When Sega of America opted for a January 2010 release date for Bayonetta—which hits Japan end-of-October—we thought "Oh, we'll just import then." According to Sega reps at Gamescom, that doesn't sound like much of an option anymore.
At our Bayonetta hands-off demo, we asked the Sega of Europe folks if the PlatinumGames developed action title would be region locked, just in case we wanted to play the game this October instead of next year. Unsurprisingly, we were told that the Japanese version would not be region free, meaning that North American and European consoles won't play import copies. The reason? It would impact sales of the game outside of Japan, we were told.
That's not that uncommon for Japanese Xbox 360 releases. The vast majority of games released in Japan for Microsoft's box won't play on anything but Japanese consoles. But the PlayStation 3 version? The games are almost all (thankfully) region-free. Locking down that version would be an unusual move on Sega's part.
And even if it is region-free on the PS3, the fact that we've yet to see Bayonetta running on that platform at any event we've been to is a sign that, well, we should wait to see it running on that platform before dropping import dollars on it.
We attempted to get triple confirmation from Sega of America on that info provided by their European counterparts, but reps did not respond to multiple e-mail requests.