A beta build of Persona 5 was leaked online earlier this week, with the build dated to December 2015. This beta included interesting details, such as early versions of cutscenes and songs from Persona 5's soundtrack, like "Rivers in the Desert" and "Last Surprise". Persona 5 modders have been digging through this beta and posting their findings online, with one discovery being characters from Persona 4 who were likely going to make cameos in the game.
Twitter user A Mudkip found that there was a fully modeled version of a grown up Nanako Dojima in the Persona 5 beta files. Nanako is a character who was the protagonist's cousin and was Persona 4's Justice social link. The pre-teen Nanako is dressed in a thick jacket and still has the pigtails she wore as a kid. She apparently has animations assigned to her that originally belonged to the female protagonist of Persona 3 Portable, wielding a racket.
Ok you guys saw nothing before :)— A Mudkip (@REALMadMax1960) January 20, 2024
Here is an adult Nanako, seems P5 originally did plan on having adult p4 characters in some capacity.
She has femc anims https://t.co/iW09YcmIUt pic.twitter.com/yUxa609dC1
finally... older nanako and yu designs. in persona 5 beta? the yu model is kinda odd since it's still in the persona 4 chibi style but also more proportional now. was p5 going to incorporate p4 characters into its story? pic.twitter.com/3VMpjTH2KV— sweets 🍬 ☃️ YT @ EllenZappa (@pinksweets8) January 20, 2024
The cameos don't stop at just Nanako Dojima, as another modder on Twitter, EllenZappa, discovered a model for an older version of the Persona 4 protagonist, Yu Narukami. Narukami's model is styled after Persona 4's more limited, almost chibi-like design, but his proportions resemble how characters look in Persona 5. Yu's model is incomplete, as he was only modeled up to his underwear, and no other clothing. The contrast between Yu and Nanako's models has gotten fans speculating at how these cameos would have worked.
(for clarification, yu is from the city while joker is from the country. so it would be accurate. not sure how nanako ended up there though)— sweets 🍬 ☃️ YT @ EllenZappa (@pinksweets8) January 20, 2024
This is def something from early, early in p5's dev cycle. Someone else mentioned it could have been back from when it was going to be travelling the world (and they visited Inaba I'd assume).— A Mudkip (@REALMadMax1960) January 20, 2024
One of these theories was based on an early idea in Persona 5's development, where the Phantom Thieves were partaking in a globe-trotting adventure and could have possibly visited Inaba in the process. Another theory raised was that since Yu was originally from the city, and he had animations that were assigned to Persona 5's baseball mini-game, Yu and Nanako could have made a cameo there.
While Persona 5 didn't feature fully fledged appearances from characters like Yu or other members of the Investigation Team, the game still featured some easy-to-miss non-physical cameos. These include an interview with Yukari Takeba from Persona 3 that can be heard on Leblanc's TV, or Rise Kujikawa being featured on a poster. Regardless, some fans lamented that an older Nanako wasn't included in the final release, despite how complete her model looked.
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