Japanese game news site Gematsu shared a breakdown of the first official preview of Persona 5: The Royal in Weekly Famitsu. Director Daiki Itoh and producer Kazuhisa Wada gave an interview to the magazine, talking about what’s new for Persona 5: The Royal and explaining what’s next for the beloved title. Itoh was also the director of Persona 4 Golden, so he’s obviously very familiar with expanding and refining JRPG games long after release.
In the interview, Itoh lets readers know that even though the team at Atlus isn’t ready to reveal all the details on Persona 5: The Royal yet, he wants everyone to be assured that this update is bigger than the update to Persona 4. Persona 5 will go “beyond the expectations” set by Persona 4 Golden, with more new content than the previous updates to other games in the Persona series.
Persona 5: The Royal adds an entire third semester to the gameplay, and, in order to address some concerns about pacing in Persona 5, Daiki Itoh and Kazuhisa Wada promised that The Royal update will include tweaks that adjust how experience is earned throughout the game. Persona 5 is already a pretty long game, so these adjustments to experience should ensure the game feels fresh all the way through, even for players on their second run to see the newly added content.
We’re not simply adding new elements. We’re making it easier to earn experience points so you can play at a better tempo.
Itoh and Wada also talked about the new “Play Assist” feature, which automatically suggests people and places to visit, based on the player’s social interactions and confidant levels at the time. This is sure to be very handy for anyone new to the series, as a game this size (and growing) can become overwhelming.
The new Phantom Thief Kasumi Yoshizawa will be fully integrated into this refresh of the Persona 5 story and will be “someone who will expose existing characters in a new light.” Kasumi is a mysterious character and a different side of her will be seen than the one shown in the teaser trailer. According to Weekly Famitsu, Kasumi will also have a confidant the player can level up.
New confidant Takuto Maruki was described as an “extremely nice adult character,” which can mean almost anything in the context of a Persona game. Wada and Itoh were unwilling to provide a direct answer to whether there would be additional confidants in the game, but said if they had to choose between giving a yes or a no, they would say “yes,” and to watch for more updates on Persona 5: The Royal soon.
Persona 5: The Royal will also include 20 new background music tracks added with the update. Players won’t be able won’t be able to transfer their save files from the base version over to the new one, but the interview indicates that some type of bonus will be given to those that have a save file from Persona 5.
Finally, Itoh and Wada talked briefly about the “Handsome Man” character from the trailer, who many speculate to be the human form of Morgana, stating that he will have a scene sleeping in the same bed a Joker, the game’s protagonist.
Persona 5: The Royal is slated to release in Japan on October 31st of this year and sometime in 2020 in Western markets. Spin-off musou-style game Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers is also coming to the PlayStation 4 and the Nintendo Switch, but Atlus has yet to set a release date.