Dynasty Warriors-style spin-offs have been doing wonders for some of the most beloved video game franchises recently. The Legend of Zelda fans got their fill with Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, which functionally serves as a prequel to Breath of the Wild. Now it's Persona that's getting the Musou treatment with Persona 5 Strikers, functionally a direct sequel to the original Persona 5. Strikers serves as a welcome return, and proper send-off, to the Phantom Thieves' adventures. Taking place a few months after the original Persona 5's ending, players embark on a whole new journey into the metaverse across Japan.
It's not unusual for Persona to utilize spin-offs to serve as pseudo-sequels or continuations to each respective mainline game. However, Persona 5 Strikers is a little different compared to examples like Persona 4 Arena or the Dancing spin-offs previously. Whereas those examples took place in the same world in the future, those spin-offs weren't dedicated sequels in the way that Persona 5 Strikers is. However, for fans of the content in Persona 5 Royal, Strikers is missing a lot of the content from the definitive version of Persona 5. There is a reason for that, as the canonicity of Persona 5, Royal, and each games' relationship to Strikers is important to distinguish.
Persona 5 Strikers is the first entry in the franchise that actually resembles a true-to-form sequel, rather than just a spin-off in a different genre. Of course there was Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight, one of the many Persona rhythm game spin-offs, but obviously that wasn't anything close to a canon sequel. Previous Persona games not only had Dancing counterparts, but Persona 4 had the Arena and Arena Ultimax fighting game spin-offs, which also featured Persona 3 characters. That's without even counting the Persona Q spin-offs, which are very clearly separate from any Persona canon, acting more as fan service for the hardcore Persona fans.
This time, however, Persona 5 Strikers breaks the mold, and is the closest thing to a "Persona 5-2" if there ever was one. On a surface level, Persona 5 Strikers certainly looks like the action-infused Dynasty Warriors games that its foundation is based on, but underneath the gameplay systems are much closer to Persona 5 proper. Strikers plays like a traditional Persona RPG: players collect and fuse Personas, learn new magic skills, target enemies' weaknesses, and combine attacks together to optimize damage. Everything about the gameplay resembles the original Persona 5, just at a much faster pace for combat among some idiosyncrasies in between.
However, for Persona 5 Royal fans, there's an important caveat to Strikers' existence as a sequel. Specifically, Persona 5 Strikers is a direct sequel to the events of Persona 5, not Persona 5 Royal. The events of the third semester, certain characters, and certain events throughout the main game are not considered canon to Strikers. Along those lines, Phantom Thieves like Kasumi and Akechi are not featured in Strikers as well. While it's unfortunate considering Persona 5 Royal can be quantified as the definitive version of the fifth entry, Strikers originally released in Japan (known as Persona 5 Scramble) before Royal, so the latest game is not canon to Strikers.