Here's E3's good and bad news about Persona 5


Sorry, purists!

A lot of folks weren't expecting much Persona 5-related news out of E3, as these kinds of reveals are typically reserved for Japan-based events, but lo and behold, the company held an E3 demo stream of the game, showing off gameplay as well as shedding some more light on one of the most highly anticipated JRPG releases since...well, Persona 4

You can catch the official E3 trailer below, and an archive of the whole gameplay stream courtesy of Youtube user IO DD, but before we head into more detail, here's the bad news: The English release of the game will not have dual-audio options, and will stick to English-language text and voiceovers. Atlus has promised a strong stable of voice actors and a "faithful and engaging" localization script. I personally have no doubt of their ability to provide in that respect, for my part.

And yet, I can't say I'm surprised. No Persona game has had dual-audio available in its English release, with the sole exception of Persona 4 Arena, and that game had the distinction of being one of the only PS3 games ever to be region-locked, which brought its own difficulties. The popular theory as to why this happens is that Atlus avoids dual-language support to prevent Japanese players from taking advantage of lower game prices overseas ("reverse importing"), though no one on Atlus or Sega's side has officially confirmed the theory. 

Whatever the reason,  the news no doubt comes as a bummer to purist fans, who will have to import the game from Japan if they want to hear the game in Japanese. I'm already planning to do so to get it in September instead of February, but not everyone can take advantage of it.

[Header image courtesy of Nanaya]

At least the good news is a new character reveal. The mysterious 9th party member has been revealed. His name is Goro Akechi, and he's voiced by Soichiro Hoshi, who played Kira Yamato in Gundam SEED and Sanada Yukimura in Sengoku BASARA. In a familiar twist, Goro is a young detective/high schooler, just like Persona 4's Naoto Shirogane. Folks familiar with the prevalence of the Detective Conan archetype will understand that there's plenty of life in the idea of an underage detective, but generally this comes across as a strange rehash. Here's to hoping that the character will distinguish himself in the game proper.

Another reveal was of the "Co-Op" system, where players can build relationships with subcharacters, some of whom seem to function as in-game vendors. They're not quite true "Social Links" in the gameplay sense, but having them on your side adds beneficial effects in battle and while delving into the Palace dungeons. Three of the Co-Op characters highlighted include nurse Tae Takemi, chef Sojiro Sakai, and tinkerer Munehisa Iwai. Check out their trailers here.

New additions to the Persona 5 official site clarify some details from earlier trailers (and analyses). It seems the player and his posse, the Phantom Thieves, are indeed out to steal "treasure", but their schtick is that they somehow, essentially steal the evilness out of bad peoples' hearts. The Palace and its myriad dungeons represent those peoples' inner selves. 

The player begins the story after being subjected to injustice by a corrupted system, and wakes up in the Velvet Room. He prodded onto his quest by Igor, who sets him on the path as a way of "rehabilitating" him out of some dire fate. 

The daily-life portion of the game appears to work in a familiar way, with players managing their time and balancing schoolwork, part-time jobs, and building their bonds with their friends and love interests. The story will take on a more "omnibus" style of structure, with seemingly separate "episodes" eventually feeding into a larger, overarching plot and resolution, where the ending will be influenced by the player's actions. 

So far, so good! Persona 5's looking as good as ever, if a tad bit familiar to folks that were hoping for more of a sea change with the Persona series. 

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Josh Tolentino
Josh TolentinoManaging Editor   gamer profile

Josh is Japanator's Managing Editor, and contributes to Destructoid as well, as the network's premier apologist for both Harem Anime and Star Trek: Voyager For high school reasons, he's called "u... more + disclosures



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