Persona 5 Scramble, the franchise’s Musou game in the vein of Koei Tecmo’s Warriors series, is set to release in Japan on Feb. 20. Wednesday, Atlus shared a three-minute gameplay trailer that answered a lot of questions we had about the game. In fact, it started very blatantly with a section answering “What is Persona 5 Scramble?”
For the uninitiated, Koei Tecmo’s long-running Warriors series (Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors) feature unique, mob-based hack-and-slash gameplay. They’re flashy, and most of the time you’ll be fighting hundreds of enemies at once, but the games at their core are meant to be relaxing. In an interview with Polygon, Koei Tecmo’s Vice President Hisashi Koinuma says the licensing opportunities for Musou-style games are “near limitless.” It’s true, too—just in the last few years, we had Legend of Zelda’s own Hyrule Warriors, Fire Emblem Warriors and Dragon Quest Heroes II, all featuring familiar and beloved faces from their respective franchises. The problem they cite with the formula actually isn’t the gameplay—they’ve got that down—it’s that the games maybe “wouldn’t be surprising for players.”
Atlus’ trailer might be a response to that, an attempt to surprise their dedicated fanbase. For one, the graphics are absolutely stunning. A lot of the assets from Persona 5 seem to be reused, but everything looks just slightly crisper. The gameplay, too, is gorgeous, and the interplay of colors within the game’s bombastic battlefields set a distinct, full mood, in contrast to the tendency Musou games have to look empty despite being filled with crowds of enemies.
The story, also, seems to be a direct sequel to Persona 5, taking place five months after the end of the first game. This is honestly a breath of fresh air in the Persona franchise, given its tendency to release unrelated, non-canon games (such as the Persona Q series of dungeon crawlers). While on vacation, our Phantom Thieves meet a new character named Zenkichi Hasegawa who implies they are “suspects” of some sort of occurrence, noting they have to take a tour of Japan to investigate “Jails,” a type of dungeon in contrast to Persona 5’s “Palaces” that are sustained by “collective treasures,” as opposed to one person’s unwieldy psyche.
The game will have a heavy emphasis on story and exploration, with the cast going all over Japan to Sapporo, Osaka, Kyoto and more. The trailer shows off several new systems, including a revamped Persona fusion system, that seem to deepen the core gameplay of the Musou genre.
There’s also a bevy of character trailers for each of the game’s playable cast, which features all of the Phantom Thieves of old, as well as a new character named Sophia. Those are all viewable on Atlus’ YouTube account.