Demon dog Hayataro will be making his debut in the upcoming Nintendo Switch JRPG Shin Megami Tensei V (SMT V). The new character art and accompanying commentary from Masayuki Doi were posted to the official Atlus Twitter account on August 17, 2021.
Doi-san's Demon Commentary: Hayataro ????
— Official ATLUS West (@Atlus_West) August 17, 2021
Masayuki has contributed to Atlus titles since Persona 2: Innocent Sin in 1999 and is acting as character designer and new demon designer on the newest SMT title. His design pulls from various pieces of Japanese folklore, manifesting in the design on Hayataro’s legs, representing traditional ‘shide’ papers used in temples to ward off evil and misfortune.
Doi mentions that Hayataro was initially meant to be the first demon the protagonist meets and recruits in SMT V, but due to technical constraints, the idea was scrapped. Continuing on, he teased the demon’s “original purpose,” which wasn’t realized in the final game. He notes that while he’d love to expound on the story, it’s best kept a secret until after the game is released.
Hayataro will be the companion of Yuzuru Atsuta, an honor student at Jouin Academy and a close friend of the protagonist in SMT V.
Shin Megami Tensei V will be released on the Nintendo Switch in Japan on November 11, 2021 and globally on November 12, 2021.