Just take my heart, already!
Persona 5, the latest entry in Atlus’s school-life-meets-dungeon-crawler series, was announced back in 2013 for a 2015 release. Since then, the game has been delayed a number of times before finally getting a confirmed Japanese release in September 2016. Fans in the West have to wait just a bit longer to live out their phantom thief fantasies, though.
Atlus has confirmed, via a post on the official Playstation blog, that Persona 5 will drop in North America on February 14, 2017, Valentine’s Day. The game will come in three different variants: a standard edition, a SteelBook edition (basically the same game in a nicer, shinier case), and the premium “Take Your Heart” edition (which comes with goodies like an art book and a plush of the mascot character Morgana, among other things). The Take Your Heart edition and the SteelBook are PS4 only.
Atlus’s PR manager, John Hardin, confirmed on the Playstation Blog post that there will also still be a PS3 version as originally promised back in 2013, and that this final delay was intended to make sure the game gave players “the best possible experience” that they can get.
I think Atlus announced this delay to dodge P5’s biggest possible competitor in the North American market, Final Fantasy XV. XV isn’t that much of an issue for Atlus in Japan, given that the Japanese Persona fanbase is pretty big on its own (big enough to warrant taking over the Tokyo Tower to advertise the game), but in the West, Final Fantasy is the better-known brand to the average consumer. In addition, the post-holiday market is a safer bet for Atlus since they can avoid competing with the big Holiday 2016 releases like Pokemon Sun/Moon and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Valentine’s Day actually works well with the whole “heart” theme they’ve got going on, too, so that’s a neat touch.
Persona 5 will be at E3 2016, with more information on the release date and the game to be revealed there. Time will tell if it steals the show.