Persona 5 Rated M by ESRB

This story from 2016 looks at the M rating given to JRPG Persona 5 by the ESRB.

Published: October 19, 2016 10:16 AM /


Joker adjusting his glove with the text "THE SHOW'S OVER" on the left-hand side in Persona 5

Persona 5, the highly anticipated RPG from Atlus, is getting closer to its western release date of February 14th (Valentine's Day) 2017.

Having already released in Japan in September, shipping more than 550,000 copies to date, the game has now been classified for its North American release by the ESRB as M for Mature (17+).

The teacher Maruki asking the class "What do we call the phenomenon where believing in a treatment's power is enough to improve your condition?" in Persona 5

The news was reported by Persona Central after being confirmed in the release of a sales sheet from Atlus USA, and has been well received by Persona fans as indicative that the Western release will be free from censorship.

We should point out that this has not yet been confirmed, and the ESRB rating process means that the game could, in theory, gain this rating and still be subject to content cuts. The content descriptors for the rating that will go on the box are as follows:

  • Blood
  • Drug Reference
  • Partial Nudity
  • Sexual Themes
  • Strong Language
  • Violence

It's fairly standard issue in terms of ESRB ratings, and not really indicative of the game's overall content. The ESRB does generally publish a more detailed synopsis later, and we will update with that information when it becomes available.

Fans have reason to be hopeful, however, as Persona 4 had no major cuts and some pretty culture-specific scenes. At the time of their Western releases, both Persona 3 and 4 were also given the M rating. In Japan, the game received a CERO rating of C, which put it for 15 and up in that region earlier this year.

Persona 5 marks the first numbered entry in the Persona spin-off series since Persona 4 released on the PS2 eight years ago. The Persona series is itself a spin-off from the popular Japanese Megami Tensei series, although starting with Persona 4, the Persona series dropped the Shin Megami Tensei element of its title.

A Persona using the Riot Gun skill in Persona 5

The story of Persona 5 follows a group of teenagers who are high-school students by day, but 'phantom thieves' by night. The characters use the powers granted to them by their inner selves - their 'Personas' - to enter a fantasy world through the hearts of others.

Ultimately, the theme of the series is bringing the real world closer in line with our 'true selves' rather than the protective masks we wear as part of normal society. It's a riff on Jungian psychology like all of the Persona series, but don't worry if that sounds a bit heavy; there's plenty of fighting and fanservice too.

The series has gained much acclaim among players and critics alike for its strong connection between the seemingly incongruous worlds of RPG dungeon-based combat, and the dating sim-like day to day activities of the teenage main characters that premiered in the series with Persona 3. Persona 5 looks to build on that reputation, and also provide new players with a good jumping in point for the series.

The game will release on February 14th, 2017 in both North America and Europe and will be available for both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3.

The 'Take Your Heart' premium edition is also available for pre-order and includes a SteelBook collectible case, a soundtrack CD, a 4" Morgana plush, a 64-page hardcover art book, a school bag and a collectible outer box.

Will you be pre-ordering Persona 5? Do you have any interest in the special edition? Does this rating affect your decision or opinion of the title? Let us know in the comments below.

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Dom Oleary Writer
| Former Staff Writer

I'm a dyed in the wool gamer of the now irrelevant (I'm told) generation-X. If I'm not gaming, you'll find me writing about games, writing my wonderful… More about Dom