If you've been following the development of Persona 5 since its announcement well over a year ago, its lack of presence (outside of trailers) at trade shows has been... conspicuous, to say the least. And this morning, Atlus broke the news we'd all been dreading:
Persona 5 will release in 2016 exclusively on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 in Japan and the Americas.— Atlus U.S.A., Inc. (@AtlusUSA) September 17, 2015
Of course, this nebulous date of "2016" is a bit different than what Atlus originally had in mind for Persona's latest installment.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Persona 5 will be coming to North America on PlayStation 3 in 2015!!! http://go.redirectingat.com?id=87431X1573192&xs=1&url=http%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2FwE6s7jx132— Atlus U.S.A., Inc. (@AtlusUSA) February 25, 2014
This isn't intended to be a "Gotcha!" moment on my part, even this news comes with a bit disappointment. If anything, it's just nice to have an official announcement from Atlus, even if Persona fans always knew deep down playing this new sequel in 2015 would be pretty unlikely. When it comes to console development, Atlus is a developer that really likes to take its time: Catherine, released in 2011, stands as their only HD console game to date, and felt like a sort of testbed for development of future projects. Given that Persona 5 aspires to be more ambitious than Catherine's block-pushing puzzles, it's understandable that a developer used to making games with less resource-intensive assets would need a little more time to pull everything together.
And if you're anything like me, the news of Persona 5's delay comes as a bit of a relief, since playing a (likely) 100-plus-hour RPG in the middle of the busiest release season of the year doesn't make for the most exciting proposition. I'm sure Atlus would love put it out before the end of the financial year, but the idea of playing something like Persona 5 in the dead days of summer feels absolutely ideal. Whatever the case, Persona 5 looks to be one of the most interesting and distinctive JRPGs in years, and hopefully, these delays are for the best. And hey, we've already been waiting seven years for a follow-up to Persona 4—is one more going to kill us?