How a Persona 5 Royal Mini-Game Spoils a Major Plot Twist

AbraxasOctober 9, 2021

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal.

In between the game’s epic Metaverse adventures targeting corrupt and predatory individuals, Persona 5 Royal gives players plenty of other things to do to boost their relationships and social skills. One of the game’s side activities allows players to earn social stat points by playing different retro games. But while this was a feature in Persona 5‘s original release, Royal adds a new game that references a major character’s arc and spoils its conclusion.

Like most the other retro games, “Featherman Seeker” can be purchased from a shop in Akihabara. Completing it involves a simple mini-game where players must memorize a sequence of button inputs, then repeat them within a time limit. Doing so correctly nets Knowledge points. Between these, the game’s three levels tell a story based on the popular in-universe Featherman series that pretty clearly mirrors the main arc of Goro Akechi — and might actually make it darker.

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What Is Featherman Seeker’s Story?

“Featherman Seeker” tells the story of a human training to become the sixth Phoenix Ranger. Upon waking up in a space laboratory, the player character is greeted by a scientist named Osagiri who, after training them with a couple tests and a battle against an alien threat, gives them the name Gray Pigeon. She then tells the player that they may even surpass the Feathermen someday. The next level sees Gray Pigeon fighting a real battle with Osagiri providing information through a communication device in their helmet. After emerging victorious, she tells Gray Pigeon “There is power within you that still lies dormant.”

In its third and final chapter, Gray Pigeon fights Osagiri as a final test of strength. However, after accepting her defeat, the Feathermen arrive, tracking an Infinibug reading coming from Gray Pigeon. Osagiri instructs the player to fight (with Morgana noting that the game doesn’t provide an option to refuse), and Gray Pigeon is able to defeat the Feathermen. It’s then that Osagiri reveals herself to be Alya, an officer of the aliens the Feathermen have been fighting.

Alya reveals Gray Pigeon’s training was merely a cover-up, and they were never actually going to become a Featherman. Instead, the mad scientist infected the player with parasitic Infinibugs and irradiating them with Feathernix Waves, turning them from a human into a weapon meant to destroy the Feathermen. In the end, Gray Pigeon awakens their ultimate power and transports themselves into another dimension with just Alya, killing them both with a bomb.

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How Featherman Seeker’s Story Resembles Goro Akechi’s Arc

akechi as crow persona 5

While not a one-to-one retelling, Gray Pigeon’s storyline is pretty similar to Persona 5 from Goro Akechi’s perspective. Both characters were manipulated into becoming villains, both have powers that rival the heroes they fight and both, ultimately, sacrifice themselves to ensure the good guys live to fight another day. Morgana even says “Pigeon became a Phoenix Ranger after all, didn’t he…?” which parallels how, despite everything, Crow belongs with the Phantom Thieves.

Just as Gray Pigeon was used as a tool by Alya, Akechi was turned into a Metaverse assassin by Masayoshi Shido. And while Akechi was aware from the start what kind of man he was working with, in the end, both he and Gray Pigeon are blindsided by revelations regarding their benefactors. In Akechi’s case, he learns from his cognitive self that Shido always knew Goro was his biological son and planned to use him as a scapegoat for this crimes. It’s at this point that Akechi traps himself with Shido’s cognition of him, allowing the Phantom Thieves to escape the palace at the apparent cost of his own life.

Alya could also represent Yaldabaoth, who serves as Persona 5‘s true villain. The man-made God of Control is the one who chose Akechi to face off against the Phantom Thieves in a rigged game meant to prove that humanity wants to be controlled. Yaldabaoth gave Akechi the Wild Card that allows him to wield multiple Personas, though his power is limited to just Robin Hood and Loki due to his inability to trust or form bonds.

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It’s also possible that “Featherman Seeker” has even darker implications for Akechi’s backstory. While Osagiri and Alya have similarities to Shido and Yaldabaoth, her status as a scientist whose studies and experiments involve the source of mysterious powers makes her most like Wakaba Isshiki, Futaba‘s mother and one of Akechi’s first victims. Though its unclear if the two ever met outside of Akechi causing Wakaba’s mental shutdown, it’s possible considering Shido’s involvement and the other parallels with the retro game that she was somehow involved in Akechi discovering his powers, something the game never shows. The similarities between Osagiri and Wakaba are stronger in the Japanese version, as the two share the same verbal tic.

Other Connections Between Featherman Seeker and Akechi

Regardless, the similarities between Akechi and Gray Pigeon go beyond the story beats themselves. Gray Pigeon’s dormant powers could reference Akechi’s Wild Card abilities, which aren’t revealed until the final fight against him. Alya also explains her choice to transform a human by explaining, “I had assumed there were no humans left with a sense of justice,” a reference to Goro’s arcana. That “Featherman Seeker” boosts the player’s Knowledge provides another connection to Akechi, as players need to get this up to rank four to reach rank seven of this Confidant. Additionally, Akechi’s DLC Featherman costume even dresses him as Gray Pigeon.

Since “Featherman Seeker” is new in Royal, it’s likely Atlus intentionally wanted eagle-eyed returning fans to spot the parallels. Since it’s just one mini-game that’s split into three parts (all of which need to be viewed to make all of the similarities clear), there’s little risk to newcomers actually spoiling the major twists for themselves. Plus, even if they did, there are plenty of other surprises in Persona 5 Royal involving Akechi that extend beyond what this retro game teases.

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