By Tyler Lubben / February 9th, 2015
Following the trailer last week that had so many of us bouncing off the walls, Famitsu has come out with several new details for Atlus’s upcoming RPG, Persona 5, explaining just what was seen in that trailer, as well as new information that’s sure to keep fans drooling.
First of all, key members of the staff, as revealed in the trailer, were officially announced. Katsura Hashino, who has either directed or produced every Persona title since P3, will be returning once again for P5. Character designer Shigenori Soejima, who has been involved in Shin Megami Tensei games since the 90s will also be returning. Finally, composer Shoji Meguro will also be lending his musical talents yet again (in case you couldn’t already tell just from listening to the trailer).
In case you aren’t excited just seeing “the old gang back together,” story and character details have also come to light. As is the case yet again, the bespectacled protagonist of P5 is an exchange student moving to the city at the beginning of the school year. He lives with a friend of his parents’ who owns a coffee shop on the outskirts of town. The hero also makes friends with his (quite literally) partners in crime, Ryuji Sakamoto and Ann/Anzu Takamaki, due to their shared experiences of losing a home. Meanwhile, the mysterious cat creature, Morgana, will be important to the plot. The protagonist’s persona, Arsene, also may or may not be connected to a notorious thief. Soejima mentioned that the main character’s seemingly shy and unassuming demeanor from the original reveal trailer is a “profound ruse,” though that seems pretty clear after seeing last week’s video.
On the story side of things, the hero’s mission appears to be a bit more personal than the more sweeping world-ending events that the teams in P3 and P4 had to deal with. He seems to have some kind of problem that, if it doesn’t get addressed, could “spell big trouble in the future.” The image of the protagonist in prison garb behind bars is apparently some kind of “mental prison.” Given that the Velvet Room appears to follow this motif – with the new assistants even dressed as prison guards – it very well may be that our new hero is somehow beholden to the mysterious Igor, but that’s just wild speculation on my part.
As far as gameplay goes, Persona 5’s combat system is still going to be a turn-based affair, but Hashino has stated that the mechanics have gone through a few changes to make the experience feel more streamlined, though what these changes exactly are remain to be seen. Each party member will also be able to equip individualized guns and melee weapons for use in combat, though these are apparently “not real guns.” Whether this means they’re makeshift weapons or simply gun-like implements like the evokers in P3 is not clear. Hashino also mentioned that many of the personas are being rendered for the first time in HD, noting the difficulties of that process, though he is remaining tight-lipped on why the main characters were shown battling personas like Sandman and Pyro Jack in the trailer, and what purpose this may serve for the greater game. He also said that, while there are still randomly-generated elements to the gameplay, key locations are designed to be played a specific way conducive to the game’s burglary theme and will have “special gimmicks.”
Probably the biggest element of the Persona games, in my opinion, is the social mechanic, so I was interested to see what Hashino had to say about that. Players will apparently be able to work with individuals around the city sympathetic to the player’s cause. This will play in to the “Cooperation” option teased on the game’s Pause screen in the trailer. This will apparently aid players in combat somehow, but exactly how remains a mystery. Persona 5 will also feature the Social Link-like mechanics for which the series has come to be known. However, it appears as though the system will be changed somewhat this time around, though it will still serve to help players become more powerful.
At this point, any elaboration that the Persona team can make on the new game is hugely exciting, so it was great to see what they had to say on the new trailer. Are you excited to see the changes the devs are bringing to the new game, or are you getting worried that it may be getting away from what a Persona game is supposed to be? Let us know in the comments.
Persona 5 is planned to release later this year.
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