When Persona 5 was first released in 2017, it received critical acclaim for its aesthetic, music, and overall design. In 2020 (2019 in Japan), Persona 5 Royal expanded on the award-winning formula with new story content, extra gameplay, and tons of quality-of-life improvements. While the re-release of Persona 5 improves on just about every aspect of the game, fans have been asking if you can date the guys for years.
The Persona franchise is known for its unique day-to-day gameplay where players can forge social interactions with other characters to unlock special abilities and bonuses. You can even go so far as to date the female characters in the game and have a girlfriend. Some games even let you date multiple women at once without their knowledge, which can often lead to an appropriately karmic breakup.
But the guys deserve love too, especially in a romantic capacity. Here's what you should know about dating in P5R.
Can you date the guys in 'Persona 5 Royal'?
The story of Royal is the same as the original Persona 5. You play as a new male transfer student who moves to a new school and is treated as an outcast. Upon stumbling into the subconscious reality of the Metaverse, you awaken to a mysterious supernatural power that lets you alter the hearts of people. You eventually team up with similar students and become the Phantom Thieves of Hearts, who aim to use their powers to rid the world of wicked adults.
Aside from JRPG action and Pokémon-style monster collecting, the game also lets you live out life as a normal Japanese high school student. On a shifting daily basis, you can hang out with your friends, study for tests, explore the Metaverse, or even work out at the gym to improve your stats.
Over time, you may even get the opportunity to date some of your female friends. If you forge a strong enough bond with one of the girls, you're eventually given the option to call one your girlfriend.
Having a girlfriend doesn't necessarily affect your gameplay, but it does give you access to unique dialogue options and scenes depending on who you choose date. But similar to previous Persona games, the original Persona 5 doesn't allow you to romance any of the male characters and call them your boyfriend. You can call Ryuji or Yusuke your in-game boyfriend in your heart, but none of that is reflected in the game itself. Does Persona 5 Royal change that?
Technically, no. Despite the many additions that Royal makes to Persona 5, you are still not given any options to romance the guys in the game. It's disappointing, to say the least, as the game could have greatly benefited from an update to its LGBTQ standards. The original game received backlash for its representation of gay men in a throwaway scene for the game, and Polygon wrote in 2020 that Royal doesn't exactly make it better.
Luckily, there are more options for you to spend time with male characters of your choosing. Whereas the base game only lets you give gifts to women, Royal expands that option to let you give gifts to guys as well. You can also take any one of your party members (including guys) to the Jazz Jin lounge for a one-on-one outing that increases their stats. That technically qualifies as a date!
Persona as a whole could stand to improve its LGBTQ representation by like ... a lot. But the opportunities afforded to players in P5R are at least a step in the right direction.
Persona 5 Royal will be re-released on all major current-gen platforms on Oct. 21, 2022.