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Installing P5R Mods on PS4

Foreward: I would like to extend a massive thank you to Pan-hime (@regularpanties on Twitter) for graciously providing me with a firmware 6.72 PS4 so that I can test and verify the following procedures myself, in addition to modding this game. Thanks to her, there is now a Persona 5 Royal section on the site, as well as P5R support for the Mod Compendium & In-Game Mod Menu.
Thank you to lipsum as well for his patches that enable mod.cpk support, intro skip and more

  • UPDATE 10/10/21: Updated links
  • UPDATE 12/20/20:¬†Added info about modding P5R JP and USA, as well as firmwares 5.05 and 7.02 thanks to a recent exploit.
  • UPDATE 6/28/21: Simplified instructions, added screenshots and gifs, PS4 7.50 – 7.55 links, and mentioned lipsum’s EBOOT patches.
  • UPDATE 7/7/21: Mentioned new method of replacing mod.cpk that doesn’t require a new PKG installation every time.

Royal, the definitive version of Persona 5, has been out on PS4 for some time now. The PS3 (and vanilla PS4 version) may seem less preferable to mod if you have access to a PS4.

On one hand, if you have a PC that can run RPCS3, you may still want to stick with vanilla’s expansive mod library, fancier mod manager, and larger support community. A mod called Persona 5 EX aims to bring some Royal features and other new QoL improvements to PS3 as well. There’s even PS3 mods that backport Personas and costumes from Royal, as well as upscale it to 4K.

Then again, you’d be missing out on playing with tons of exclusive Royal content. Keep in mind, this is not the most user-friendly process at the moment, nor is it accessible to most PS4 owners. You need to have not updated your PS4 recently (the less recently, the better).
You also need to find an unofficial copy of the game online, and you need to bear with long, technical instructions.

Prerequisites

To get started, the following are required.

  • A Playstation 4 on firmware 5.05, 6.72, 7.02, or 7.50 – 7.55
    – This is currently the only platform you can play P5R on.
    – To upgrade from a lower firmware, see this guide.
    – Try to stay on the lowest possible exploitable firmware (i.e. 5.05 or 6.72) for the best experience.
    – Exploits for higher firmwares tend to be unstable and crash a lot.
    – Bear in mind: right now, it is impossible to downgrade your firmware or emulate the game.
  • An FPKG (Fake PKG) of English Persona 5 Royal
    – Sorry, you’ll have to find this yourself.
    – This is required to install the game, dump files, and create custom updates.
  • A Windows PC
    This is for running the software to mod/extract the game’s files and to produce an update PKG.
  • An External USB Flash Storage Device
    This could be a hard drive, SD card reader, flash drive etc. for storing and transferring dumped data from PS4.

Downloads

1. Hacking the PS4

To run fake packages, you need to be running HEN, a “homebrew enabler” for the PS4. This relies on a browser bug that tricks the PS4 into running unofficial code. This only works on select firmwares where talented hackers have discovered kernel exploits. These are often patched on recent firmwares by the time they’re disclosed.

Together, the web and kernel exploit can escalate user permissions– allowing you to use homebrew apps to decrypt and play altered copies of games, including fake update patches, which is what we will use to mod the game.

There are a variety of ways to launch HEN– the easiest is to visit a webpage designed to run the exploits, choose your firmware, choose the option that says “HEN” and follow the instructions.

Firmwares 5.05 and 6.72

Although the USA and Europe versions of Persona 5 Royal don’t natively run on firmware 5.05, not to worry– later in this guide, we will be lowering the firmware requirement to 5.05 using our modded PKG. The exploit should run instantly, or at least within a few tries.

Firmwares 7.02, 7.50 – 7.55

On these firmwares, you’d be able to dump your own USA/PAL copy of Persona 5 Royal (at least up to version 1.01). The success rate of running the exploit is lower, so expect to constantly restart your system and repeat this step until it works.

2. Using HEN

Once you follow the link in your PS4’s browser, choose HEN to start the exploit. Wait for it to say Press Circle to back out to the home menu. If you wait too long to do so, the browser/PS4 may become unresponsive. If the exploit was successful, you should then see a series of messages reassuring you that HEN is running.

If the exploit fails, you will have to restart the system to try again. Do this normally by holding down the PS button and choosing Restart, or if the system locks up, hold down the power button until it turns off and try again. Each time this happens, there is a small chance the storage may be corrupted (if it’s being accessed mid-crash/power cycle), which will be checked automatically at boot. Worst case scenario, you will have to reinstall everything on the PS4.

Blocking Updates

To remain on an exploitable firmware and continue modding, you’ll want to do everything you can to avoid Sony’s automatic firmware updates. I recommend that you block updates via the router that the PS4 is connected to. Here is a list of URLs to block.

For extra safety, you can go to Settings System > Automatic Downloads and uncheck everything. This should help prevent the system from downloading anything without your consent, but it’s still best to block updates via your network to be extra sure.

3. Obtaining the FPKG

Our end goal is to add a “mod.cpk” archive to the game’s filesystem, which contains our mods. At the same time, we will patch the EBOOT to instruct the game to load our modded files from “mod.cpk”. No official game files are actually overwritten.
To that end, we need an unofficial copy of the game to generate a modded update with, since the encryption keys have to match.

On certain sites, you can download what are known as PKG files. Oftentimes, these PKG files are “fakesigned” and are called FPKGs, or fake PKGs. This is what we’re looking for.
With an English FPKG of P5R , we can create our own custom updates since FPKGs are not signed with an unknown encryption key.

Since these files are massive, you way wish to use a program such as JDownloader2 to download in case your connection gets interrupted.

Optional: Extracting the CPKs

To make your own mods, you’d want access to the files. Like most Persona games, they are contained in CriWare .CPK archives. Use the information in this thread to extract the CPK archives from the fake PKG.
The following are the ones you want:

  • dataR.cpk (cross-platform game data)
  • ps4R.cpk (ps4-specific game data)
  • ps4_movieR.cpk (prerendered/animated cutscenes)

You can use this tool to fully extract the files from each CPK. Ignore playgoR.cpk, it’s full of duplicate files meant for digital installation from a disc. It’s pointless to keep or extract.

You can download the files from here pre-extracted if you find it more convenient.

4. Installing Mods

The Mod Compendium is a mod manager that comes with a few sample mods. For more, see amicitia.github.io.
Mods placed in your ModCompendium\Mods\Persona5Royal folder will show up in the program when you pick Persona 5 Royal from the dropdown. Activate them by checking their box.

There are two major versions of the Mod Compendium that play a role in P5R modding, so you have a couple options from this point forward.

I recommend Option 2 if you’re able to use FTP (file transfer protocol). If you’re unfamiliar with FTP, I’ll be going over how to set it up.

Option 1: MC 1.6.1 Default

With this option, you’ll have to create and install a new PKG every time you want to replace the modded files in the game, but won’t need to use FTP.

Be sure to click the Settings button and specify your FPKG path/region!
  • It automatically includes the intro skip patch, so you won’t see the opening logos or movie.
  • The game will be updated to v1.02 and backported for use with firmwares 5.05+.

Option 2: MC 1.6.1 + Custom EBOOT

You have to do all the steps from Option 1 at least once, but while also replacing the eboot.bin in your Mod Compendium 1.6.1 Dependencies\GenGp4\GAMEID-patch directory with a custom one, downloaded from this page.
For the English version of P5R, your GAMEID is either USA17419 (EUR) or USA17416 (USA).

  • Replace the eboot.bin and build PKG as normal with 1.6.1. Pick a small mod like the Mod Menu or Title Screen Skip to build with the PKG (it won’t be used).
  • Comes with additional, optional tweaks (like a intro skip, external mod.cpk loading, global square menu, content/save bonus unlockers, trophy disabler, ENV testing…) depending on your needs.
  • The game will be updated to v1.02 and backported for use with firmwares 5.05+.

Once installed, you will no longer need to create PKGs, so you can get rid of the FPKG if you need to free up space.
From then on, we can use Mod Compendium v1.7.0— which only outputs a mod.cpk– and use FTP to transfer it to the PS4, where it will be loaded by our patched update when you start the game.

FTP

If you’re unfamiliar with FTP, just install the Filezilla Client on PC, enter your PS4’s IP address and port when shown after launching an FTP payload (usually on the same listing as where you launch HEN from).

You can then navigate to the /data/ folder. Inside, create a /p5r/ folder and drop your mod.cpk generated by Mod Compendium v1.7.0 inside. When it’s finished transferring, start the game. It’s really that simple! Much quicker and hassle-free than creating and installing PKGs.

Setup Before Building Your Modded PKG

Click the Settings button.

  • Supply the path to the base game’s Fake PKG. This is usually a 35 GB PKG file. This is required to produce a working update PKG.
  • Don’t forget to set the region to either USA or JP. For EUR, please wait for the new method.
  • Check the Enable Compression box! This could prevent crashing. Some users report better luck leaving it unchecked, though. It’s also faster to leave it unchecked. This part might take some trial and error.
  • Replace the 0-byte placeholder CPKs in the ModCompendium\Dependencies\GenGP4\{TITLEID}-patch\USRDIR folder with the v1.02 update CPKs (patch2R.cpk etc.). This will help prevent a crash when starting a new game.

Hit Build to produce a new modded update PKG for your PS4. It will already be backported to work with firmware 5.05+, load modded files, and skip the intro logos.

Troubleshooting the Mod Compendium:

  • Sometimes, when building your update PKG, you might get an error saying the base game PKG cannot be found. This is usually because the app_path in the .gp4 file did not get updated in time. It may take a few tries. Use a small mod like the Mod Menu to ensure that it gets overwritten. Be sure not to accidentally click or type in any of the cmd windows that pop up, as this will halt the process. You may need to edit the gp4 file in ModCompendium\Dependencies\GenGP4 yourself if this doesn’t work.
  • Some users have reported the Mod Compendium hanging on the “building/compressing CPK…” message. No output is created other than a mod.csv file. In this case the replacement CPK never gets made due to the CRI Packed File Maker process throwing an error and failing. Install .NET Framework  3.5 Service Pack 1.
  • If the cmd window stops making progress at about 80% while creating the PKG, feel free to close it. This is the point where the new PKG’s integrity is being verified by comparing it to the massive base game PKG, which is why it takes so long. It’s usually not necessary, but if you wait long enough, it will eventually complete. Subsequent builds should take less time.
  • When starting a New Game in P5R, if the game crashes with Error Code CE-34878-0 you may have forgotten to include the update 1.02 files in the GenGP4 patch folders, as described earlier. If you’re using Spanish/German/Italian/French as your system language, also be sure to replace the corresponding empty CPK with the actual one dumped from update 1.02.

5. Install the Mod PKG

  1. Once complete, simply move the PKG from ModCompendium/Output/Persona5Royal to a USB drive.
  2. Navigate to Settings > Debug Settings > Package Installer and choose the PKG.
  3. Once it has installed, run the game.

If the game does not launch due to a licensing issue, ensure that you are running HEN. It is not persistent between reboots. Once the game has been modded, HEN is required to launch it.

You should immediately be able to tell if the mods worked if you don’t see the opening ATLUS and CRIWARE logos. It immediately goes to the title screen, or the dummy field, if you have that mod enabled. Congrats!

Optional: Use Remote PKG Sender

This homebrew may make it more convenient for you if you don’t have a USB device, or want to mod the game again without constantly swapping your USB between the PC and PS4. It’s up to you, though. Your mileage may vary depending on internet speeds, and whether you’re using a wired or wireless connection.

  1. PS4 Remote PKG Sender can send the newly created update PKG from your PC to the PS4 and automatically install it.
  2. Place remote_pkg_installer.pkg on the root of your USB device, connect it to PS4 and (after running HEN) navigate to Settings > Debug Settings > Package Installer and choose the PKG.
  3. Run the homebrew after it shows up next to your games and apps. Make sure you’re connected to the same network (note your PS4’s IP address found in the Settings > Network > Connection Status menu).
  4. Enter that IP in the program, choose your modded PKG and hit Send. It may take a couple tries, usually works best for me if I right click the PKG name and hit Send All.

If you have any other issues with this process, don’t be afraid to drop a query in our Questions & Answers forum. Likewise, be sure to share any mods you create for P5R on Gamebanana!