Persona 5 is the sixth mainline entry in Atlus's long running Persona role-playing franchise, which itself is a sub-series of Shin Megami Tensei. The game was officially revealed during a live stream on November 24, 2013 and was initially announced with a target release window of winter 2014 for the PlayStation 3. Series director and producer Katsura Hashino has stated that he wanted to "add things that are being expected of the series" as well as "change things that can be changed within those boundaries." After several delays the game was finally given a firm September 15, 2016 release date for Japan along with a February 14, 2017 date for North America. Persona 5 is being developed by Studio P and will be published by Atlus for both the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.
Persona 5 will be set in a high school similar to that of Persona 3, however the atmosphere of the school life will be completely different from that of Persona 3 and Persona 4. The game will deal with the theme of experiencing the emotion of joy after overcoming certain trials, freeing oneself of their "chains", represented by the chair and chains motif found in the game's pre-release advertising campaign.
Protagonist (Named by the player in-game)
VA: Jun Fukuyama
- Codename: Joker
- Weapons: Knife and Pistol
- Persona: Arsène
A 16-year-old high-school student who has just transferred to Syujin High School in Tokyo. He secretly dons a fancy butterfly mask and moonlights as a thief, leading a small crew called the "Phantom Thieves of Hearts." Currently lives out of Cafe Le Blanc, run by a friend of his parents.
Ryuji Sakamoto (坂本 竜司)
VA: Mamoru Miyano
A yellow haired boy, the Protagonist's schoolmate and partner-in-crime. A "problem child" who acts out in impulsive ways that wear out the patience of his teachers. A former track-and-field star nicknamed the "Track Traitor" after supposedly abandoning his teammates at a tournament. Wears a skull mask.
Anne Takamaki (高巻 杏)
VA: Nana Mizuki
- Codename: Panther
- Weapons: Whip and SMG
- Persona: Carmen
A quarter-American blonde girl who attends the same school as Ryuji and The Protagonist, she feels isolated from her peers for not being full-blooded Japanese and keeps to herself. She joins the Protagonist in his heists. Wears a cat mask.
VA: Ikue Otani
A shapeshifting, cat-like creature that joins the protagonist as a seasoned cat burglar, though Morgana takes offense to being called a "cat" by anyone. Morgana claims to be a human who was stuck in its current form.
Yusuke Kitagawa (喜多川 祐介)
VA: Tomokazu Sugita
- Codename: Inari
- Weapons: Katana and Rifle
- Persona: Goemon
An honor student at Kosei High School and a live-in disciple of the master painter, Madarame. He wears a fox mask.
Makoto Niijima (新島 真)
VA: Rina Sato
A senior high-school student and straight-laced President of the Student Council in Syujin High School who refuses to compromise on anything, bottling up her own emotions inside. Her strong sense of justice eventually leads her to join the Protagonist's crew.
Futaba Sakura (佐倉 双葉)
VA: Aoi Yuki
- Codename: Navi
- Weapons: [tbd]
- Persona: Necronomicon
Known online as "HoneyOTU," a nerdy shut-in girl who helps the Protagonist and his party navigate through their heists. She wears a pair of big black goggles with orange lenses as her mask.
Haru Okumura (奥村 春)
VA: Haruka Tomatsu
A mysterious "Beautiful Phantom Thief" (美少女怪盗) who wears a classic bandit mask, complementing a Musketeer-style hat with a plumed feather. Allegedly the daughter of a rich food-service CEO who has become bored with her sheltered life and seeks the thrill of a thief's lifestyle. Later joins the Protagonist in his heists.
Goro Akechi (明智 吾郎)
VA: Sōichirō Hoshi
- Codename: Crow
- Weapons: [tbd]
- Persona: Robin Hood
A high-school student who moonlights as a private detective and has solved many cases. He joins the Protagonist's crew later in the story.
VA: Masane Tsukayama
The master of the Velvet Room who sets the Protagonist off on his journey. Capable of fusing new Personas by "executing" current ones.
Caroline and Justine
VA: Haruka Tomatsu (Caroline), Aki Toyosaki (Justine)
Young twins who take up the duties of assisting Igor within the Velvet Room. Both wear an eyepatch over one eye and are dressed in prison guard-style uniforms. Justine has her hair in a long braid and a hat with the letters "O-Y-O-O," while Caroline wears her hair in a bun and has a hat with the letters "X-M-R-N." Caroline is supposedly an ill-tempered girl while Justine is more of a calm, quiet type.
Owner of the Military Shop "Untouchable". Sells weapons to the Protagonist and his party, and offers discounts in exchange for helping him smuggle items or destroy evidence.
Owner of the Takemi Medical Clinic, sells healing items to the Protagonist and uses him to experiment with newly-developed drugs.
VA: Jouji Nakata
The owner of Cafe Le Blanc and a friend of the Protagonist's parents, who offers to take him in when he transfers schools to Tokyo. Offers to give the protagonist SP-healing coffee in exchange for working at the cafe.
On top of the game, a tie-in anime adaptation entitled Persona 5 The Animation: The Day Breakers has been slated for release in September, shortly before the game itself is released in Japan. The anime is expected to be a special prologue chapter leading into the story of the game.
Persona 5 started development after that of Catherine's ended in 2011. It was initially planned to be developed for handheld platforms, however the development staff decided against this and chose the PlayStation 3 as they figured the majority of fans wanted Persona 5 to be an HD experience.
In September of 2009, Shoji Meguro was listed on Sony's site as the producer for the game. Meguro has served as the music composer for all entries in the Persona series to date and also served as the director of the PSP remake of the original Persona. His official capacity in regards to development on Persona 5 was officially revealed in the Persona 5 trailer, where he is credited as the game's composer.
In interviews upon the release of Catherine, Meguro stated he'd be able to discuss the RPG that he and Hashino were developing following Catherine's release. This RPG was presumed to be Persona 5.
In a Famitsu interview discussing developers' aspirations for the new year of 2012, it was stated by Atlus that "that title you’ve been waiting for may be announced." The title in question was presumed to be Persona 5.
Shortly after the release of Persona 4 Arena (August 2012), Katsura Hashino stated that the Persona Team was now fully focusing on Persona 5, and that master artist Shigenori Soejima has submitted several sketches for the next numbered entry in the series.
"Let's go ahead and declare it: preliminary preparation for the next numbered title is basically finished, and from here on out development will be going at full speed... The theme is more or less set, and the staff are all even more enthusiastic about challenging themselves than they were after Persona 3." Hashino had stated. Hashino would be directing the game, with Shigenori Soejima doing character design and Shoji Meguro as sound composer.
Interviews had stated that the Persona team had developed Catherine as a testbed for Persona 5, however it has been said that they will not be using the Gamebryo engine for Persona 5, instead opting for an engine they created specifically for the title.
On November 24, 2013, Atlus officially revealed Persona 5 through a live stream. Not a lot of information regarding the game was shown, but a release date of "Winter 2014" was shown. It was also confirmed to be a PlayStation 3 title, suggesting that it's exclusive for the platform since no mention of Xbox 360 was made. The trailer also confirmed involvement from Katsura Hashino, Shigenori Soejima, and Shoji Meguro.
A single sentence regarding the game was teased in the trailer: "You are slave. Want emancipation?"
The chairs featured in the original teaser is a setting from a Japanese high school classroom. The theme of Persona 5 will focus on the emotion of joy after overcoming trials (thus freeing yourself from chains, pictured in the teaser with chains around school chairs), which could be some form of criticism against the strict and stressful Japanese school system.
During Sony's SCEJA Press Conference in 2014 a new released date of 2015 was announced and it was also revealed that Persona 5 would be released on the PlayStation 4 as well as the PlayStation 3. The very first gameplay trailer for Persona 5 was included on a Blu-Ray disc in the first-print run of Persona 4: Dancing All Night but did not mention anything about the game's launch date. At Tokyo Game Show 2015 the title was delayed yet again to Summer 2016. A more concrete release date was not announced until May 5, 2016 when Atlus held a live-stream event where they revealed a new trailer along with a Japanese release date of September 15, 2016. On June 7, 2016 the official Playstation blog announced that the game had been given a release date of February 14, 2017 for North America.
Atlus announced via livestream on November 16, 2016 that Persona 5 would be delayed for North American and European audiences. The new release date is scheduled for April 4, 2017. The new release date brings with it additional recorded dialog and the option for the original Japanese audio as DLC.