The North American release of Arc System Works‘ Persona 4 Arena – based on Atlus‘ Shin Megami Tensei: Persona series – is tomorrow. Now, if you weren’t entirely sure that the Persona games could make the transition to the fighting genre, or you doubted the skill of developer Arc System Works, sit back and listen to this: when it was released in Japan on July 26th, Persona 4 Arena ‘s first-week sales were higher than the first week sales of Street Fighter IV, Super Street Fighter IV, Tekken 6, and Arc System’s other popular fighter, BlazBlue (both Calamity Trigger and Continuum Shift).
Here’s how the numbers stack up:
Street Fighter IV (2009) – 86,075/37,782
BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger (2009) – 33,768/24,812
Tekken 6 (2009) – 103,105/23,261
Super Street Fighter IV (2010) – 80,882/28,454
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift (2010) – 49,871/16,184
It also topped the first week sales of this year’s Street Fighter x Tekken (which sold a total of 58,856 copies in its first week) and Soul Calibur V (43,000 first week copies sold), 2011’s Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, (selling 67,045 units) and, reaching back a bit, the first week sales of Dead or Alive 3 (the best-selling entry in the franchise, which moved 93,000 units in its first week).
What do all these numbers mean, and, perhaps more importantly, why should you care? Well, despite the fact that the game is based on an RPG series, which means that it holds immediate appeal only to fans of the series, it’s Xbox 360 sales are extremely low, and its roster is a little smaller than we see in most other fighters (thirteen playable combatants), the game has still managed to top the fighting genre’s sales charts. It’s almost like an underdog story. Whether or not it will be as successful in North America remains to be seen, but props most definitely must be given to Arc System Works. They struck gold somewhere along the line, and deserve praise for doing so.
For those that become interested in the Persona series after experiencing this title, Persona 3 Portable (PSP/Vita) and the upcoming Persona 4 Golden (Vita) are the best places to start.