- For fighter info, see Joker (SSBU).
Originally a nameless protagonist, a tradition to the original video game release of entire main Persona game entries for the most part (except for the Persona 2 duology, whose protagonists, Tatsuya and Maya are silent in their own game, but not in the other, and Persona 3 FES, which featured Aigis, and established character of the main game as the last main protagonist of epilogue, titled The Answer). Since Persona 4’s anime adaptions (which featured a nameless protagonist who is now named Yu Narukami), many updated versions of the main games and spin-offs (some of which are canon, such as the fighting game Persona 4 Arena) that relate to voice acting mostly began using the protagonists’ anime names, with Persona 3’s nameless protagonist, who received the official name Makoto Yuuki in the OVA movie, and Persona 5's protagonist being named Ren Amamiya in his anime adaptation. In the manga adaption, the protagonist is named Akira Kurusu.
Ren Amamiya is a second-year high school student who transfers to Shujin Academy in the spring in Tokyo near Aoyama-Itchome after being falsely accused of assault, criminally charged, and labeled as a delinquent. He lives in the attic of a coffee shop called Cafe Leblanc, located in Yongen-Jaya and owned by Sojiro Sakura, an acquaintance of his parents. On his way to Shujin on the first day of classes, he notices a strange app that has mysteriously been added to his phone, though he initially brushes it off as nothing. He later has a chance encounter with fellow student Ryuji Sakamoto after running into their lecherous gym teacher Suguru Kamoshida. One their way to school, they accidentally find themselves in a parallel reality known as the Metaverse, later discovering that the app is a conduit to said realm.
The Metaverse is where an individual's twisted desires have manifested into a fantasy-like area. In Kamoshida's case, he sees Shujin Academy as a castle where he is king and the students and faculty are his slaves. During their initial exploration of the castle, the pair break free a mysterious cat-like creature named Morgana, who fills them in on the Metaverse and its attributes. After seeing Kamoshida's true nature, the protagonist rebels against this reality which in turn awakens his Persona, Arsene, and dons a cloak and mask and the codename of "Joker".
Like with the other Persona protagonists, Ren posses the rare Wild Card ability, which allows him to wield multiple Personas at once. In charge of managing his growing collection of Personas, which can be obtained through negotiating, stealing, or fusion, is the mysterious Igor, the proprietor of the Velvet Room, a recurring area throughout the series. Igor continuously warns Ren of an imminent ruin and the only way to avoid it is to complete his "rehabilitation", facilitated by himself and the Velvet Room's attendants, the twin wardens Caroline and Justine.
After several return trips to the castle, Ryuji (codename Skull) and another fellow classmate and victim of Kamoshida, the half-American student Ann Takamaki (codename Panther), rebel against Kamoshida and awaken their Personas, Captain Kidd and Carmen, respectively. Under the guidance of Morgana (whose Persona is Zorro), the four send out a calling card throughout Shujin, announcing themselves as The Phantom Thieves of Hearts, which in turn causes his treasure to manifest in the castle. After a fierce battle, they successfully defeat Shadow Kamoshida, steal his treasure, and trigger a change of heart within him leading to him publicly confessing his crimes and turning himself in.
Following this, the Phantom Thieves begin to pursue more high profile targets, including renowned artist Ichiryusai Madarame, criminal kingpin Junya Kaneshiro, and restaurateur Kunikazu Okumura, while overtime expanding the team and gaining new members, including Yusuke Kitagawa (codename: Fox, Persona: Goemon), Makoto Niijima (codename: Queen, Persona: Johanna), Futaba Sakura (codename: Oracle, Persona: Necronomicon), and Haru Okumura (codename: Noir, Persona: Milady).
As the game progresses, the Phantom Thieves slowly uncover a conspiracy involving the election of the corrupt politician Masayoshi Shido to the position of Prime Minister and his accomplice, famed student detective Goro Akechi (codename: Crow, Personas: Robin Hood and Loki), who briefly joins the team in an attempt to kill the protagonist and frame the team for a series of mysterious mental shutdowns that have rocked Tokyo. Eventually, it is revealed that the true mastermind was the god-like being Yaldaboath, who planned to merge the Metaverse with the real world in an effort to seize control of both. After a long and brutal fight, the Phantom Thieves banish Yaldaboath, free humanity from its control, and destroy Mementos and the Metaverse.
In the original game, Ren leaves Yongen-Jaya after his probation ends and bids farewell to his friends as they drive him back to his hometown. However, in the Persona 5: The Royal expansion, Ren stays to complete a third semester. The expansion adds a new member to the team, gymnast Kasumi Yoshizawa (codename: Violet, Persona: Cendrillon) as well as Shujin's new student counselor Takuto Maruki and follows the team trapped in a dream-like alternate reality where each member's wishes and desires are fulfilled, such as Morgana being human and Futaba reuniting with her deceased mother. It is eventually revealed that Maruki himself is the instigator of the world, having fulfilled everyone's wishes in an attempt to create a world lacking with strife and filling everyone with empty happiness, as well as the fact that Kasumi is actually her twin sister Sumire and that the real Kasumi was killed in an accident, leading to Sumire to request Maruki to change her identity to her late sister as a form of coping with her survivor's guilt. The Phantom Thieves return to a now-restored Metaverse to steal his heart and, after a fist fight between Ren and Maruki, redeem him and remove the dream reality, which lets the story proceed as it normally does in the original game after defeating Yaldaboath. The Royal ends much the same way but with a newly reformed Maruki now taking a job as a taxi driver and helps Ren get home safely as well as saying goodbye to Sumire.
One year after the events of the original game, a new Metaverse threat arises during the Thieves’ summer vacation, now in the form of a new app called EMMA, in Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers. The team reunites to battle a Japanese pop idol named Alice Hiiragi, who has somehow mesmerized much of Shibuya's residents, and meet new allies including a sentient A.I. named Sophia (Persona: Pandora) and a new addition to the team, police inspector Zenkichi Hasegawa (codename: Wolf, Persona: Valjean).
Ren was announced to be included in Ultimate at The 2018 Game Awards on December 6, 2018, confirming him to be the first fighter in Fighters Pass Volume 1.
He was released on April 17, 2019, alongside the stage Mementos, 11 music tracks, and a Persona 5-themed Spirit Board as a part of Challenger Pack 1.
- Ren is the third fighter to represent Sega, following Sonic and Bayonetta, as Atlus was acquired by Sega Sammy Holdings in 2013.
- Ren's debut on a Nintendo console is the 3DS game Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth, a crossover with the casts of Persona 3, 4, and 5. His proper Nintendo Switch debut is Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers (discounting his costume cameos in Sonic Forces and Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore).
- Joker is the first fighter to represent a spin-off series.
- In an interview with Atlus to commemorate the announcement of Joker's inclusion as well as in his bi-weekly column in Famitsu magazine, Masahiro Sakurai has stated that he is a big fan of the Persona series and played Persona 5 in his spare time during Ultimate's development and mentions being impressed with the game's design and aesthetic. Its with this impression that he aimed to capture the game's sense of style when designing Joker's moveset and Mementos.
- Much like Cloud Strife, Ren also originates from a PlayStation console.
- Ren shares the same Japanese voice actor with Roy, being Jun Fukuyama. He also shares his English voice actor with for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U and Ultimate’s Announcer, Master Hand, and Crazy Hand, being Xander Mobus.
- Ren and Richter Belmont are the only playable third-party characters to make their fighting game debut in Smash.
- Ren is one of three playable characters to come from an M (Mature +17) rated series, the others being Solid Snake and Bayonetta
- Coincidentally, all three use an alias or codename
- Ren is one of eight characters to come from a real world location (Tokyo, Japan), the others being Snake (United States), Sonic (Christmas Island), Little Mac (New York, USA), Ryu (Japan), Simon & Richter (Transylvania), Ken (California, USA), and Terry (United States).
- Ren is the most recently-created third-party character in Smash Bros. as Persona 5 was released in Japan on September 15, 2016.
- This also makes him the second third-party character to debut in the 21st century, alongside Bayonetta.
- Coincidentally, both debuted in more than one console releases at the same time of his home game’s first release date, but not counting later ports on Bayonetta’s case. As for Ren’s case, he debuted on more than one console from the same company, namely the PS3 and PS4.