izanagi – the Personas of the P3 and P4 protagonists respectively -, Persona 3’s Gekkoukan High School uniform costumes, and Persona 4’s Yasogami High School uniform costumes alongside background music from each game to go with the costumes.
You may also have noticed from the trailer and definitely from the cover art that there is also one more party member that has yet to be showcased. Nothing is known about the young man at the top right of the cover, but given his appearance with the rest of the Phantom Thieves as well as being included with the DLC previews, it’s safe to say he’s a party member and another combatant. That brings our party up to nine members: four guys, four girls, and Morgana. It also means that the Phantom Thieves are a larger group than P4’s Investigation Team and on equal footing with P3’s SEES (in its final incarnation, anyway).
Atlus also confirmed that the previously announced Persona 5 anime would be airing sometime in September. It will act as a prologue to the game and is called “Persona 5 the Animation: The Day Breakers.” Whether this is a one-off episode or will develop into a fully animated series further down the line, just like Persona 4 the Animation, remains to be seen. Personally, I’m greatly looking forward to this. Depending on the focus of this animated special, we may be getting a canonical (or close to it) name for the protagonist prior to playing the game.
Before the stream ended it was confirmed that we won’t have to wait long to hear from Atlus and P5 again. Persona 5 has been confirmed to be appearing in Los Angeles next month for E3.
Cross your fingers that this may mean P5 is apart of Sony’s keynote press conference and that we may be getting release information for the west next month.
Finally, after the stream’s close, news was reported that P5 will be featured in next week’s issue of Famitsu with details on the new ladies and their Personas. Persona Central also reports that there will be another interview with Hashino that will cover the inhabitants of the Velvet Room and Igor’s “double life” – whatever that means.
Reaction: It’s hard to put into words. I loved it. All of it. Atlus clearly sat on this information and release date for a very long time just so that they could have the flair of announcing all of this on 5/5. That doesn’t surprise me, because that’s simply how Atlus rolls.
I love the girls. The three new ones as well as Ann. The main character aside, the ladies feel like the life of the team compared to what I’ve seen of Ryuji, Yusuke, and to a lesser extent Morgana (though Morgana is female too). The three girls that debuted today all seem unique but intimidating and awe-inspiring in their own way. All my Twitter timeline could do this morning was meltdown over how awesome they were and which one was each of their favorites. That may seem like dumb, ‘waifu’ culture, but it really was a reflection of just how good of a job Hashino and the P-Studio team did making appealing characters that I can’t wait to meet and get to know like I did with P4’s Investigation Team.
The release date was no surprise, as many had speculated that it would be exactly September 15th (which fell in line with the rumor/leak from last month). I would have preferred a larger buffer between Persona 5 and Final Fantasy XV, which releases on September 30th, but it’s clear why Atlus wanted this date. The question now is, when are Atlus USA and SEGA going to follow through with localization? The seven month window it will take for Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse to reach the United States doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence right now, but Atlus USA is still teasing something big for E3 and now we know for sure P5 will be in L.A. in some capacity. I wouldn’t hold my breath for simultaneous release or anything close to it, but I’m hopeful that the game will be out here in the fall with early December at the latest. It would be painful to see Persona 5’s localization to slip into 2017.
I am also very curious to read a translation of Hashino’s interview in Famitsu next week as it pertains to Igor.
Those familiar with Igor’s Japanese voice will know he sounded much different at the end of PV04. The reason for that is actually outside of Atlus’ control, as sadly his original voice actor passed away in 2010. Atlus had been using recycled recordings of him from Persona 3 and Persona 4 ever since to fill out content in Persona 4 the Animation and the Persona 3 the Movie series in Japan. What’s interesting is that the new casting could not sound more unlike the original Igor. I’m curious if this somehow plays into the supposed “double life” of Igor we’re just now hearing of. Igor has always been a mysterious character in the Persona story world and his relationship with the new protagonist may be much different than the ones he held with previous heroes. You know, seeing as the Velvet Room is now a jail and the main character has been depicted as a prisoner there.
That’s all for now. Stay tuned for fan-subtitled versions of PV04 and Hashino’s interview and hopefully more translated updates next week from Famitsu.
Correction: It’s the first girl that is said to be a student president of some kind. Not much is known about the third girl, except that she seems to be recruited by Morgana directly and refers to herself as the Beautiful Thief.
Another note: On May 6th, publications state the proper spelling to be “Anne.” The first official releases have it spelled to be “Ann.”