30 Hours of Teases and Relief: The 2015 Persona Livestream Extravaganza

It has been a wild past few days as fans of the Persona series were buzzing with anticipation of news for the latest installment in the franchise, Persona 5. The Persona franchise is one of my favorite franchises in all of video games, so I have been eagerly awaiting news on Persona 5, and the latest Persona 4 spinoff, Persona 4 Dancing All Night. This anticipation started a few months prior when Atlus announced a new Persona Music Live for February. The poster included the usual suspects of the Persona 3 Protagonist and the Persona 4 Protagonist, and also the alleged Persona 5 Protagonist, albeit with his back to everyone. Anticipation grew even more when it was announced that prior to the concert, there would be a 30 hour livestream which would feature new information for certain games. Specifically, there were three ‘???’ time slots in the schedule, which had everyone’s attention.

The first unknown time slot came at around 9 AM EST on the 4th of February. The countdown timer showed the logo for Persona 4 Dancing All Night, which left me very excited to hear news on this game. I have been eagerly awaiting this game ever since it was announced during the huge four game reveal livestream in 2013. Mixing the Persona 4 characters and the rhythm genre is a match made in heaven. As the timer winded down, I was hoping for at least a release date. I didn’t have to know any songs, new characters; I just wanted to know when this game was coming out. P4DAN had been delayed the last time we saw it at the Tokyo Game Show. After the timer expired, Teddie appeared on screen and talked for a bit, before introducing the main theme for Persona 4 Dancing All Night.

While, I do think the theme is very catchy and fits in with the musical style of Persona 4, I was left wanting more. I felt highly disappointed when after this; we were met with the trailer that was shown at TGS months prior. I still held out hope though, after all there were still two more unknown time slots to go. Though, realistically, I figured that would be the last we saw of P4DAN and that the next time slots would be dedicated to Persona 5.

In between the Dancing All Night segment and the next segment, there was about a twelve hour gap. During that time, an image from a Japanese newspaper made its way onto the internet. It showed what looked like the alleged Persona 5 Protagonist in a mask. The text on the poster roughly reads, ‘ATTENTION: I will be at the Nippon Budokan tonight. Signed, The Phantom’. This left everyone in an uproar over whether this was actually the protagonist, or from the way it looked, maybe it was Persona 4 Arena Ultimax’s Sho Minazuki. The two do indeed look similar, but were they in fact the same person? As we would learn later on, that might not exactly be the case. Once the next segment came on, it was just a fake news report on the poster and saying that the concert would still go on, despite the threat from the Phantom.

After the second segment, I went to bed in order to be up at 7 AM EST for the final unknown segment and the one closely linked to being about Persona 5. While I was asleep, another poster for Persona 5 hit the internet, but this one, clearly showing the protagonist, and not a masked version. The anticipation now for Persona 5 news was at a fever pitch, but that wouldn’t stop Atlus from slipping in some more information about another game.

One more thing I woke up to this morning was an actual brand new trailer for Persona 4 Dancing All Night. I was shocked! This came out of left field, and I’m not sure when it exactly aired on the livestream, I would assume during the Persona Stalker Club segment, it featured all the information I wanted in that very trailer. New characters in Yukiko, Naoto, and even Nanako! Dancing with another person! A list of songs included in the game, and even a sneak peak at some of the remixes! Finally, a June 25th release date! Also announced were two bundles that will be released as well. The first one includes the soundtrack, and a code for DLC costumes, and will run 9980 yen. The second includes everything from the first, but while also including a P4DAN version of the PlayStation Vita. This bundle will cost you a whopping, 28,980 yen. Of course you can just get the game by itself, and first run copies of the game will include a bonus Blu-Ray of Persona 5 footage. If you study the trailer closely, you can see some gameplay featured, which looks different from when the first screens of this game were released. It’s curious to know if that was due to Dingo being dropped from the development process.

Of course, the main event that everyone was waiting and hoping for was a brand new Persona 5 trailer. The livestream showed parts of the Persona Music Live 2015 concert, and after that wrapped up, the Phantom made his appearance. By that, I mean he spoke over the PA system, shot out some lights, and then the trailer for Persona 5 rolled. There is much to look at in this trailer, so let’s try and take out some of the key bits.

The first thing to note is that the Phantom, is indeed in the game, and is also the protagonist. There is also a very 70s era film style in that opening credit roll, which serves as a style for the game, which it pull off extremely well. Three new characters were introduced, the first being a blonde haired male, a blonde haired female, and a cat. I suppose the trend of animal characters in a Persona game continues. The in game engine might seem familiar to some, as it looks heavily inspired by Catherine, the ‘test game’ that the Persona Team made for the previous generation of consoles.

The Velvet Room is back, including Igor, a surprise to most since his original Japanese voice actor has passed away, which led many to speculate whether he would be retired as a character. There are two new Velvet Room attendees, and the room itself seems to be a prison. The menu shows off a new function called ‘cooperation’, which could end up being the new form of Social Links, but I would hazard to guess, not a form of co-op play. Equipment wise, you have now both a melee weapon and a gun, similar to mainline Shin Megami Tensei games, and the early Persona games, while also having armor, accessories, and clothing, as in the costume system from Persona 4 Golden perhaps.

The gameplay seems to bring back the calendar system and weather, as that changes throughout the trailer. In game battles have seen some tweaks too with the introduction of platforming in what could be the new form of dungeons, and stealth mechanics. The battles themselves seem relatively the same, featuring all-out attacks, but one thing to note, is that you are battling Personas/Demons in this game since the party is fighting a trio of Sandmans in the trailer. The trailer ends with a close-up shot of the protagonist bleeding profusely, with yellow eyes, before fire engulfs his body and the last sound effect is that of the Persona summon.

There are of course still many questions left even after this new trailer. Most importantly, is probably the release date, since that was not announced with this new trailer. Another could be, is there still one more character yet to be revealed? If you remember back to the original image we saw of Persona 5, it saw 5 chairs with shackles attached to them. Was this just a motif to fit the number 5 or will there be one more character added to this mix? There are also the questions of what are the characters like, why are they all dressed like cat burglars, and what is causing them to do all of this? I’m very excited to see the direction this game goes, as it seems to be in a completely new direction compared to Persona 3 and 4. We will again, have to wait for new information, as I would figure that the marketing engine is now going to shift to Dancing All Night since it is just four months away from release, but then after that, the Persona 5 train will start to leave the station. Stay tuned for more information on Persona 4 Dancing All Night and Persona 5 in the months to follow.