Installing Persona Mods on PS4

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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.

  • Last Updated 12/21/2021: Updated to include instructions regarding the PS4 Firmware 9.00 exploit, as well as the ShrineFox.com PS4 Update Creator.

Thank you to lipsum as well for his patches that enable mod.cpk support, intro skip and more.

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 even aims to bring some Royal features and other new QoL improvements to PS3. There’s several PS3 mods that backport Personas and costumes from Royal and upscale the resolution of assets 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, nor is it accessible to all PS4 owners. Primarily because 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 the following instructions. You might find them especially technical depending on your level of experience with computers.

Prerequisites

To get started, the following are required.

  • A Playstation 4 on firmware 5.05, 6.72, 7.02, 7.50 through 7.55, or 9.00.
    • 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 (with the exception of 9.00 as long as you don’t mind inserting a USB drive every time).
    • Also 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
  • 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.
    • If you’re on 9.00, you will need another separate USB drive to perform the exploit.

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.

Firmware 9.00

This firmware requires additional setup aside from just visiting a webpage, since its exploit relies on a USB driver bug.

  1. Download exfathax.img.
  2. Insert a USB stick into your computer. Pick a small/cheap one one you don’t use for anything important.
  3. Make sure you back up any files you don’t want to lose onto your PC.
  4. Use a program such as Win32 Disk Imager to overwrite the drive with the .img file.

Navigate to the following page and follow the steps as prompted. It will have you insert your USB drive at a certain point. Do so and wait for a system message to appear stating that “the USB storage device’s filesystem is unsupported”. Then press OK and remove the USB when prompted.

2. Using HEN

If you just followed the above steps for Firmware 9.00, you are already running HEN, so don’t worry about the rest of this section!

Otherwise, 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.

Warning: 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. For maximum safety I recommend that you block updates via the router that the PS4 is connected to. Here is a list of URLs to block.

You also have the option of using a DNS to prevent connecting to Sony’s servers:

  • Primary: 192.241.221.79
  • Secondary: 165.227.83.145

This way, you can still connect to PSN on other devices that use the same router, but there’s no guarantee the DNS will work forever.

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, which contains our modded files. We must first patch the game’s executable, EBOOT.BIN, to instruct the game to load the mod.cpk. That way, no official game files are ever actually overwritten and the mod.cpk can be freely replaced or removed with little hassle.

However, to patch the game’s executable, we must install a custom update for the game. Retail copies (purchased from PSN or a physical game disc) have unknown encryption keys, so unfortunately there is no way to create compatible updates.
To that end, we must install an unofficial copy of the game to use modded updates with, since that way the encryption key (which is generally 0) will match, allowing the game to start without errors.

On certain sites, you can download what are known as .PKG files. Oftentimes, these .PKG files are “fakesigned” and are called “FPKGs“, or “fake .PKG files“. This is what we’re looking for.
With an English FPKG of P5R in your possession, you can create your 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.

You may also choose to create your own FPKG from the copy of the game you already own by dumping the game (following this procedure), but you’ll need to also follow the manual patching process.
Even then, you must uninstall the official copy of the game and reinstall it from the FPKG in order to install custom updates without errors. This also means you will be required to have HEN running each time you launch the game.

Please be aware that there may be a ban risk associated with installing unauthorized copies of a game, even if you purchased the same game.
You only own the license to that specific copy, and Sony may or may not check for this. Since you can’t update without losing your access to the exploit anyway, many people don’t mind this risk and use an alternate PS4 to access PSN and play games online. It’s not recommended to use your actual PSN account on the same system where you install the FPKG.

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 may also 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 P5R mods. For more, see the ShrineFox.com/Browse section of the site.
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 the box to the left of their title.

At this point, you can grab a pre-made Update .PKG containing specific patches from ShrineFox.com’s PS4 Update Creator.

By default, once installed, this .PKG will:

  • Automatically include the intro skip patch, so you won’t see the opening logos or movie.
  • Update the game to v1.02 and backport it for use with FW 5.05+.
  • Unlock the P5 Save Data Bonus and allow the Square button menu to be used on all fields.

You may also optionally choose to enable on-disk content and disable trophies.

It is important to note, however, that your base game FPKG must match the one I used to generate these, for reasons discussed earlier. You can check by using a program such as HashTab on your Windows PC to right click your FPKG and go to Properties > File Hashes and see if they match mine. When you download a pre-generated .PKG from my Update Creator, you’ll see the hashes (CRC32, MD5, SHA-1) you can compare yours to.

Mine are based on ones found commonly online, so if you created your own FPKG or got it from a different source, you will have to go through the process of creating the Update .PKG manually.

5. Install the Modded Update PKG

  1. Simply move the .PKG to a USB drive formatted with exFAT or FAT32.
  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. The jailbreak is not persistent between reboots. Once the game has been modded, HEN is required to launch it, so retrace the prior steps for running HEN.

You should immediately be able to tell if the mods worked if you don’t see the opening ATLUS and CRIWARE logos. It immediately loads into the title screen, or the dummy field if you have the Title Screen Skip mod enabled.

FTP

Once the modded update has been installed, you will no longer need to create .PKG files, so you can get rid of the FPKG if you need to free up space.
From then on, if you want to change the mods you have installed, you only need to use the Mod Compendium to output a new 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.

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 found on the same website as where you launched HEN).

You can then navigate to the /data/ folder. Inside, create a p5r folder (or in the case of the Dancing games, p3d/p4d/p5d) and drop your mod.cpk generated by the Mod Compendium inside. When it’s finished transferring, start the game.

Troubleshooting Common Problems

  • 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 you have any other issues with this process, don’t be afraid to drop by our Questions & Answers forum. Likewise, you’re welcome to share any mods you create for P5R on Gamebanana!

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