If Persona 5 wasn't lengthy enough for you at right around 100 hours, then we've got good news. Persona 5 Royal, the stylish re-release from Atlus, has a brand new epilogue chapter bolted on where the original game ends. Royal's new epilogue adds roughly 15 new hours to the original story, expanding on the stories of new characters Takuto Maruki and Kasumi Yoshizawa, and also the infamous Akechi, who plays a big role in the brand-new third semester.
Spoiler Warning: This article contains spoilers for Persona 5 Royal's new endings, as well as the original ending to 2017's Persona 5.
At the climax of the 'true' ending of 2017's Persona 5, Joker and the gang ascended a monolithic, skeletal structure jutting high into the sky above Tokyo. Here they felled the God of Control, saved humanity from ultimate ruin, and afterwards gave the protagonist one final goodbye trip into the sunset aboard a campervan.
But what happens when a god leaves society? Another one takes its place, according to Persona 5 Royal. Stepping into the mantle of the savior of humanity after the God of Control is defeated is none other than Takuto Maruki, counsellor to the Shujin Academy students and newcomer character to Persona 5 Royal.
Maruki is a secret Persona user, gaining the power after he wasn't able to save his fiance from an attack that left her emotionally devastated. The counselor swore to help anyone and everyone in his power, and one of the first people that he would exercise this newfound power on was none other than Kasumi Yoshizawa, gymnast extraordinaire and fellow newcomer to Persona 5 Royal. Maruki's power is never fully explained, all we're left to go on is the knowledge that he can alter a person's cognition, and effectively warp reality to his will.
As we learn, she's not Kasumi Yoshizawa. Prior to the events of Persona 5 Royal, there were two twin sisters: Kasumi and Sumire Yoshizawa. While Kasumi ascended to fame and glory in the world of gymnastics, the younger twin, Sumire Yoshizawa, always lagged behind her, living in her twin's shadow.
One day, as they were walking the bustling streets of Tokyo, Sumire attempted suicide by running into a busy road. Pushed out of the way at the last second, Sumire was saved by Kasumi, who took a fatal hit from a car for her twin, killing herself in the process. Sumire was saved, but was unable to live with the guilt of having caused her twin's death. She pleaded with Maruki to help her, and he changed Sumire's cognition to believe she was actually Kasumi Yoshizawa, taking the place of her deceased twin.
After the fall of the God of Control, Maruki assumes a position of power, taking it upon himself to save mankind. He creates an alternate reality that the protagonist unknowingly awakens in after the battle with the God of Control, one in which every Phantom Thief has the reality that they desire. Maruki counseled each of the Phantom Thieves that attended Shujin Academy after all, so he naturally knows what they long for—Ryuji wanted to be back on the track team, while Haru wished for her father to still be alive, for example.
The first portion of the new third semester in Persona 5 Royal is spent convincing your fellow Phantom Thieves that they're all living in a fake reality that only the protagonist is aware of, for some reason. You need to visit Ryuji, Ann, Haru, Makoto, Yusuke, and yes, even Morgana, who has now transformed into an unsettlingly attractive young man with piercing blue eyes. It's a tough conversation to have with each of them, especially those that are with dearly missed loved one, like Futaba hanging out with her formerly-deceased mother.
Oh, and Akechi's still alive. I have literally no clue how or why, but the former ace detective shows up alive just after the fight with the God of Control, offering to turn himself in and testify against Masayoshi Shido, the corrupt Prime Minister and primary antagonist of the main game. Aware of the false reality in which he's living, Akechi aids the protagonist in fighting back against the fake reality created by Maruki.
One person that's a little more complex is Kasumi, or rather Sumire Yoshizawa. Joining you for a jaunt in a Palace that mysteriously appears out of thin air at the beginning of the third semester, Sumire realizes she's living a false life as her twin Kasumi, at which point she pleads with Maruki once again to turn her back into Kasumi and let her live in the fake reality. The protagonist and Akechi then battle Kasumi, persuading her to stop running from reality and join your cause in fighting Maruki.
At this point, there are three main endings to Persona 5 Royal. There's the 'bad' ending, where you fail to stop Maruki by his imposed deadline, effectively failing his Palace. Then there's an ending where you voluntarily submit to Maruki's reality, and finally there's the one 'true' ending to the game.
The Bad Ending
Maruki gives you a deadline of February 3 to conquer his Palace and steal his heart. Fail to do this, and you'll get the only new 'bad' ending of Persona 5 Royal.
In this short ending, you live out your remaining years in the false reality that Maruki has created. It's nowhere near as brutal an ending as failing any of the other Palaces in Persona 5 Royal, and it's implied that Maruki changes the protagonist's cognition to make them forget they were ever in a fake reality to begin with.
It's assumed that the other Phantom Thieves live out the rest of their lives in blissful ignorance. You don't see them in this ending of Persona 5 Royal; all you see is a short conversation with Dr. Maruki, where he wishes you peace in this new world, before the protagonist falls asleep in their bed above Cafe Leblanc.
The Fake Reality Ending
I wasn't really sure whether to classify this as a 'good' ending. Going to confront Maruki in his Palace, the protagonist accepts his offer to stay in the current reality, submitting to the false reality and having their cognition changed to fit with the current circumstances, forgetting about the true reality forever.
In the newly-created world by Maruki, the protagonist, Ann, Ryuji, and Makoto all graduate from Shujin Academy. Sojiro offers the protagonist the chance to stay on at Cafe Leblanc and live with himself and Futaba after the year is done, which you have the opportunity to accept.
In this ending, everyone ultimately gets what they desire. Futaba gets to live with her mom, Makoto gets her dad back, Yusuke has a faithful sensei in Madarame, Haru operates the family business with her father, Ann maintains a close friendship with Shiho, Morgana becomes a real boy, Sumire lives her life as Kasumi, and Maruki completes his research on cognition.
I guess you could call it a good ending, in a way. Freed from their struggles in the former reality, the Phantom Thieves live out their lives free from strife and pain, taking back everything they lost. They live in a fake reality, but is it fake if no one knows?
The True Ending
For the final, true ending of Persona 5 Royal, the Phantom Thieves unite under one banner and defeat Maruki, who ultimately relinquishes control over reality upon seeing his creation isn't what the group desires. Transported back to their former reality, the Phantom Thieves unite once again to give the protagonist a big send off. If you've seen the true ending of the original Persona 5, it plays out in a similar way, with the Phantom Thieves picking up the protagonist in a campervan for one last trip.
Realizing they're being tailed by shadowy government figures, Maruki appears, now in a role as a taxi driver, and offers the protagonist a lift. The former doctor wishes the protagonist well, and drops him off at the train station, where all his friends give him one last farewell before driving off into the distance.
Walking to the train, Morgana emerges from the protagonist's bag, intending on accompanying them all the way back home to their new life. Sumire appears as well, briefly mentioning that she intends to "keep her head up" as the protagonist instructed her, before departing.
The protagonist boards the train with Morgana in tow, returning to the life they lived before coming to Tokyo at the beginning of Persona 5 Royal. In a brief post-credits scene, the train stops at a station, where Akechi can faintly be seen walking beside the train before disappearing. The protagonist sees their reflection in the train window dressed in their Phantom Thieves garb, before grinning as the screen cuts to black.
In this 'true' ending of Persona 5 Royal, everyone gets their wishes, but they achieve them through suffering that they ultimately overcome, unlike in Maruki's fake reality. Opting for the hard route of living through the pain but growing as a result of it, the Phantom Thieves choose to keep everything they've gained and fought for over the course of the game, no matter how high a cost it came at. It's a good ending, and perhaps the only truly positive ending that Persona 5 Royal ultimately offers.
It takes a lot to build a new antagonist in an epilogue, but Persona 5 Royal manages to create a really compelling one. Persona 5 Royal's endings are all stronger for revolving around Maruki's good, if misplaced, intentions. The final cinematic with the Phantom Thieves in Royal's 'true' ending doesn't feel quite as earned as with the original ending, but it's still a satisfactory sendoff for a group of equally fascinating and lovable characters.