While other games are getting pushed into 2017 and beyond, Persona 5 is sticking resolutely with this list - at least in Japan.
Atlus announced today that Persona 5 will be launching September 15 in Japan - some eight years after Persona 4 first debuted on the PlayStation 2. In that time, we've seen multiple new Shin Megami Tensei games, as well as several Persona remakes and updates, but no sequel. But while SMT certainly has a large fanbase, there's never been any doubt that Persona 5 is the main event here in North America, and Atlus looks like it will deliver.
In addition to revealing Persona 5's Japanese release date, Atlus dropped a new trailer (in Japanese), which you can check out above.
As before, there's a distinct "master criminal" motif, with many of the characters wearing black kato masks (even the mascot has mask-like markings). It's also a bit more of a throwback to the original Shin Megami Tensei, with the tall buildings and bright neon lights of Tokyo replacing the more rustic aesthetic of Persona 4, which was set in the country. Interestingly, several of the battles seem to be set in cyberspace, which is another foundational element of Shin Megami Tensei, the original story's character being someone who could communicate with demons via a computer program.
Beyond the game's general stylishness, which is a given at this point, series veterans should be heartened by what looks like some pretty elaborate dungeons. Great as Persona 3 and 4 were, their dungeons weren't much more than a series of hallways, so it's nice to see what might be actual puzzle-solving in Persona 5. Naturally, seeing Persona's familiar turn-based combat is quite welcome as well.
What's most important, though, is that Persona 5 seems to have all the elements that made Persona so popular in the first place: the outrageous stylishness, the large world filled with interesting people to meet and things to do, and the in-depth demon fusion system. There's quite simply nothing like Persona out there right now. Even better, it'll be on the PlayStation 4 as well as the PlayStation 3, giving it a wide audience on console.
With Persona 5 now confirmed for 2016 in Japan, it looks like JRPG fans will be getting two of their white whales in the same year. It'll be going to head-to-head with Final Fantasy XV, which launches worldwide on September 30. It should make for some fascinating comparisons.
As for a North American release, nothing has been confirmed yet; but barring an unforseen localization issue, it should be out at roughly the same time as the Japanese version, give or take a couple months. After eight years of waiting, I'm more than ready.