At the Tokyo Game Show, developer Atlus revealed a predictable but no less disappointing delay. Persona 5 the highly anticipated upcoming role playing game has slipped from it’s original 2015 release window into “summer 2016” in Japan. The game was set to release this year in North America as well, and while no delay has been announced for the localisation it’s virtually guaranteed that it won’t make it state-side before we change calendars.
The Persona series, a spin-off of the Japanese role playing series Shin Migami Tensei, has received universal acclaim for it’s previous releases for an addictive mix of turn-based combat and life simulation gameplay, as well as it’s engaging, well-written story and likeable, three-dimensional characters. The last numbered release in the series was Persona 4 which debuted on the PlayStation 2 back in 2008.
Persona 5 is the latest in an increasingly long line of games with frustratingly lengthy periods of time between announcement and release. It was originally announced in late 2013 following Sega’s acquisition of Atlus, set for release in 2014 for the PlayStation 3. A delay to 2015 was announced at Sony’s Tokyo Game Show press conference last year, along with a PlayStation 4 version. And now it’s delayed again. Delays for games aren’t bad things; far from it. There’s a famous quote from Nintendo legend Shigeru Miyamoto opining, rather correctly, that a delayed game can eventually be good but a prematurely released game will be bad forever. I’m not disputing that logic. But what possible reason is there to announce a game years before any firm release date is set?
Numerous games have been announced in recent years only to take years to come out. This rarely works in the game’s favour. A good example of this is Watch Dogs, the open world action adventure game announced at Ubisoft’s 2012 E3 press conference and released two years later in May of 2014. The initial excitement that followed the showstopping E3 demo dissipated over the two year gap and this, along with a controversy surrounding Ubisoft’s decision to scale back the game’s graphics, resulted in a fairly underwhelmed reaction from players at the game’s launch. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was announced at the Spike Video Game Awards in 2012 and finally hit store shelves this month. And do you know what? It wasn’t even done! Publisher Konami elected to release the game as is despite the fact that it’s ending wasn’t built yet. A behind the scenes video included with the collector’s edition of the game, bluntly states that the game’s planned ending was not completed. The result is a story that just stops.
Square Enix is particularly guilty of this. They took the stage at Sony’s 2013 E3 press conference to announce Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III, two games that still have no release date. All we know is that Final Fantasy XV is set to release in 2016. Kingdom Hearts III doesn’t even have a release year and has never been shown to press. At Sony’s E3 press conference this year, Square Enix announced a long-awaited remake of Final Fantasy VII. It had barely started development and the company was pretty upfront that we shouldn’t expect it for a while. Similarly, Capcom announced a full remake of Resident Evil 2 a few months ago before development had even started. Meanwhile, Sony is responsible for one of the most delayed games since Duke Nukem Forever (which was originally announced in 1997 before being released in 2011 to terrible reviews) with The Last Guardian. The long-awaited adventure title is set for release next year but was announced at E3 in 2009 for a release in 2011. By the time it comes out it will have been five full years since the game’s initially announced release window.
What possible reason is there for announcing a game so early? All it does is make the company spend more money on a ridiculously lengthy PR schedule. There’s no benefit for gamers, that’s for sure. I’m getting ready for games coming out this holiday, not games that don’t even have a release window. In my opinion, the poster child for video game announcements should be Fallout 4. It’s the latest instalment in a hugely popular franchise, one that’s been without a new game for five years, and without a numbered entry even longer. It was announced in June 2015 and it’s coming out in November 2015. Sure, the developer could have announced it two years ago and people would have gotten excited, but what’s the point? People would have just been waiting and waiting and waiting.
You can still get your Persona fix this year with the upcoming release of Persona 4: Dancing All Night an upcoming PlayStation Vita dancing game featuring the cast of Persona 4 fighting their foes with the power of dance. Yeah, you read that right. Don’t get me wrong; I’m totally down for a weird dancing RPG, but Persona 5 would have been far more preferable.