Persona 6 may only be a twinkle in Atlus's eye and we already can't stop talking about it. With Atlus riding high on the momentum of Persona 5: Royal (opens in new tab) and focusing on releasing Persona 5: Strikers in February, a direct Persona 5 sequel likely isn't high on the studio's priority list. But can you blame us for doing a bit of harmless speculating? Persona 5 (opens in new tab) is one of the most beloved JRPGs of the generation, a masterful culmination of the series' best elements with a modern polish and unmistakably cool style.
With that latest masterpiece now just past its fourth birthday, we're starting to hear whispers and pick up a few scattered clues of a sequel. There's still nothing official from Atlus, but it's only a matter of time before we get a reveal trailer. For now, read on to find out why we're so confident a sequel to Persona 5 is coming, and for everything we know about Persona 6.
Will we get a Persona 6?
The short answer is yes. It's probably already in the early stages of development. In an interview with Dengeki Magazine (via Segment Next (opens in new tab)) from October 2019, Atlus dev Kazuhisa Wada had this to say about the Persona series' future: “We are working on mid-to-long term plan, including new numbered entries, so that fans can continue to enjoy the Persona series this year”.
It's hard to perceive "new numbered entries" as meaning anything other than Persona 6, so even though it hasn't been formally announced by Atlus, it seems a near-certainty that a Persona 5 sequel is in the works.
However, even if the quote from Wada was somehow misinterpreted or mistranslated, it seems incredibly unlikely for Atlus to let one of its most successful IPs die with a game as popular as Persona 5. For that reason alone, Persona 6 seems an inevitability. For now, it's not a question of if it's coming, but rather when it's coming.
Persona 6 release date: It's likely still years away
Considering Persona 5 went into full production in 2011 and released five years later, don't expect to see Persona 6 for at least a few years. Of course, one game's development isn't always the surest indicator of another's, but it's foolishly optimistic regardless to assume Persona 6 could release before 2022.
Persona games, and games made by Atlus more broadly, are notoriously lengthy and extraordinarily polished. That means more developers are needed to perfect each game's many systems, more time is needed to write and develop the game, and ultimately fans need to be patient in return for a reliably satisfying product.
That said, there are reasons to be optimistic about its development time.
As pointed out by a Reddit (opens in new tab) user, there are variables to consider when comparing Persona 6's development schedule to Persona 5's. For one, Atlus parent company Index Corporation filed for bankruptcy right smack-dab in the middle of Persona 5's development. It's very likely that the financial situation at Atlus was affected, and likewise Persona 5's development.
At the time, Forbes (opens in new tab) even floated the question of whether Atlus would be sold or liquidated, which would've almost-surely throw Persona 5's entire development into a state of serious uncertainty.
There's also the possibility that Persona 6 will run on the same engine as Persona 5, which could potentially speed up development. Though on that point, it's pretty much guaranteed that Persona 5 launches on the PS5, meaning it's not a certainty that it runs on the same engine as Persona 5.
Persona 6 story: It'll likely surpass Persona 5 in scale
Persona 5 is already a massive game. In a poll of 1,500 players, it was revealed that on average, it takes gamers 97 hours just to beat the main campaign (via How Long to Beat (opens in new tab)). Compare that to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at 49 hours (opens in new tab), and The Witcher 3 at 51 hours (opens in new tab).
With that in mind, it's extraordinary (if not surprising) that Atlus plans on expanding the Persona universe with a sequel even bigger than Persona 5. Back in 2017, Atlus went on a hiring spree and took the space on some job postings to talk about Persona 6. In one posting (via GamingBolt (opens in new tab)), Atlus executive and former director Naoto Hiraoka wrote about the need to exceed fans' expectations after Persona 5 inspired ubiquitous praises.
"Thanks to the large amount of support we received for Persona 5, we have gotten a sense of accomplishment. But we can’t stop there. When we created Persona 4, there was pressure that it had to exceed Persona 3. Now, we will have to create a 6 which exceeds 5. However, exceeding 5 will be difficult with the current staff. I would like to surpass this tall hurdle with everyone who joins us in this recruitment. The workplace is perfect for those who want a creative challenge when it comes to bringing games to the world."
Persona 6 Xbox and Switch: It could release on multiple platforms
Despite our protests, Persona 5 is still a PlayStation exclusive. But there's a good chance Persona 6 will share the love with other platforms when it eventually releases. For a handful of reasons, I'd say the Switch - or whatever Nintendo console is current when Persona 6 launches - is our best bet for a Persona 6 multiplatform release.
One of those reasons is that Persona 5: Scramble has already launched on Switch in Japan, setting a glaring precedent for Atlus to port over its predecessor and with any hope, Persona 6. And then there's the fact that Joker is now a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, a sign of Atlus and Nintendo's amiable relationship. Perhaps most importantly, Atlus has a history going back to the 80s developing games for Nintendo platforms, with Persona 5 Scramble, Tokyo Mirage Sessions FE Encore, and Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth being the most recent examples.
Just last month (opens in new tab), Atlus released a survey asking fans whether they'd want different Atlus games - including Persona 5 - ported to the Switch. It's hard to believe they need a survey to know the answer to that question, but it's yet another sign of Atlus's willingness to work with Nintendo to reach a larger audience for their games.