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Persona (universe)

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Persona (universe)
Persona logo.svg
Developer(s) Atlus
Arc System Works
Koei Tecmo
Publisher(s) Atlus
Distributor(s) Sega
Designer(s) Kouji "Cozy" Okada
Kazuma Kaneko
Katsura Hashino
Genre(s) Role-playing, social-simulation
Console/platform of origin PlayStation
First installment Revelations: Persona (1996)
Latest installment Persona 5 Tactica (2023)
Article on Wikipedia Persona (universe)

The Persona universe (ペルソナ, Persona) refers to the Super Smash Bros. series' collection of characters, stages, and properties from the series of role-playing social-simulation games developed by Sega subsidiary Atlus. A sub-series of the Megami Tensei franchise, the games blend life simulation with dungeon crawling RPG elements of its parent series. This franchise, alongside its parent Megami Tensei franchise, is considered a flagship franchise for Atlus, helping to establish Atlus and the Megami Tensei franchise's popularity outside of Japan. Persona 5, released in 2016, is the single best-selling and most popular game in the franchise.

Franchise description[edit]

Persona 3 logo.pngPersona 4 logo.pngPersona 5 logo.png
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Logos of Persona 3, Persona 4, and Persona 5.
Each main entry in the series uses a uniquely styled logo.

In 1986, Japanese author Aya Nishitani created a serialized piece for the Oh!PC magazine inspired by his time at an electronic manufacturing company. This was later expanded into a full novel title Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei. A blend of science fiction and horror, the novel became a commercial success and spawned a trilogy. An anime OVA based on the plot of these novels was created a year later by animation studio ANIMATE. Namco acquired the rights to create a game based on the OVA, and hired the then up and coming studio Atlus to develop. The game also released in 1987 for Famicom and was successful enough to create a sequel Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei II in 1990. Atlus also fully acquired the rights to the game franchise from Namco around this time and self published titles going forward, starting with Shin Megami Tensei in 1992. The Shin Megami Tensei brand in particular would spawn a franchise of its own, with new installments being made to this day, and Shin Megami Tensei V being its latest mainline title released in 2021 on Nintendo Switch.

Following the positive reception of Shin Megami Tensei If... in 1994, a spin-off of the Megami Tensei series which saw the series' traditional post-apocalyptic setting replaced with a high-school setting, Atlus commissioned an experimental spinoff with a dedicated focus on the inner struggles of young adults. The first game in what would become the long-running franchise, Revelations: Persona, was released in 1996. Departing from the traditional first-person gameplay and post-apocalyptic setting of its parent series, Persona games take place in a modern metropolis and focus on a party of high school students, each wielding the power of "Personas". Personas are described as "masks to wear through everyday life", and bestow the user with a guardian entity which takes the form of a mythological figure and is capable of magic and other supernatural abilities. The games take heavy symbolism from Jungian psychology, as well as the tarot cards. Each game takes place in a separate locale and makes few direct references to its predecessor; key characters such as Tamaki from Shin Megami Tensei If... appear in Revelations, Persona 2: Innocent Sin, and its sequel Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, and the Kuzunoha Detective Agency from another spin-off series of Shin Megami Tensei, Devil Summoner, though various Personas recur from game to game, as does the series' mainstay location "The Velvet Room" and its mysterious master Igor. Inevitably, the protagonists end up confronting the supernatural being responsible for the game's central conflict, and defeat them in combat in order to resolve it. Starting with Persona 3, the series placed additional emphasis on "Social Links", a visual novel-like system where the player character converses with various NPCs, including their party members, and forges bonds by helping them through their struggles and fulfill their individual character arcs. In turn, the strengthened bonds of the Social Links grant the main character additional perks, such as new Personas to wield or added inventory to shops.

Planning for Persona 5 began after the release of Persona 4, though full development did not officially begin until after the release of the puzzle game Catherine in 2011. The game's development was handled by P-Studio, an internal team within Atlus who were responsible for the core Persona series and Catherine. One early concept for the game was to incorporate an action battle system with real time elements. However, doing this would have meant throwing out everything the studio had cultivated over the course of the series, so the idea was scrapped on the spot. Rather, the team would refine what they already have built on, such as the Persona fusion system, as well as bringing back concepts from earlier Persona titles such as guns and the Negotiation system.

The original scenario for the game was to emulate a backpacking journey around the world with a storyline that diverged from the established paths of Persona 3 and Persona 4, with "self-discovery" and "journey", being its keywords. However, just as the team began solidifying this direction, the catastrophic 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami struck Japan. The aftermath of the disaster deeply affected director Katsura Hashino, who then decided to refocus the game's scenario on Japan. More specifically, it has been noted that the Japanese government's actions in response to the earthquake and tsunami's fallout, along with Japanese citizens' reactions to how the government acted during that time, may have served as partial influences on the game's themes. From that point on, the scenario would instead focus on the "freedom and how the characters attain it", as Hashino put it, through the lens of the Japanese. To achieve this, the scenario adopted a more picaresque tone where the main characters were lovable misfits and rebelled against the conventions of society armed only with their wits. This became the basis for the Phantom Thieves of Hearts and "Social Links" were renamed to "Confidants". The party's starting Personas also reflect this change, as most of them are named after famous outlaws and criminals such as Arsène Lupin, Zorro, William Kidd, Carmen, and Pope Joan. The choice for the more stylistic user interface for Persona 5 came from the picaresque direction to reflect the rebellious nature of the Phantom Thieves. This did not come easy, as the team had to continuously test and adjust the UI until it achieved a good balance between style and clarity. Many critics and fans took note of and praised this UI, saying it complemented the themes of rebellion well and calling the game "effortlessly stylish" because of it.

After what amounted to a five-year development cycle, Persona 5 was released in September 2016 in Japan and April 2017 worldwide. The game went on to become Atlus's single best-selling title in Japan in just three weeks as well as the fastest selling Persona game ever internationally, selling 3.2 million copies worldwide by the end of 2019. Critics praised the evolution of the game's combat, Social Links, and story and called it one of the best Japanese role-playing games of its generation and of all time. The game went on to receive many Game of the Year nominations throughout 2017 and placed highly in many outlets' "RPG of the Year" category. An enhanced version with additional characters, locations, and quality-of-life improvements called Persona 5 Royal was released in Japan in October 2019 and March 2020 worldwide. Reviews of Persona 5 Royal have eclipsed those of the original, with outlets citing the improvements to exploration, menuing, and the gameplay and story additions as welcome ones and calling Royal a defining example of how to do an updated re-release. Eventually, Persona 5 Royal, along with Persona 4 Golden and Persona 3 Portable, were revealed to come to additional platforms throughout the Persona 25th Anniversary event in 2022, including a Nintendo Switch port of the three titles announced during the Nintendo Direct Mini: Partner Showcase of June 28, 2022. It happened three and a half years after the announcement of the franchise crossing over with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in The Game Awards 2018.

As per tradition within the series, Persona 5 got its own list of spin-offs throughout the years, with some of them being canon to either its original story or Royal's. The first spin-off was a rhythm game called Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight (2018) and occurred in a separated timeline. Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth (2018) is a dungeon crawler game that features the Phantom Thieves of Hearts and happens during the exploration of Sae Niijima's palace, as Akechi is with the team. A hack-and-slash style sequel called Persona 5 Strikers (2020) is set four months after the events of Persona 5 precisely. Persona 5: The Phantom X (TBD) is a mobile game that is set in an unknown year that continues in the timeline, with a new cast and the return of the Phantom Thieves. Finally, Persona 5 Tactica (2023), based on Royal, is set at the end of the third semester while its DLC story happens in the same moment as Persona Q2's.

Throughout the series' history, few spin-off titles appeared for it, with different game genres deviating from the role-playing game genre.

  • The Persona 4 Arena series of fighting game started in 2012, with the help of Arc System Works as gameplay elements from the BlazBlue series reappear there. It features original fighters among others from Persona 3, though they appear two years older than their sourced game, and Persona 4, overall set two months after the latter's main story as they partake in the returns of the Midnight Channel. Characters from the duology would reappear later in BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle.
  • The Persona Q series of dungeon crawling game made by the team behind the Etrian Odyssey series started in 2014, which join the casts from Persona 3 and Persona 4 in the first game, then adds the casts from Persona 3 Portable and Persona 5 in the second. This series' version of Joker, Teddie, and Aigis appeared in Etrian Odyssey Origins Collection, a HD remaster collection of the three first games, along with the protagonists of Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne (Demi-fiend), Shin Megami Tensei V (Nahobino), and Soul Hackers 2 (Ringo).
  • Also starting as a spin-off of Persona 4, the Dancing series of rhythm game began in 2015. Characters from Persona 5 and Persona 3 also appear in their respective Dancing titles later in 2018.
  • Persona 5 Strikers is a hack-and-slash game developed by ω-Force, the primary developers of the Warriors franchise, and Koei Tecmo and released in 2020.
  • Persona 5 Tactica is a tactical role-playing game that will be released in 2023.

In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate[edit]

The Persona series makes its Super Smash Bros. series debut as the first DLC franchise in the Fighters Pass Vol. 1. While most of the content present is from Persona 5, the series is also represented with content from Persona 4 and Persona 3. In addition to one newcomer, the series is represented by a stage, several character cameo appearances, 11 music tracks from across three games, four Mii Fighter costumes, and 11 Spirits. The series made its debut alongside the version 3.0.0 update and its associated new content.


  • 71.
    Joker (DLC): The protagonist of Persona 5 and leader of the Phantom Thieves of Hearts debuts as the first newcomer of the Fighters Pass Vol. 1. In battle, he wields a knife and an airsoft gun, but the power of the Wild Card allows him to call upon multiple Personas to his aid. Chief among them is his starting Persona Arsène, whom is Joker's Persona of choice in battle. When Joker’s Rebellion Gauge is maxed out, Arsène will be unleashed and give his attacks a slight boost. Arsène cannot be damaged and will persist until the gauge runs out or if Joker is KO’d. Finally, his Final Smash calls upon the Phantom Thieves to catch any opponents in an All-Out Attack, capable of instantly KOing them at a certain percentage. He was released on April 17, 2019 alongside Mementos, its 11 music tracks, and the Persona series Spirits as part of Challenger Pack 1.


  • MementosIconSSBU.png
    Mementos (DLC): The psychedelic Metaverse subway station from Persona 5 where Morgana first revealed his ability to transform from a cat into a bus. This location is visited several times throughout Persona 5 and is the Metaverse parallel to the underground metro that the player uses to travel around Shibuya. The stage’s layout is mostly flat with a handful of platforms, but walls may close in from any of the blast zones and a train may come rushing through the bottom of the screen. The Morgana bus will occasionally drop off familiar Phantom Thieves who will watch and react to the battle at play. Finally, the background colors and some visual elements in the background and on the base platform will change depending on the music track concurrently playing; red for Persona 5 music, yellow for Persona 4 music, and blue for Persona 3 music.

Mii Costumes[edit]

The following Mii costumes are available as downloadable content, as part of version 3.0.0, within the first wave of Mii Fighter outfits along with Challenger Pack 1 and Joker. They were released on April 17th, 2019.




Original Tracks[edit]

Persona received three arrangements for Ultimate.

  • Beneath the Mask (DLC): An arrangement of the theme that plays in the Tokyo overworld at night in Persona 5.
  • I'll Face Myself (DLC): An arrangement of I'll Face Myself (Acceptance version) from Persona 4. The theme plays at various points in Persona 4, most commonly when a character accepts their Shadow Self. The structure is based off of the Acceptance version, but the instruments are based on the battle verion.
  • Aria of the Soul (DLC): An arrangement of the Velvet Room theme present in every Persona title, debuting in Revelations: Persona. Registers as a Persona 5 music track on Mementos, as indicated by the red background when it plays.

Source Tracks[edit]

Tracks sourced directly from the Persona games.

Victory Themes[edit]


  • An instrumental version of "Life Will Change" was used in Joker's reveal trailer, as well as the track "The Spirit". However, neither of these tracks are in Ultimate.


Games with elements appearing in the Super Smash Bros. series[edit]

The Persona universe has games represented throughout the Super Smash Bros. series with a total of 9 games, and 10 if it includes the Megami Tensei franchise. The latest game represented in this universe is Persona 5 Strikers, released on February 20, 2020.

Shin Megami Tensei[edit]

Revelations: Persona[edit]

  • Playable characters:
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Joker's Purple costume represents this game's thematic color.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Eiha first appeared in this game.
  • Spirits:
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Igor, a recurring character in the series since the first installment, appears as a spirit.
  • Music:
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate "Aria of the Soul": An arrangement of the recurring Velvet Room theme, which debuted in this game.

Persona 3[edit]

  • Playable characters:
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Joker's Blue costume represents this game's thematic color.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Although originating from Shin Megami Tensei, Joker's down special, when Arsène is present, Tetrakarn and Makarakarn make their Persona series debut in this game.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate The All-Out Attack, which serves as Joker's Final Smash, debuted in this game.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate The protagonist from this game appears as a costume for the Mii Swordfighter.
  • Stage elements:
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Playing music from Persona 3 changes Mementos' Persona 5 theme to this game's theme.
  • Music:

Persona 4[edit]

  • Playable characters:
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Joker's Yellow costume represents this game's thematic color.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate The protagonist from this game appears as a costume for the Mii Swordfighter.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Teddie appears as a headgear for Mii Fighters.
  • Stage elements:
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Playing music from Persona 4 changes Mementos' Persona 5 theme to this game's theme.
  • Music:

Persona 3 Portable[edit]

  • Stage elements:
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate In the cracked screen on Mementos, the screen shows parts of this game’s opening cutscene.

Persona 4 Golden[edit]

  • Stage elements:
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate In the cracked screen on Mementos, the screen shows the loading screen from this game.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Playing music from Persona 4 Golden changes Mementos' Persona 5 theme to Persona 4's theme.
  • Music:
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate "Time To Make History": A variant of the battle theme when the player does not strike first, sourced from this game.

Persona 4: Dancing All Night[edit]

  • Stage elements:
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate When the Persona 4 theme is being used on Mementos, the main platform has a checkerboard pattern on the sides like the ones frequently utilized in this game.

Persona 5[edit]

  • Playable characters:
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Joker originates from this game. He utilizes moves from this game, such as his Gun and Eigaon. Arsène appears as part of his moveset. Morgana also appears as part of his taunts and victory poses.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Xander Mobus and Jun Fukuyama, Joker's English and Japanese voice actors, reprise their role in all regions.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate The visuals for Joker's All-Out Attack are taken from this game.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Joker's first six costumes are based on his Phantom Thief appearance from this game, while his other two are based on his Shujin Academy and summer uniform, also from this game.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Joker's Red costume represents this game's thematic color.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Joker's White costume is based on Goro Akechi's Crow outfit.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Morgana appears as a headgear for Mii Fighters.
  • Stage:
  • Stage elements:
  • Spirits:
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate The Phantom Thieves of Hearts (both in a group and individually), Goro Akechi, and Caroline & Justine appear as spirits.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Igor uses artwork from this game.
  • Music:
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate "Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There": The opening theme, sourced from this game.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate "Life Will Change -instrumental version-": The retrieved track, used for Joker's reveal trailer during The Game Awards 2018, although it isn't available in the game.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate "The Spirit": The retrieved track, used for Joker's reveal trailer during The Game Awards 2018, although it isn't available in the game.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate "Beneath the Mask": A remix of the theme from Tokyo at night, performed by Lyn Inaizumi.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate "Last Surprise": The main battle theme, sourced from this game.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate "Victory! Joker (Persona 5)": The primary victory theme, sourced from this game.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate "Rivers In the Desert": The boss theme for the fights against Shadow Masayoshi Shido, the Holy Grail, and Caroline and Justine, sourced from this game.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate "Our Beginning": The second phase of the final boss theme, sourced from this game.

Persona 5 Royal[edit]

  • Playable characters:
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Joker's Grappling Hook originates from this updated release of Persona 5.

Persona 5 Strikers[edit]

  • Spirits:


  • The Megami Tensei franchise, from which the Persona series deviates, crossed over with the Fire Emblem series in Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE and the Bayonetta series in Shin Megami Tensei Dx2, before the debut of the Persona universe in Smash.
  • Persona, EarthBound, Final Fantasy, and Dragon Quest are the only universes without playable characters from the first installment in their series in Super Smash Bros.
    • It is also the only universe not to have any playable characters from the century it debuted in.
  • Persona is the first third-party universe (with a playable character represented in Smash) that is a sub-series (as Persona deviates from the Megami Tensei franchise).
    • Persona is also the first sub-universe to not have its root universe featured in Smash.
      • Additionally Persona is the only fighter-based universe to spin off from a universe that did not originate with a video game, as Megami Tensei originated with a series of fantasy novels.
  • Persona is the first character-based universe to introduce a new company in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, as the copyright in Joker's reveal trailer mentions Atlus (although it is wholly owned by Sega, which is already represented in the game).
  • Persona is the only spin-off franchise to have representation in Smash without the main series (being the Megami Tensei games) also having representation.
    • However, this is only if the origins of Tetrakarn and Makarakarn are dismissed, as they originated in Shin Megami Tensei.

External links[edit]