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'Persona 5' official site teases countdown for possible release date

Atlus is teasing fans of its upcoming JRPG "Persona 5" with a countdown clock set for next month. The countdown appeared late this week with the phrase "Take your heart" and is scheduled to expire on May 5, 2016.

The timer is widely speculated to hint at the game's release date or at least an announcement thereof. Neither Atlus nor its parent company Sega have said anything about a specific release date or its announcement yet. Atlus Chief Executive Officer Naoto Hiraoka, talking to Japanese gaming magazine Dengeki PlayStation, previously confirmed that they plan to launch "Persona 5" in summer 2016. Meanwhile, back in February, Japanese retailer was spotted putting up "Persona 5" advertisement in one of its stores, sparking speculation that the much-anticipated RPG is coming soon.

The role-playing game was initially scheduled for a 2015 release. However, in September, the launch was delayed to 2016 "in order to make sure the next iteration of the Persona series lives up to the expectations of fans."

Similar to previous "Persona" titles, the upcoming game features a group of high school students who can summon Personas. However, unlike the previous entries to the series, "Persona 5" will have a "rougish antihero" as its main protagonist. The game is set in Shibuya, Japan and each character's Persona is based on a famous literary figure like Arsene Lupin, the gentleman thief created by French writer Maurice Leblanc.

The game also differs from the rest of the series in terms of theme which revolves around "social reform." The game's storyline or plot might not be what "Persona" fans are used to.

"In the previous game, we wrote a story that involved having a justice group chase down a bad guy that could easily be feared by just about anyone," game director Katsura Hashino said in a post at the game's official site, as translated by Siliconera. "This time, it's about a group of high school students that are being 'chased' by unexpected occurrences due to the justice they believe in. We're writing [the story] to convey a thrilling everyday life in the shoes of these characters, that are as large as life, in this juvenile school setting."

"Persona 5" is coming to PlayStation 3 and PS4 gamers in Japan and North America. As mentioned, it's expected to arrive sometime this summer, though it isn't clear if this release window is for Japan only or not. Meanwhile, on May 5, fans will find out if Atlus will provide an exact release date or some other piece of information.

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