Persona 5: The Phantom X Opens New Horizons For Atlus Before The Inevitable Persona 6

Can it scratch the Persona itch?

Story Highlights

  • The new Persona 5 spinoff is Persona 5: The Phantom X, a mobile gacha game to be released in China for now.
  • Persona 5’s epic adventure was an enormous success, revolutionizing JRPGs in general and paving the way for the return of the series.
  • Persona 5: The Phantom X’s initial looks show the developers have all hands on deck to deliver a true Persona experience.
  • The game can serve as a test of the new concepts, and its reception could be a vital learning experience for Persona 6.

After the monumental Persona 5 and its influence on the JRPG genre as a whole, fans were highly eager for a sequel to traverse into Atlus’ magnificent fantasy world once again. With hints dropping about Persona 6 in development, the hype-filled gamers were slightly let down when the next project of the series was revealed to be Persona 5: The Phantom X.

This was not entirely bad news, as it is a free-to-play gacha game for both PC and mobile platforms, and most likely is not serving as a replacement for Persona 6. The premise is quite interesting, however, as the franchise steps onto the mobile platform and also gets to experiment with gacha mechanics. A new game is always desirable, all the more so if its reception gives Persona 6 useful ideas.

Persona 5 – Nothing But Quality

The game’s overwhelming success is rooted in the sheer quality of the experience it provided. A beloved and thought-provoking story centered around the influx of desires of the strong and their continued apathy toward how it crumbles the very lives of the weak. Both dynamics manifest in the form of Palaces and the central Mementos in Metaverse, an alternate dimension of sorts that reflects distorted desires.

The concept of desires also gives rise to Personas, the recurring abilities of the series that are the manifestation of a user’s personality in a controlled state. With these abilities in hand, we have our teenage protagonists banding together to form the Phantom Thieves of Hearts, determined to venture into the untrodden Metaverse to “steal” the hearts of the corrupted to bring much-needed change to the cruel society.

The actions of the group also raise a dilemma in the minds of many, as if the Phantom Thieves’ way of forcing a change of heart is the right thing to do, which adds further depth to the story. Besides the “night” stuff showing the heavy responsibilities on your shoulders, the game presents an equally charming daytime where you go to school like a normal student, explore the pleasantly rich open world, and have a fun time with your buddies. 

The interesting dynamic of balancing both lifestyles gives the game its unique appeal, as the gameplay shifts to accommodate the changes. You have the social simulator during the day to interact with people, enjoy fun minigame activities, and progress the Confidants system, much like social links in the previous games. Then comes the intensive turn-based combat with over-the-top abilities to overcome the many horrors of the night.

And nothing better to execute the enchanting story than a beloved and forever memorable cast of characters. The quirky members of Phantom Thieves with their dual lives and the remarkable supporting characters make every minute spent in the game worth it. Considering there are a new set of characters to be introduced in Persona 5: The Phantom X, we hope the game delivers an indelible experience.

Persona 5 Put The Series On The Map

At this point, no one is oblivious to the popularity of Atlus’ towering JRPG franchise. Starting as just a spinoff to the mainline Shin Megami Tensei series, Persona gradually became distinct and acquired its identity with Persona 3. The game was a magnificent experience, but it didn’t give the series the recognition it deserves. Persona 5 ended up being that savior which brought the franchise to light and continues to garner praise.

And from that point on, the series continued to be triumphant and reached the heights of today. Person 5 managed to stand firm among stark competition from major releases of the year, partly due to the active marketing strategies, and ended up changing the JRPG genre for good. Whenever a new turn-based JRPG or just JRPGs, in general, are discussed, the Persona comparison naturally comes along. 

Even before the mainstream recognition of Persona 5, the series was influential enough that its hints could be seen in other games like Nihon Falcom’s Tokyo Xanadu. After achieving much-deserved success, fans are now always eager for more Persona or similar games. And this increased demand saw a return of earlier games of the franchise, as well as many spinoffs like the new Persona 5: The Phantom X, which met with critical acclaim.

If you love Persona games, I highly recommend Tokyo Xanadu EX+
by u/TimTheCouchGamer in JRPG

Persona 5 not only gave us a glorious experience but also rewarded dedicated fans by paving the way for the revival of past games stuck on older consoles. Persona 4 Golden’s PC port was an overwhelming success, encouraging more PC releases. The game was subsequently released for modern consoles too. And if that wasn’t a treat enough, Persona 3 Portable soon followed suit, much to our immense delight.

With Persona 5 Royal, Atlus did the impossible of improving a game we thought couldn’t be topped, evident by its towering reception. Packing a new character Kasumi and a plethora of new content, the 100-hour game saw a huge expansion ever-growing in quality. After the undeniable triumph of the Phantom Thieves, multiple spinoffs of the game became a perfectly viable idea.

The spinoffs include the series’ staple dancing rhythm game, Persona 5 Dancing in Starlight, and the extremely unique Persona 5 Strikers, an unprecedented action game in the series that not just flips the combat but also the story concept. Instead of “stealing” the hearts of the wicked, you actively work to return the hearts of those wrongfully stolen from. We hope Persona 5: The Phantom X brings its own novelty to this versatile list.

Persona 5: The Phantom X Is An Enchanting Venture

Atlus is looking to expand its horizons with Persona 5: The Phantom X, by stepping into the mobile and gacha games territory. This opens up a myriad of possibilities, and fans are eager to see what new milestones the franchise achieves. This is no doubt a risky venture, but Persona has won our hearts multiple times now, and from what we’ve seen so far the game is indeed promising. 

With the recently concluded closed beta, gameplay details have started pouring out, and it is fascinating, to say the least. The game is Persona in its truest sense, as we see the return of the familiar mechanics, settings, and gameplay loop we know and love. Just from the visuals and the carefully detailed gameplay alone, Persona 5: The Phantom X boldly announces it’s not just a degraded mobile game. We hope it sees an international release.

YouTube video

The familiar setting now returns with a new cast of characters and new Phantom Thieves, who indeed have big shoes to fill. After spending multiple full adventures with the beloved group, seeing the brand return and the possibility of future implementations is a favorable prospect. But at the same time, a different cast brings a certain degree of ambiguity. This is a good opportunity to create another iconic lineup of characters.

Speaking of iconic characters, a Persona game is incomplete without a mascot character after we got to know Morgana. Although Morgana’s absence will most likely be felt, Persona 5: The Phantom X introduces a competitor for him in the form of Luffy, an owl serving as a mascot, and your trusty transport through the treacherous Metaverse. The continuation of the mascot trend is truly a step in the right direction.

Luffy - The new mascot character in Persona 5: The Phantom X
Luffy – The new mascot character in Persona 5: The Phantom X

In addition to the faithful recreation of the strong suits of Persona 5, the game adopts some mechanics that hold considerable potential. An example is the introduction of support characters not part of the Phantom Thieves, but are influential characters and aid you with the new “Persona II” ability. Its particulars remain to be seen, but it brings a good variety to the intense turn-based combat mechanics.

Persona 5: The Phantom X also sets the stage for Atlus to experiment with the gacha mechanics and bring the series to a wider audience. A mobile gacha game was inevitable after Persona 5’s collabs with multiple other gacha games like Another Eden for example, and prior experience in designing characters and abilities suited to the genre can be a powerful asset for a successful iteration.

With a gacha premise, the game holds considerable potential in delivering a bulk of fanservice. The game has the possibility of holding collabs with either other Persona games or an entirely different JRPG series. This is a perfect setup for the return of beloved characters, and the opportunity to hold events that showcase interesting what-if scenarios of the interactions of multiple different franchises’ characters, as seen in prior collabs of Persona.

Persona 5 Royal Collab in Another Eden
Persona 5 Royal Collab in Another Eden

Persona 5: The Phantom X Could Be A Testing Ground 

As Atlus experiments with mobile platforms, a myriad of possibilities in gacha mechanics, and switching up the cast, the game could serve as a test for what direction the series should take in the future. Although gacha surely won’t be present in a full-fledged sequel, the events and character interactions could give unique ideas. The franchise can also be expanded to mobile platforms if the reception is promising enough.

In addition, this can also gauge players’ responses to a change of characters and scenarios. Although the Phantom Thieves are returning, they are no longer the same. Atlus may stick to the brand for future implementations too if the execution in Persona 5: The Phantom X manages to excite the fans. Persona 6 could also be a different setting and concept altogether and this game serves as a prequel to the inevitable change.

Persona 6 is highly likely to happen, considering the franchise’s overwhelming success. Although another spinoff is not what we desired, Atlus’ trend of exceptional quality continues as the game has managed to turn around all the frowns just from initial looks alone. The experimentation with fresh new horizons ensures the series’ future will be precisely thought-out. 

Persona 5: The Phantom X is in development for PC and mobile devices, and is exclusive to China for now.

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Najam Ul Hassan is a News Reporter on eXputer who enjoys investing hours in his favorite video game titles. When he’s not playing games, he’s practicing Journalism. He began his career on eXputer after combining his limitless love of video games and all things geek with his considerable writing experience. He has been cited numerous times by several noteworthy publications and sites such as Game Rant, Yahoo, PlayStation LifeStyle, VGC, VG247, TheGamer, among others. Experience: 2+ Years || Education: Masters in Mass Media Communication || Written 300+ News Stories.

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