January 30, 2013 | J.J. Cappa
Sony has finally announced international release dates for the upcoming PlayStation Vita title from Inafune Keiji; Soul Sacrifice will arrive in North America on April 30 and is set to launch in Europe the next day. They further confirmed that the preorder bonuses being distributed in Japan will be available worldwide as well, with one special exception; those that reserve the game in the West will also be given a Japanese voice-over pack, which will later be sold as downloadable content, for free.
Although most Western releases only include English and other relevant local languages, it has become easier to find games that offer Japanese support in recent years. Even in those cases, however, the extra voice work or translated text is usually included from the start instead of being sold for a premium. Sony, therefore, is most likely using Soul Sacrifice as a test case; for some games, a Japanese option can be marketed as a selling point, but this is an experiment to see if literally selling a language pack is a worthwhile venture.
If the Japanese voice-overs for Soul Sacrifice do well as downloadable content, other developers may follow suit by selling the original audio for their games as well. This could encourage some companies to begin charging for what they had once provided for free, but it is also possible that the number of games that give users the option to play in Japanese will increase (for those willing to pay). Overall, the price should remain significantly cheaper than importing; Soul Sacrifice, for example, is expected to retail for around $40 in the United States, as opposed to $70 for an imported copy.
With Soul Sacrifice, Sony might start a trend that makes Japanese support more readily available in games sold outside of Japan, which would be worth a slight increase in overall cost.