Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers might be more than meets the eye, as its lengthy first livestream confirms deeper-than-expected combat and an involved story directly following the events of Persona 5. The livestream (via Gematsu) revealed a lengthy cut of gameplay footage showing the Phantom Thieves slicing through mobs of baddies in Tokyo, as well as generous development and story details and two brand new characters.
First and foremost, the gameplay looks as stylish as we've come to expect from the Persona franchise, but what surprised me initially was how fluid everything looks - even when Joker's surrounded by dozens of baddies in high-speed battles I never noticed any significant framerate drop. It's still an open question as to how it'll perform on the Switch's lesser internals, but the demo gameplay looks surprisingly polished for a Dynasty Warriors-inspired spinoff.
And on that latter point, Persona 5 Scramble is looking more and more like a full-fledged sequel to Persona 5, complete with its own involved story and new characters. Things pick up about six months after the end of Persona 5, with the reunited Phantom Thieves simply making the most of their summer vacation before being swept back into a dark new world run by "King" and littered with shadows that rob people of their desires.
The two new characters are called Sophia and Zenkichi, and they'll both feature prominently in the main story. Introduced in the new world, Sophia is an ally to the Phantom Thieves who's lost her memory. She's got her own Persona named 'Pithos' and carries around a yo-yo and blaster. Zenkichi is a public safety officer, but it isn't clear what role he'll play in relation to the Phantom Thieves.
The livestream also confirmed that development on Persona 5 Scramble is about 90% complete, which sounds about right given the game's releasing February 2020 in Japan. No word yet on a western release date, but it's safe to assume it won't be before Persona 5 Royal in Q2 2020.
While you wait for the Phantom Thieves to return, here are the best games coming in 2019 and beyond.