Far bigger in scope than anything that has come before it.
I think that it is safe to say that with Persona 5, Atlus have finally entered, for the first time throughout their existence, AAA game development. The scope of the game seems to be simply massive, far beyond anything that has ever been achieved by any JRPG before, and, as is typical for the series, the game also looks like it will be able to provide some thought provoking social and psychological insight and commentary.
The new Persona 5 feature in Famitsu has revealed loads of more information about the game. For instance, the game’s director, Katsura Hashino, has confirmed that Persona 5 will continue along with the more ‘episodic’ format of storytelling that Persona 4 started- this means that there is no overarching threat or objective that is guiding the characters, with the game instead choosing to focus on their immediate motives and adventures, until the final objective of the story is revealed. This structure worked wonderfully with Persona 4, and addressed all of the pacing issues with Persona 3, so it should work fine with Persona 5 as well.
He also confirmed that this overarching story is the mystery behind a phone application called “Isekainabi” (“Otherworldnavi” or “Parallel World Navigation”). Using this app, the main characters discover the location of their targets and are able to infiltrate the other world known as “Palace” to steal the hearts of “rotten people.” Palace itself provides the ‘alternate dimension’ where the paranormal events of Persona 5 occur- all the ‘dungeons’ of the game will probably be within Palace.
The game will also focus on much more intimate characterization and character building – and considering the strength of Persona games has always been its characters, this is good news – with each of the playable characters feeling troubled, repressed, and as though they have lost their way. The game’s events are set into motion because of this dissatisfaction, with the cast deciding to reform society and break out of the binds that society’s corruption imposes on them.
Hashino also confirmed that social interactions are back in some way- the texting system shown off in the newest trailer is one aspect of social links, and it will allow players to personalize and expand other characters’ stories.
Finally, Hashino once again stressed on the scope of the game- it is far beyond anything that Atlus have attempted before, and it requires a lot more time and attention to ensure Persona 5 will meet the series’ standards. This is, above all, the reason for the game’s delay.
Persona 5 will launch in 2016 for the PS4 and, yes, PS3.
[Thank you, Persona Central, for the translation]