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Shin Megami Tensei V: Release date, gameplay, screenshots and more

Shin Megami Tensei V: release date, gameplay, screenshots and more
(Image credit: Atlus)

At long last, Shin Megami Tensei V has stepped out of the shadows for an official reveal on Nintendo Switch. After three excruciating years, fans have new footage – and a release window – to help fuel their own personal hype trains.

After a lengthy period of silence from Nintendo and publisher/developer Atlus, a new trailer for the fifth core entry in the RPG series finally aired during Nintendo's July 20 Direct Mini presentation. In addition to a lengthy cinematic, the footage promised a simultaneous worldwide  release and a specific release window.

There still isn't much to go on in terms of what to expect from the game, but it's good to know it hasn't gone the way of the dinosaur after its extended absence. 

Here's everything we currently know about Shin Megami Tensei V, including its gameplay, release date, setting, and announcement trailer.

Shin Megami Tensei V release date

During the most recent Nintendo Direct Mini presentation on July 20, developer and publisher Atlus confirmed a new release date for the fifth entry in the long-running JRPG series. Shin Megami Tensei V is now set to release on Nintendo Switch in 2021. Unfortunately, there's no specific date for when we can expect to get our hands on the game. 

(Image credit: Atlus)

Keep your eyes open for additional updates to come down the pipeline, as Nintendo will likely stream more Nintendo Direct presentations and send out surprise announcements about the game as we near 2021. It's likely we won't see additional gameplay until next year at the earliest.

(Image credit: Atlus)

Atlus first announced Shin Megami Tensei V back in November 2017, but it did not confirm any sort of release window at the time. Nintendo will likely keep its cards close to its chest throughout the rest of 2020 given that the spotlight is about to rest squarely on next-gen debuts with Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X.

Shin Megami Tensei V gameplay

The Shin Megami Tensei games are comprised of the dark JRPG universe the Persona series spun off of. They're a favorite among hardcore "MegaTen" enthusiasts (a nickname for the franchise), and are based on the original "Megami Tensei" series, which itself derives from  the sci-fi novel series Digital Devil Story by Aya Nishitani. 

(Image credit: Atlus)

Most games in the series are standalone efforts with individual stories and characters, with few narratives linking together. Plot details heavily involve demons and manifestations of the self, called "Personas," that can aid players in battle. In the Shin Megami Tensei line of games, players often fight against and recruit demons to help face off against a unified enemy. 

(Image credit: Atlus)

The games deal with various themes, such as philosophy, religion, and occultism, with highly stylized and surreal elements that tie everything together. Most of the entries with the Shin Megami Tensei moniker include several of the same elements, and it appears from what little we've seen of Shin Megami Tensei V, it will follow in its predecessors' footsteps. 

(Image credit: Atlus)

Other than surmising what we can from previous games, we have a snippet from an interview with producer Kazuyuki Yamai from an earlier Famitsu interview. Yamai noted that, since Shin Megami Tensei V is the series' first mainline series release in some time, he wants to combine the "charm" of Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne with the same demon upbringing elements of Shin Megami Tensei IV. As a result, we could see additional aspects melded with demon fusion when the game debuts.

Shin Megami Tensei V setting

In the original debut trailer from 2017, the Shin Megami Tensei V trailer confirmed that it would be taking place in present day Tokyo. Many of the Shin Megami Tensei games, including the Persona titles, take place in modern settings like this. Unfortunately, there isn't much more to go off of when it comes to determining the details of the Tokyo setting. 

Shin Megami Tensei V: release date, gameplay, screenshots and more

(Image credit: Atlus)

The first trailer opened up in a subway station and a larger, open city view where our protagonist appears to be overtaken by a swarm of demons. However, in an interview with Famitsu, producer Kazuyuki Yamai stated previously that he wanted the game to "sympathize with the troubles that the world is currently going through, such as terrorism, nuclear weapons, unemployment, the uneasiness about life retirement and other troubles at home and abroad." 

(Image credit: Atlus)

Yamai also stated that he wanted players to take note of the "characteristics of the time." Now, three years later, we find ourselves living through a global pandemic. It's quite possible elements of this particular historic event could make their way into the game.

Shin Megami Tensei V announcement trailer

Shin Megami Tensei V was first revealed during a special event Atlus held in January 2017 in Japan. During the broadcast, fans were shown a striking announcement trailer that set the stage for a brand new foray into the MegaTen universe.

(Image credit: Atlus)

The trailer opened on a seemingly normal subway station in present day Tokyo with text narration noting that "all the fountains of the great deep broke up and the windows of heaven were opened." That's MegaTen speak for "demons are about to overrun the Earth." The next scene revealed a series of fallen enemies and demons, likely throughout the subway tunnels.

The trailer then switched to a group of demons presumably consuming our protagonist, who reaches out with his last breath for help. The narrative text described the unknown masses' longing for a "new messiah," which will probably end up in our protagonist growing to fill that role. The trailer also revealed that the game was currently in development and it would use the Unreal Engine. 

Shin Megami Tensei V: release date, gameplay, screenshots and more

(Image credit: Atlus)

This first look was especially notable in that it marked the first time the Shin Megami Tensei series had been seen on the then-unreleased Nintendo Switch, which was poised to launch a few months afterward, in March. Aside from a logo reveal, that was all the trailer had to show at the time, but it was more than enough to get fans hyped. Though we’ve yet to see any gameplay yet, this first look is indicative of a dark journey that players will absolutely want to take.