Persona 5 was developed by P-Studio, an internal development studio within Atlus led by game director and producer Katsura Hashino. Along with Hashino, returning staff from earlier Persona games included character designer Shigenori Soejima and music composer Shoji Meguro. Preparatory work began during the development of Persona 4, with full development beginning after the release of Catherine in 2011. First announced in 2013, Persona 5 was delayed from its original late 2014 release date due to the game not being fully finished. Its themes revolve around attaining freedom from the limitations of modern society, while the story was strongly inspired by picaresque fiction; the party's Personas were based on outlaws and rebels from literature.
Yaldabaoth then makes an offer to Joker to return the world to its previous state at the cost of his freedom. If Joker accepts the offer, the game goes into an alternate ending where Joker remains as a Phantom Thief and keeps on changing people's hearts. If Joker rejects the offer, he reunites with the rest of the Phantom Thieves and fights Yaldabaoth. In the fight, Joker's confidants rally the support of the people, rebelling against Yaldabaoth's control and allowing Joker to awaken his ultimate persona, Satanael, to destroy Yaldabaoth and the Metaverse. After Yaldabaoth's defeat, Joker turns himself in to the police for Shido to be prosecuted. While Joker is incarcerated, the rest of the Phantom Thieves and his confidants successfully help secure evidence of Joker's innocence in the assault charge, leading to his conviction being overturned. By spring, Joker's friends drive him back to his hometown.
The original story concept was written by Hashino, while the scenario was co-written by Shinji Yamamoto and Yuichiro Tanaka. The initial concept was for a storyline that diverged from the established paths of Persona 3 and 4, with \"self-discovery\" and \"journey\" being its keywords. Originally using the concept of a backpacking trip around the world as a framing device for the story, Hashino decided to refocus on Japan in the wake of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. More specifically, it has been noted that the Japanese government's actions in response to the earthquake and tsunami's fallout, along with Japanese citizens' reactions to how the government acted during that time, may have served as partial influences on the game's themes. Following that crisis and seeing how people were bonding in the face of it, Hashino decided to have the story take place solely in Japan, with the journeying being done through the ever-shifting Palaces. Ultimately, the story's central concepts were inspired by equivalent social changes he saw in modern society, particularly in Japan. Hashino also described the central theme of the game as being about freedom and how the characters attain it. He wanted to make the game more \"thematically approachable\" for newcomers to the series, and to be an emotional experience that left its audience with a strong sense of catharsis and the inspiration to take on problems in their lives.
The characters' initial Personas (Arsène, Captain Kidd, Carmen, Zorro, Goemon, Johanna, Necronomicon, Milady, Robin Hood, and Cendrillon) were themed after outlaws and picaresque heroes to reflect the function and dominant suppressed passions forming the Palace, and also represent aspects of their owners' personalities. Joker's initial Persona was originally the German demon Mephistopheles, but was changed to Arsène as the latter character better fit the game's themes. The cast's ultimate Personas (Satanael, Seiten Taisei, Hecate, Mercurius, Kamu Susano-o, Anat, Prometheus, Astarte, Loki and Vanadis) were based on mythical beings who act as tricksters or rebels. The three main inspirations behind Joker's alter ego were Arsène Lupin, The Fiend with Twenty Faces, and Japanese outlaw hero Ishikawa Goemon. The name of Joker's high school, \"Shujin\", was chosen because it was a homonym of Shūjin (囚人), the Japanese word for \"prisoner\". Following a trend from earlier entries, the Velvet Room assistants are named after characters from the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
The game's animated cutscenes were produced by Production I.G and Domerica, and were directed and supervised by Toshiyuki Kono. Kono was contacted three and a half years before the game's completion by Hashino. Faced with the project, Kono felt a great deal of pressure in his role. Persona 5 was the first time Production I.G had worked on the series, though many staff at the studio were fans. Despite this, the studio did not change their standard animation process, focusing on characters as they had done for many of their previous projects. The most important part of the cutscenes was getting the character's expressions right, particularly when it came to the general-mute protagonist. The animated opening sequence was directed by Sayo Yamamoto. The concept behind the characters figure skating around the environment was done as a visual symbolization of the overall theme of breaking free of an oppressive force, and was similar to her work in Yuri on Ice. The scene where Joker first summons his Persona was requested by Atlus to appear \"wild\", which was difficult as Joker's purpose is as an extension of the player. The blue flame effects related to the Persona were not created with CGI, but hand-drawn by the animators. All the anime cutscenes together were estimated to consist of over an hour of footage.
The score was composed, performed, and produced by series sound director Shoji Meguro. Further contributions, among other general sound design, was handled by Toshiki Konishi, Kenichi Tsuchiya, Atsushi Kitajoh, and Ryota Kozuka; all of them having previously worked on the series as well. Meguro was given full creative freedom to work on the soundtrack and over a roughly three year period produced about 80% of the total tracks. Seven tracks were performed in English by Lyn, a jazz and soul music singer. Her first performance in a video game, Lyn claimed that the most difficult part of her contributions was performing a rap segment in the opening theme, \"Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There\". The lyrics were written by Benjamin Franklin, while the ending song, \"Hoshi To Bokura To\", had lyrics written in Japanese by Shigeo Komori.
In April 2016, Atlus launched a countdown that ran until May 5, 2016. Shortly after, a special livestream was announced titled Take Tokyo Tower, which coincided with the countdown date. During the Take Tokyo Tower livestream, a trailer revealed the game's final release date. Persona 5 was released in Japan on September 15, 2016. Along with the standard edition, a 20th Anniversary Edition was released, which features all downloadable content (DLC) based on Persona 3 and Persona 4, a five-CD best-of album set featuring music from all six main games in the series, and the official artbook for the game by Soejima. In honor of the game's Japanese release, the series-focused variety show Persona Stalker Club featured a new programming block titled Persona Stalker Club V. To promote the game in Japan, Atlus partnered with AKG Acoustics to release limited edition wireless headphones based on the one Futaba wears in-game. The headphones were released in December 2016 and came with box art designed by Soejima, as well as a music CD featuring two remixed tracks from the game by Meguro and Kozuka. Certain in-game character apparel, such as jackets and tote bags, were also released in Japan in February and March 2018.
Following its release, character costumes and additional Personas were released as paid DLC. The costumes include those incorporated into the 20th Anniversary Edition based on Persona 3 and Persona 4, in addition to new costumes based on the characters of Revelations: Persona, the Persona 2 duology (Innocent Sin and Eternal Punishment), Shin Megami Tensei If..., Catherine, Shin Megami Tensei IV, Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. the Soulless Army, Persona 4 Arena, and Dancing All Night. The costumes are accompanied by arranged battle music from each costume set's respective game, which replaces the default battle theme based on what costume Joker wears. Some of the key Personas from Persona 3 and Persona 4 were released in bundles that include a new design and the original design of each. In addition, PlayStation 4 themes and avatar sets were released based on the central characters of Persona 5. An additional difficulty setting known as \"Merciless\" was also released as free DLC.
Pre-order bonuses and its initial North American release date of February 14, 2017 was announced a week before E3 2016. Its release in Europe and Australia set for the same date was announced the following August. In November 2016, its release was pushed back two months to April 4. The stated reason was that Atlus wanted the game to be at its highest possible quality. Atlus USA published the game in North America. In Europe and Australia, it was published by Deep Silver. As with previous Persona games, the English localization was handled by Atlus USA and led by Yu Namba. According to Namba, the team began with a \"blank slate\" when choosing the English voice cast, as it was a new setting for the Persona series. Localizing Persona 5 was described by Namba as a massive project with the largest staff yet dedicated to the series. As project lead, Namba made the final call on issues brought up by the team during the localization process. The localized script was estimated as being 50% bigger than that of Persona 4 Golden. In English-speaking regions, the \"Shin Megami Tensei\" moniker was dropped from the title. For the English release, the Japanese dub was made available as free DLC. 59ce067264