Persona, also known as Shin Megami Tensei: Persona, is a video game franchise developed and primarily published by Atlus. Focusing around a series of role-playing video games, Persona is a spin-off from Atlus' Megami Tensei franchise, and was originally based on the high school setting of Shin Megami Tensei If.... The first entry in the series, Revelations: Persona,[c] was released in 1996. There have since been five further main titles, with the most recent, Persona 5, being released in 2016. Numerous spin-offs have also been developed. The series takes its title from beings summoned by characters in battle, manifesting from their personality.
Persona began as a spin-off based on the positively-received setting of If.... Its trademark features include a high school setting, a group of students as the protagonists, a silent protagonist similar to the mainline Megami Tensei franchise, and combat using Personas. Since the release of Persona 3 in 2006, the main series has used a social simulation function called Social Links, which is directly linked to how Personas evolve. Central character designs are by series co-creator Kazuma Kaneko (Persona and the Persona 2 games) and Shigenori Soejima (Persona 3 onwards). Its overall theme is exploration of the human psyche and how the characters find their true selves. The series' recurring concepts and design elements draw on Jungian psychology and archetypes, along with religion, mythology, and popular literature.
Revelations: Persona was the first role-playing Megami Tensei title to be released in the West. Beginning with Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, the English localizations began to remain faithful to the Japanese versions, at the insistence of Atlus. The series is highly popular internationally, becoming the best-known Megami Tensei spin-off and establishing Atlus and the Megami Tensei franchise in North America. Following the release of Persona 3 and 4, the series also established a strong following in Europe. The series has since gone on to sell over eight million units worldwide, outselling its parent franchise. There have been numerous adaptations, including anime television and theatrical series, novelizations, manga, stage plays, and musical concerts.