Persona 5 out soon but Hongkongers must wait until next year for Chinese version

Translation difficulties mean that traditional Chinese version of popular Japanese game won’t hit the shelves until 2017

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 September, 2016, 1:00pm
UPDATED : Friday, 02 September, 2016, 5:38pm

After the phenomenally success that was Persona 4 – since its 2008 release the wildly popular JRPG (Japanese role-playing game) has had a remake (Persona 4 Golden) and several spin-offs, including last year’s Persona 4: Dancing All Night – the long-awaited Persona 5 is finally hitting the shelves in Japan this month. Local fans of this franchise, however, will have to wait a little longer.

The traditional Chinese version, rumoured to come out simultaneously with the Japanese release on September 15, will not be available until 2017, according to Sega Games. The exact date of release is to be announced.

While the US and Europe will be getting the English edition on February 14, 2017, on both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, the Chinese version is ported exclusively to PlayStation 4. A disappointment, perhaps, for PlayStation Vita owners as Persona 4 Golden is an exclusive for the handheld console.

Comments left on PlayStation Taiwan’s Facebook page and the site personacentral.com suggest the “delay” is caused by the laborious translation. “Localisation is not as simple as people think,” says one post. “It takes time to come up with a good translation.”

Like the previous two instalments in the franchise, published by Atlus, Persona 5 is again set in a high school in modern day Japan, exploring identity issues faced by adolescents.

“Throughout the series, ‘persona’ refers to a hidden personality or the ‘other self’ that lurks within oneself,” according to Atlus.

“Personas manifest themselves as legendary gods and demons, and hold otherworldly powers. The adolescents who awaken to the Persona ability wield their powers to confront and overcome many perils that stand in their way.”

If the latest gameplay trailers are anything to go by, some popular features – including familiar locations from Persona 4 like the maid cafe and public baths where characters get extra items and level up skills – are set to return.

Also back are the turn-based battle mechanics where personas are summoned to combat phantoms (but with more stunning graphics and art) as well as “socials links”, a dating sim-like side game that helps the main characters gain new skills.

But unlike Persona 4, which has an overall comical tone and an highly likeable cast of characters, Persona 5 is expected to be a much darker game.