Persona 4 Arena Ultimax Will Be Region-Free Says Atlus USA [Update]

By Ishaan . July 10, 2014 . 10:41am

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is not region-locked “for North and South America,” Atlus USA said in a press release this morning. Meanwhile, on Twitter, they simply stated: “Have you heard the news? Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is going to be region-free!”


By extension, this should mean that you’ll be able to import an American copy of the game to Europe as well.


Update: We got in touch with Atlus USA to ask if Europeans will be able to import the game. An Atlus representative replied, “I believe so.”


Original story continued: Additionally, Atlus announced that pre-orders and all first-print editions will include a collectible Teddie bop bag and Set #1 of the Persona Tarot cards. Set #2 will be included with Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth.


Persona 4 Arena Ultimax will be available this Fall for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in North America.

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  • Paul Rodriguez

    That’s good to know

  • Nanaki

    Is that a chorus singing in the distance I hear?

  • Muffum

    I thought this would be a given, honestly. I heard a lot of people worrying about this because the first one was region-locked, but the circumstances behind the releases are completely different.

    Nice for Europeans, either way.

  • Ninten

    P4A should have never been region locked in the first place, but this is damn good news for those who live in the PAL region, since there’s no EU announcement yet. (And we are still waiting for SMT4)

  • Leon_Tekashi

    And so… The crisis of this game being region lock has been prevented… Victory Screech!

  • Afternoon Intergalactic

    Great news for Europe!
    Edit: “For north and south america…” nevermind. lol.

    • doubleO7

      Assuming that means the North and South American versions won’t have a region lock, Europeans should still be able to import.

      • Afternoon Intergalactic

        Ah, makes more sense if I read it that way.

  • Alex Cattaneo


  • Postnjam

    No, it’s a simple plan to get the unsupecting EU consumer to take the game home, where the disk turns into a kill droid and kills all the dirty Europeans in the vicinity.

    • alhamega

      The bitter is strong with this one.

  • raymk

    No duh! They said they weren’t going to region lock anymore games because of what happened with the first one.

  • chibisake

    This is a bit confusing. On twitter they say that the game will be region free, but the press note says that the region lock is disabled in (and only mention these regions) North and South America.

    • Rintarou

      Sounds like that means those versions will be region-free, i.e. Europe could import those versions and be able to play them even on their region’s console, just that it’s not confirmed whether or not a European region version would be region-free.

  • IS | 桂木

    Nothing on the Japanese version yet, huh?

  • BizarreJelly

    Praise Jesus

    • otakumike

      Praise Jesus indeed.

      • MSJ

        lol dat revolver JESUS

  • Kornelious

    Nothing too new here, except that CASE! We’re getting the same awesome box-art as japan! :D
    Also what is this “And more to come” they keep teasing supposed to be?

  • ConkerBFD

    I think it means that the first one sold good enough in west. They said (and I want to believe in Atlus) that the reason to put a region lock
    was to stop western consumers to buy the Japanese copy (launched first).

    • yes06kin

      It’s the other way around, actually! Since the release dates for JP and ENG releases were so close. Atlus JP was scared that there will be lots of reverse importing because of the cheaper price in US regions

    • XaviIniesta

      They also said that they realized that region locking it turned out to be a mistake, and said they wouldn’t do it next time. A promise they made true on now, so that may be a reason as well.

    • Wappuli

      It was actually the opposite, they said that it was to prevent Japanese from importing the US-version, since both version were released very close together and US-version was a bit cheaper.
      But it really was a total BS-reason.

      • ConkerBFD

        Uhhhh……that’s what I tried to say! My keyboard needs to be repaired…….. you know…..

  • Teh_Akod

    Any news about NA region getting the limited edition of this game with the story of the first P4A?

    • Jonathan Caminhas

      I think it will probably be sold as an extra DLC.

      • Teh_Akod

        Ehh, if its cheaper than buying the first game I’m ok with that. I hate having to buy the same game, even if its an updated version, twice.

  • Rawindra

    At last :D

  • Hagaren
  • friendly neighborhood_dude

    Really great news! Keep up the good work Atlus!

  • Göran Isacson

    Yet the fear and battle is not yet over for Europeans. Until we hear that our version is region-free, remain vigilant! The wheel of fate is still turning!

    • shadowx6

      Why does that matter? Just import the US version and play it the same week more or less.

      • Göran Isacson

        I guess that depends on who your importer is. I swear man, some of these places add so much in shipping costs here to Sweden that you don’t earn anything in the USD to EUR conversion at all.

        • shadowx6

          Webhallen might import it! They did with Persona 4 Golden, and it was cheaper than the official release that came several months later.

          • Göran Isacson

            That is a possibility! How much do they usually take for mailorder?

      • shadowind

        It’s Atlus! A lot of us European gamers have very good reason to hate them for screwing us around over the years…

      • revenent hell

        Well, to say that is easy but its kind of not fair at the same time.

        Sure anyone can import anything but in todays age and for this game there really should be no need for them to.

        Its a damn popular game brand and it should release in a fairly quick amount of time in ALL regions and ,per my preference, in a physical format.

        There should kind of be no need to have to import it.

      • Noelemahc

        Because that counts towards US sales and tells Japanese publishers “US releases sell well, EU releases sell like dried poop”.
        It’s very visible in the marketing approach all companies that are not LEVEL-5 are taking towards releasing overseas, and ATLUS first among them (look at Etrian Odyssey series history for a great example).

    • Wappuli

      There wouldn’t be many who care if the EU-version was region locked or want to import it though. It will almost certainly be released after JP and US, will be the most expensive out of the 3 and still has a change of being digital only.

  • XaviIniesta

    Great news. Of course, we hope they’ll release it in time in Europe this time, but if not, then at least fans can get a hold of an American copy and play the game while other people are still playing it.

  • MaidKillua

    Prepare for the inevitable digital only EU release to flop hard when we all just import it. This is one of the only pieces of good news we’ve gotten lately

    • Ninten

      And what about the PAL region getting Persona Q 3 days after the US gets it?

      • MaidKillua

        NIS are publishing that one. NIS do good work. Atlus have taken over publishing rights for the Arena series in Europe. They themselves will never give us a timely or physical release

      • Noelemahc

        What about the PAL version of Persona Q’s CE costing twice the NTSC version’s in dollar value?

        • Ash_Riot

          And a mainline SMT being digital only…

  • icup ✔️

    atlus probably wondered why they were the only company to region lock a ps3 game.

  • Eder García

    have fun Europe guise

  • Mirai
  • taekk

    Why do I feel like this will mean that the Japanese voices+text will be removed or offered as DLC?

    I hope I’m proven wrong.

    • Wappuli

      Wouldn’t be surprised if they remove the dual-audio this time and try to reason it with being region-free.
      But I hope that they won’t do so, it’ll just get them pretty much as much hate as having region-lock would have. . .

      • taekk

        Lack of dual audio doesn’t seem to get as much flak. There are many games with no dual audio. Only one PS3 game with region-lock.

        • Firekitty

          It gets plenty of flak, though certain staff on this website seem inordinately invested in keeping people quiet about it.

        • Wappuli

          Yup, most of the time it’s like you said.
          But since they had dual-audio in the previous version, removing it from the sequel would sprout extra hate.

          • Xerain

            There’s so many games with dual audio these days I don’t have the time or money to waste on games that don’t have it. You could literally say it was the deciding factor for my purchase of the first game…. for me and about 50 other people.

      • Istillduno

        Well, since a different company own Atlus now we may be in luck with dual audio too, Sega don’t seem to be as zelous about trying to restrict importing.

    • DesmaX

      Maybe the japanese version is still region-locked

      • taekk

        That won’t stop people importing US version in Japan, which is the major reason for region-lock.

        Example: Blazblue US import is half price of JP version.

        • DesmaX

          Japan has some pretty ridiculos prices for games… Almost as much as Brazil. No wonder everyone prefers to import.

          Oh well, I guess they could keep japanese voices, but take out japanese text

          • taekk

            Ugh, I hate it when they do that. Imagine what it’s like to see hear one language and read another simultaneously if you’re fluent in both.

          • DesmaX

            Sounds tough.

            I like western dubs more, so I don’t feel affected by this; but it does sounds disorienting

    • OneOkami

      I wouldn’t be surprised. IIRC, they cited concern of Japanese players heavily importing foreign versions as at least one of the reasons for region locking. If that was legit, it stands to reason that removing universal localization from each version would be another way of addressing that without region locking.

      • taekk

        That was my first thought. That is how a lot of later PS3 games deal with no region-lock. I hope we can get more clarification from Atlus USA on the matter.

    • Afternoon Intergalactic

      I hope not, the game is already a full 60 bucks. Plus, the prospect of DLC characters is making it look more like a $80-100 investment at this rate. I don’t think I could go back to the english dub after playing exclusively with the japanese voices, so that’ll be an additional 10$ out of my wallet if that is the case..

  • Cyrus

    Thank you, Atlus. That’s all I asked for, was that so hard?

  • hiromu656

    I wish Yu’s shirt was closed on this cover, it looks silly.
    edit: Actually I just noticed the belt… its pretty cool now ;)

  • DesmaX

    Sweet, they’re keeping that boxart!

    Day 1 for me

  • shadowind

    Thank God for that!

  • Kamakuma

    My question is will I be able to carry over the DLC I bought in the vanilla version… I want to keep my Nanako darn it… t–t

    • revenent hell

      Hmmm, I almost doubt it.
      But its not a completely unheard of concept but I base that on more RPG type games, and for fighters I cant say as I have ever heard of them letting DLC transfer from one version to another so… 50/50 chance?

  • James Reilly

    Really hope that they don’t remove dual audio as a compromise.

    • Firekitty

      That wouldn’t be a compromise, that would be a declaration of war.

    • Shane Guidaboni

      It was in the first game, why wouldn’t it be in this one? Fighting games are usually a given to have the original Japanese audio.

  • Erde

    I want those cards to bad, but if I import this from the US, I most likely won’t ever get the second set as the Persona Q is bound to be region locked. Shieeeeeet.

    • revenent hell

      Obviously, The 3DS/2DS is a region locked device period.
      I didn’t think that was an unknown thing at this point in time….

      • Erde

        Didn’t know it was unknown thing at this point of time that the systems are not region locked, but the games are. Except one, I think. Or was it two.

        • revenent hell

          Its one and its Nintendo 3DS guide Louvre, I believe.

          If it wasn’t for the systems software being region locked, locking the games themselves wouldn’t matter much in this context because people would be able to play them (but I am sure they would still lock the games just differently)

          Its pretty much a 50/50 road for the game and device as far as how the locks work for it.

          3DS games by default are region locked, the 3DS system software is region locked…. I really cant see how one would even mildly assume the game wouldn’t be region locked given this.

          Its not like Nintendo has a history of releasing non region locked games for the device thus far.

    • Noelemahc

      Persona Q is region locked, but it WILL be released in both EU and NA with cards. The bigger problem will be if there will be enough card-carrying releases of P4U to go around.

      • Erde

        Thanks! This is all I wanted to know.

  • Arcana Drill

    Niiiiiice! i never was able to play the first game cause i live in a place where only sells north america version and i have an european console.

  • Makoto Yuki

    Awwwww yeahhhhhhh

    • Black Heaven


      edit: oh, i guess my image didn’t work.
      ow well, awwwwwwwwwwwww yeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

  • Andrew Bland

    So does this mean I can import the Japanese version?

    • No, they haven’t mentioned anything about the Japanese version. This applies only to US/EU.

  • British_Otaku

    “I believe so” is a bit vague and I’m still on edge about any of their releases given what they did before, but well done to them. I might consider getting this when it comes to Europe, whether or not I play a MegaTen/SMT/Persona game…

  • raitouniverse

    I think the question should have been if the JPN version is region locked.

    • nekolife

      Last time the US version was region locked to prevent reverse importing to Japan. (A bigger concern because it included a Japanese text option — presumably because they saved money by making a single version of the game for all regions.)

      • Brion Valkerion

        Going to be a literature nerd for a minute and say “reverse importing” makes no sense just given what the word import means.

        Guess its too late though since everyone who talks about the game calls it reverse importing anyway.

        • nekolife

          Nonsense, and yet everybody understands what it means immediately. Think I can live with that. :)

          • revenent hell

            oops mistake post sorry

        • revenent hell

          Its ok. It irks me when everyone says “cell” shaded instead of Cel…..
          If cell’s need shading work done I think that’s a task best left to scientists to do and not video game developers. But hey, that’s just me and my thoughts.

          • darke

            But “cell” is also a perfectly legitimate shorthand for ‘cellophane’ like ‘cel’ is; so either they’re both correct from an abuse-of-English perspective, or they’re both wrong.

            It’s just like arguing over CG vs CGI.

            Correctness doesn’t matter, provided people understand and they’re consistent in their use, it’s all good. That’s how languages work. :P

            This applies to ‘reverse importing’ as well.

          • revenent hell

            No that’s not how languages work. People just brutalize them to suit themselves.

            Using “short hand” is never condoned in most cases because its not a clear and concise way of expressing oneself. Not to mention its meaning changes based on generation and area. So its not really all that valid.

            The only reason its a common thing is because “people on the internet” think that writing whole and proper words is to hard so they write what they feel like regardless of the correctness.

            Sadly, it doesn’t impress and just makes them look terribly ignorant to me.

            Just because people understand what the person is saying doesn’t mean its even remotely close to using proper language.

            Also… This really doesn’t apply much to people not fluent or born speaking the language in question. I would kind of expect mistakes from people new to the language.

          • darke

            … maybe I’m just a little old here; but contractions are far, far, far older then this thing we know called ‘the internet’. ‘Cel’ being short for ‘Celluloid’ being an obvious example, and I’ve been using ‘ta’ for ‘thanks’ since I was a child along with the hundreds of kids around me, and approximately 15 years before I met up with the internet.

            Seriously, language *evolves* and changes; this is why we don’t speak ‘Shakespearean’.

          • revenent hell

            That still dosent make the evolution of slang the proper use of the words by any means. Regardless of people’s understanding of it or not

        • Xerain

          Bothers the heck out of me as well. However, I’m under the impression this use of “reverse” comes form translating Japanese net slag. I’m pretty sure the Japanese term for “reverse trap” is basically “reverse trap.”

        • Noelemahc

          The proper term is “reimport” and is often used in financial schemes, tax evasion and other super happy fun times.

  • fool

    I’m kinda just getting this for the tarot cards…

    • revenent hell

      ….. I wont lie that’s why I pre ordered it myself.
      Honestly, I kind of didn’t want the game being as I don’t play fighters really so after I finished the story modes for the first game I was kind of done with it…. And I must say I finished them ubber quickly so I didn’t find that 60$ well spent and really had no intention of getting this one until much later when it reduced in price…… But then they mentioned the cards and I was angry at how quick I was to pre order the thing.

      • fool

        I play quite a bit of Street Fighter and I sure didn’t enjoy the first P4 Arena. And the story mode was incredibly boring/tedious being mostly the same handful of stories tweaked a dozen times.

        I hopped on the Persona Q preorder and my heart sank when I realized what “Tarot Cards Set #2” meant…

        • Cazar

          Well, that’s just how visual novel storytelling works and that’s the form that P4A took; much like the story mode in BlazBlue.

          I have a hard time imagining PQ’s time warp nonsense that’s obviously going to end with a memory wipe being much more interesting that P4A’s story that’s actually part of a coherent timeline.

          • fool

            I’ve played my share of VNs and they typically have wildly branching narratives. P4A is like the opposite…it only has one branch over and over from vaguely different perspectives.

          • Cazar

            They’re still technically different routes because the events play out differently, they just reach the same conclusion. The different perspectives serve the purpose of fleshing out more details that wouldn’t have been clear from a single perspective; which works well for a fighting game IMO where the point is to be able to play as several different characters.

            I personally thoroughly enjoyed the P4A story mode, but to each their own I guess.

  • Pdugna recent trailer closest I could get to Wallpaper size for the cover art, this stuff is great.

  • greg_67

    Persaon 4 Arena story mode DLC to be included with preorders is that still a Japan exclusive?

    • indices

      For now but the “and more to come” leaves them room to still announce it.

    • DeathDias71

      No, they did announce it as day 1 DLC in the USA as well.

  • nekolife

    It’s great they learned their lesson after being the industry douchebag last time. Maybe I’ll buy the game now.

    • Kelohmello

      “industry douchebag”

      Yeah okay. Go ahead and just blast them like that even though their reasons for region locking were completely valid.

      • Wappuli

        Just because they can think of some “reason” for it, doesn’t make it valid right away.
        The price-difference wasn’t so large that there would have been a significant amount of importers given that there was also a few week difference in release dates too.
        And if it really was just for “preventing Japanese from importing the cheaper US-version” then a much more better way would have been just removing the Japanese text from the US-version. That would have killed most of the possible importing from there, and it wouldn’t have made them so much hate from the western(EU mostly) players.

        • Zeik56

          I doubt Index had much interest in EU import sales at the time. Those are a drop in the bucket compared to Japanese sales, and with the state they were in one can assume they wanted as much money from Japanese sales as they could get.

          • Guest

            That doesn’t even slightly change the fact that the point about how Atlus could have just removed the Japanese text from the Western release was valid and actually a much better solution to the problem from every possible angle other than the one where the developers actually have to put effort into it, which clearly they didn’t want to, and clearly they figured screwing Europe yet again was fine so long as they could ensure their profits in the laziest manner possible. Don’t defend them -.-

          • Zeik56

            I’m not defending Index. Them implementing a scummy business tactic to try and deal with the huge hole they had dug themselves due to all their other scummy business decisions is hardly defensible.

            But I am defending Atlus, because those kinds of decisions are not within the power of a developer. These are top-down business decisions that developers have to put up with all the time whether they like it or not.

            People seem to think Atlus is on the same level as something like Capcom, and every business decision comes directly from them and they have full control over the entire product. But they’re just a developer, a subsidiary of larger corporations like Index and now SEGA. If they are told they have to region lock a game they don’t get a choice in the matter. (And Atlus USA even less so. They’re a subsidiary of a subsidiary.)

          • DeathDias71

            This pretty much hits it on the head. Publisher’s have all the power…not so much the developers. At the end of the day the staff at Atlus wants to be paid so they are going to pretty much do whatever they are told. And yes, technically on the box, Atlus is the publisher but as Zeik56 has said…they are a subsidiary of a bigger company and is pretty much the same situation.

            Plus if I remember correctly they had a pretty fast turnaround time from when Persona 4 Arena came out in Japan and to the USA. More than likely there was some technical reason why they had to leave it in. Taking the text out would have required more testing time that could have delayed the game and cost more than they had been given budget wise. There is no telling what problems could have arisen from taking out the text. There could be a whole myriad of reasons as to what could have happened or did happen.

            The important thing is…Atlus didn’t know they would have that much of an outcry for it being region locked. They have now ensured that now it won’t be the case. They made a mistake and they are fixing it going forward…I don’t see this as anything but a positive thing. Then again…maybe people don’t realize how removing text from the game could have created bugs…all I can say is you would be surprised what problems text can cause in a game.

          • Noelemahc

            It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. The EU sales are a drop in the bucket because more often than not the EU has higher prices than the US, and gets Japanese games released with a significant delay, if at all (forcing them to import, which counts towards US sales, which is another reason why EU sales are dismal by the time the game DOES release for EU region).

            ATLUS’s own games are the perfect illustration for this – P4A and SMTIV were two of the very few properly region-locked English-released games of theirs. I won’t be surprised if SMTIV’s EU sales are crap because a lot of people got it back when we were convinced it was never coming to Europe.

          • Zeik56

            Aren’t all 3DS games region locked? They don’t have the power to control that on a game by game basis like on the PS3.

          • Noelemahc

            They do, however, have the power to decide whether or not ATLUS USA, which existed independently of Index Corp. from the get-go, will release the game in the EU region or not.

      • darke

        Reasons can both be dickish and completely valid. Nintendo’s region locking is the same; completely valid from a business perspective if you’re trying to get more 3rd parties on your platform to maximise profits, and to hopefully get more units on store shelves locally; completely dick move for customers who have to buy a completely separate console if they want to get games not available in their area.

    • DeathDias71

      The reason they region locked the first game was because the USA version and the Japanese version were pretty much the same. The problem was that the Japanese version was priced at about 7400 yen…or about $90 some odd dollars…versus the $60 price tag of the USA version.

      Atlus was worried about an influx of importing because of the price difference. It wasn’t about locking out other regions…it was so that Atlus Japan wouldn’t lose sales locally. It was purely a business decision and honestly didn’t really affect our market all that much.

      Since they were so surprised by the fan outcry from it they probably ensured that the same thing would not happen again.

      This is all from memory so I might have gotten the prices off a bit…

    • Zeik56

      It’s not like Atlus made the decision. Those kinds of decisions don’t come from the development side, and people don’t seem to realize that all happened just before Index crashed and burned thanks to their not-quite-legal business practices. SEGA has no need to force those kinds of policies.

  • Ash_Riot

    Why is everybody celebrating? lol. This shouldn’t have happened in the fist place…

  • Oltheros

    See,if enough people cause a sh*tstorm, it DOES do something.

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