As is something of an unofficial tradition for Atlus, Shin Megami Tensei V was announced three years too early and we've heard little about it, yet somehow it's releasing in the near future. But what exactly is Shin Megami Tensei V going to be? Will the gameplay differ from the Persona series? How are the two RPG franchises connected?
This is everything we know about Shin Megami Tensei V.
What is the Shin Megami Tensei 5 release date?
SMT 5 doesn't have an exact release date just yet, but we do have a release window. SMT 5 is currently slated to release simultaneously worldwide in 2021 exclusively on Nintendo Switch.
Is there a Shin Megami Tensei 5 Trailer?
Yes! In the three years since the game was first announced, there have been three trailers. You can watch the first one here, and the second here. The latest one, which debuted in a July 2020 Nintendo Direct can be viewed below.
Similar to the first trailer, this one doesn't say much about the game. From the background, there's a confirmation that yes this game takes place in modern-day Tokyo, as we already knew. We get a clear shot of the protagonist and their flowery school uniform. It seems that they're meeting a demon for the first time in the trailer, perhaps forming their first connection? This dialogue seems similar to when in Persona Igor meets a lead character.
This trailer seems like it would take place within the first hour of the story. Little else is provided past this short conversation.
What's the story in Shin Megami Tensei 5?
After three years of waiting, we still don't have a clear idea on the story. SMT 5's development lead, Kazuyuki Yamai has given some tidbits on what it might be during interviews.
According to an interview Yamai conducted with Famitsu, SMT 5 will "reexamine the characteristics of the era.”
Yamai further explained this goal, "There are surely many people frustrated by troubles both at home and abroad, such as anxiety about finding a job and getting old, or terrorists and nuclear weapons. I want to make a Shin Megami Tensei game that can sympathize with such an era."
From this conversation, it sounds like SMT 5 will broadly interrogate our current culture, in the same way that Persona 5 focused on societal oppression.
Yamai also noted that the phrase "miracle of God,” which appears in the trailer as “Shekinah Glory,” will take on greater meaning once you play the story. Perhaps players will deal directly with God themself.
How does Shin Megami Tensei connect to Persona?
The Persona series began life as an SMT spin-off. However, other than possible DLC costumes, you shouldn't expect to see a strong connection between SMT V and Persona 5.
Like Persona, every numbered SMT game is standalone, so you don't need to play SMT 1-4 to pick up SMT 5 with confidence.
What is the gameplay in Shin Megami Tensei 5?
We don't know yet. Presumably, it will remain a turn-based game like it's predecessors. Most SMT games play identically to the Persona franchise just without the social simulator elements. There's also an expanded focus on demon negotiations compared to Persona.
According to Yamai, SMT 5 will combine "the profound appeal of Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne and the popular training elements of Shin Megami Tensei IV."
Why did Shin Megami Tensei 5 take so long to release?
Its seemingly taken so long to release because Atlus was a bit too gung-ho in announcing a new Shin Megami Tensei game. In an interview shortly after the announcement, Yamai said it wasn't even far enough to call "coming soon."
Full scale, development didn't even begin on the game until February 2018, a year after SMT V was announced.
Where can you play the other Shin Megami Tensei games?
If you'd like to test the waters with the SMT franchise before the fifth game launches, the best way to do so is through the 3DS eShop. You can purchase both Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux and Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse for your 3DS. Don't bother with physical copies — they've become collector's items, making them extremely expensive on secondary markets.
You can also enjoy the first Shin Megami Tensei on mobile devices.
Additionally, Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD is set to release on PS4 and Xbox One in spring 2021.
Shin Megami Tensei V will launch in 2021 for Nintendo Switch.