Sega announced the delay of Bayonetta last month, making American gamers wait until 2010 to beat up angels as a hot woman dressed only in the hair wrapped around her body. The alternative was too risky, the company told Kotaku.
Sega West president Mike Hayes said that theories about the economic recession forcing so many games to be delayed out of the remainder of 2009 were wrong in the case of Bayonetta.
"It was purely practical reasons to be perfectly blunt," Hayes said in an interview with Kotaku yesterday. "Bayonetta's coming out in Japan [this October] but we then need to translate it…. that is one issue. The bigger issue, is that in the western markets, unlike in Japan, bringing out new [intellectual property] in that November period, really, really, really is a challenge."
Sega executives had hoped to launch the game in the U.S. in September or October, when they feel original games still have a chance to thrive. Sega's own Alpha Protocol, a new role-playing game set in the world of modern espionage, still has its 2009 date because it is hitting in mid-October. Anything later and it too may have been given a bump, Sega reps say.
In recent weeks it had become clear to Sega's top team that Bayonetta could be ready for American gamers no sooner than the launch windows for some of the year's biggest sequels. "If we could have launched it — the translation would have made it a challenge — it would have been late November or early December. And we just think that's a point when consumers are spending all their dollars on Need For Speed, Modern Warfare…hopefully [Sega's] Mario and Sonic."
Instead, Bayonetta gets an early 2010 slot. "We saw how well Capcom did with Lost Planet," Hayes said, citing the successful launch of that original game in January 2007.
While Sega isn't providing a narrower release window for Bayonetta than early 2010, it's clear that the game will be part of a new traffic jam filled by the many games that were originally slated or were recently delayed to early next year. BioShock 2, Dark Void, (maybe) MAG and a host of others were recently dropped in there to swim with Mass Effect 2, God of War III and other big games.
All those games make early 2010 "busy," according to Hayes. "It does create a problem for publishers and retailers. I think it's great news for the consumer, because coming out of Christmas there will still be a big line-up of fantastic titles. We just need to be sensible when we're launching these to make sure we're not launching all of these on February 10 or whatever the date may be. We need to space things out to make sure retailers are happy to merchandise them and make sure consumers aren't bombarded with everything at once."