The upcoming fighting game, Persona 4 Arena, is not just going to be the first game in the long running franchise to break the genre tradition by being…well…a fighting game, but it’ll also be the first PS3 game to be region locked.
Since its release in 2006, all PS3 games have had the bonus of being completely region free. Which means if there’s a game released in a different country that isn’t released locally, you can import it and still play it on your locally bought system. However, due to the American dollar being particularly weak against the Japanese yen, Atlus has changed their tune, if only for this one game.
An official release from Atlus says the following:
This is NOT the beginning of a new ATLUS policy, nor do we view it as a precedent or a slippery slope. If anything, your determination and dedication to what you believe in has certainly stood in the face of that. This is an isolated case, a situation precipitated by a number of factors, some of which are simply out of our North American hands.
To give you guys some perspective, although the game here will cost the standard $59.99, buying the game in Japan translates roughly into a copy for $92. Add that into the fact that the game releases only a few weeks later here in NTSC-land, and you can see why the folks over at Atlus are a bit concerned about importing. Not from our point, since we’re getting the cheaper copy of the game. Sounds like this problem is more about Japanese gamers importing.
Atlus stresses the fact that both region’s versions are identical.
It’s important to note that the game is releasing on Xbox 360 as well, but most 360 games are region locked anyway, so that wouldn’t really be news.
Regardless, the game releases in just short of a month on August 7 here in the States, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.