The fighting game community did not take well to last week’s news that Persona 4 Arena – Atlus’ upcoming collaboration with the BlazBlue-makers over at Arc System Works – would be region locked. Today via press release, Atlus confirmed that Arena would effectively become the first game on the Playstation 3 to be locked in such a way. The publisher went on to note that Arena would not mark a new trend in its games, but issues like including dual-language audio and the close release dates between the West and Japan made region-locking a rare necessity.
“As we’ve ascertained from your impassioned responses online, this is obviously a tremendous frustration for many fans.” read the statement in part, “…we were completely unprepared for the force with which the community communicated their disapproval.”
Atlus continued, “This is NOT the beginning of a new Atlus policy, nor do we view it as a precedent or a slippery slope…This is an isolated case, a situation precipitated by a number of factors, some of which are simply out of our North American hands…with P4 Arena, we were able to…include the exact same content as the Japanese release for our North American fans. Moreover, our North American community is often forced to wait months for a localized release (a plight our friends across the Atlantic can relate to). Again, with P4 Arena, we’re able to release within two weeks of Japan.”
Such a close dual-release (and radical differences in the current trends of the Dollar and Yen) lead to the region locking, Atlus explains, “While we’re all one big ATLUS family, the reality is that the dramatic difference between the Yen and the Dollar makes for a dramatic difference in price. So the decision was made, perhaps at the expense of some of our fans, clearly at the frustration of many, to region-lock Persona 4 Arena.”
The statement closed with an assurance that the game’s global online multiplayer will not be affected, “Please also keep in mind that the game’s excellent online multiplayer is global, a fact that is in no way affected by the region-lock. Players can compete against fighters from all territories…The decision to region-lock P4 Arena was a business one, one that has very clearly affected how many perceive the project, but we ask you to please not overlook the exceptional efforts of the people behind the game and to work with us through constructive dialogue.”