Persona 5: The Phantom X – life will change but Atlus’ love of milking Persona 5 won’t (pic: Sega)
Atlus has announced another Persona 5 spin-off game, with some very familiar gameplay but brand new characters.
While the world continues to wait for Atlus to announce Persona 6, the company has instead unveiled yet another Persona 5 spin-off.
Rather than the long-rumoured Persona 5 Arena fighting game, or another Etrian Odyssey style dungeon crawler like Persona Q, it’s instead another traditional role-player, but for mobile devices: one that frankly could easily be mistaken for a bona fide sequel.
Titled Persona 5: The Phantom X, it looks almost exactly like Persona 5, with a new gang of teenagers going to school, hanging out around town, and venturing into the Metaverse to fight shadows.
Gameplay details are slim but, judging by the trailer, it looks to follow the same formula as Persona 5 and retain its turn-based combat, with our new Phantom Thieves summoning the titular personas during battle.
It even boasts the same graphical style and is set in Persona 5’s Shibuya area of Tokyo, with locations like the beef bowl shop, Big Bang Burger, and the batting cages all poised to return.
While there is a new cast of characters (with the main character also attending a different school to the one from Persona 5), there are plenty of familiar hallmarks.
The new mascot character – a talking owl – is clearly meant to be this game’s Morgana, capable of turning into a car while exploring the Mementos dungeon (also returning from Persona 5).
The new Phantom Thieves will also be entering new Palaces (including a baseball stadium themed one) and fighting alternate versions of people from the real world, presumably to force a change of heart and make them atone for their actions, like in Persona 5.
The lack of any English subtitles means a lot of story details are unclear, but the game’s official website mentions a theme of ‘desire’ and the main cast all experiencing ‘low desire.’ So, it’s touching upon similar themes from the original game.
Several characters from Persona 5 are already confirmed to be coming back as well, chief among them being recurring supporting character Igor. He comes with a new Velvet Room design themed after an aquarium and a new attendant character, rather than the twins from Persona 5.
Model gun shop owner Iwai is coming back too, to resume his role of supplying the thieves with weapons and armour. No sign of back alley doctor Takemi, though, who used to sell healing items.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is Persona 5’s protagonist Joker popping up right at the very end of the trailer. Whether he’ll be a party member or purely a supporting character is a mystery, though his presence may lend credence to the mobile game being a canonical sequel rather than an alternate retelling.
The least surprising detail is that The Phantom X will be free-to-play with in-app purchases when it launches, although exactly how it will be monetised is unclear.
The game’s also not in development at Atlus but at Chinese studio Black Wing Games Studio. As such, it’s only slated to release in China, with a playtest taking place at the end of the month. Given the franchise’s popularity, though, a Western release is hopefully inevitable.
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