Greetings ladies and gentlemen and welcome to this week’s Weekly Initiative, where I, helloazae, bring to you some of the bits and pieces of noteworthy news in the last 7 days. We don’t have a large selection this week, but I promise it’s quite important all the same.

1. Atlus releases Persona 5, alongside Streaming Guidelines!

On Tuesday April 4th, Atlus had successfully released Persona 5 for PS4/PS3 in the West, the long awaited sequel to the Persona series that has garnered much interest since Persona 3 on PlayStation 2.

In the game’s first 24 hours, Atlus also announced that Persona 5 had shipped approximately 1.5 million copies worldwide (note, Shipped does not necessarily mean sold). It had shipped 500,000 copies in Japan since the game’s launch in September 2016. This is nonetheless a major milestone for the Japanese developer and a showing that an ardent fanbase has been gathering over the years since its last numbered release.

But where Atlus takes two steps forward, it had also taken one step back —Upon the release of Persona 5, Atlus was quick to release some guidelines regarding the streaming of their prized gem. In summary, Atlus took an iron-fisted approach that angered the YouTube and Twitch community.

As stated on Atlus’ official post titled ‘A Note on Persona 5 and Streaming’, “This being a Japanese title with a single-playthrough story means our masters in Japan are very wary about it. Sharing is currently blocked through the native PS4 UI. However, if you do plan on streaming, video guidelines above apply except length. If you decide to stream past 7/7 (I HIGHLY RECOMMEND NOT DOING THIS, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED), you do so at the risk of being issued a content ID claim or worse, a channel strike/account suspension.”

Persona 5 natively blocks the Share and Recording functionality on PlayStation 4, and this warning was urged towards content creators recording through other means.

Very clearly, not the best PR moment for Atlus.

Source: Atlus, Polygon, Kotaku, Siliconera, Forbes, Eurogamer, GameInformer, IGN (Pretty much every site, really…)

I hold a deep love for the Persona brand, as the games have resonated with me since my early youth right up until now. Persona introduced me to the Shin Megami Tensei universe, of which I’m a staunch supporter of. However this feels like a major step-back and a major disconnect from their fanbase.

Popular YouTuber and Critic Jim Sterling had said that this could be a reflection of Atlus JP’s insistence on the matter (since Japan had a similar streaming-ban since their launch), rather than Atlus NA, and I’m inclined to believe so given Japan’s stringent rules on streaming. 

I am definitely happy to see this game reach critical acclaim, but seeing it blemished by actions that hurts the community that truly love this series leaves a poor impression, indeed.

2. Xbox Scorpio’s Tech Revealed! (For Real This Time!)

In a surprising move, Microsoft had revealed the hardware in an exclusive report to news website Eurogamer, and DigitalFoundry (YouTube).

All the promises Microsoft have made regarding the Scorpio seem to be true. According to DigitalFoundry, after witnessing stress tests using Xbox & Windows exclusive Forza Horizon, Scorpio’s tech is delivering true 4K gaming, at 60 Frames-per-Second.

While tech and comparisons of the Scorpio and the Xbox One and PS4 Pro are available online from the speed of the processor, to the available memory, its best to summarize it simply: It is a much faster, and more powerful machine. It really is what Microsoft promised.

Source: Eurogamer, DigitalFoundry, Siliconera.

Genuinely surprised of the news, as I was expecting more of an ‘Xbox One .5” approach. Given the dynamic explanations thus far, it truly does feel that Scorpio is the powerhouse machine as promised by Microsoft.

That said, there is still the concern of lacklustre First-Party support on Xbox. While many Third Party games have the potential to be something greater on Scorpio, many may still be attuned to PS4. Also its important to note the developers will swarm to where the audience is, and currently Sony is leading. While a stronger machine is impressive, Microsoft needs to connect with stronger exclusive titles. 

A stronger machine playing a bunch of Third-Party titles is not what audiences are looking for in the contemporary market. Whereas the Switch (once) lacked clear distinct Third-Party Support to thrive, Microsoft lacks a First-Party presence that takes advantage of the machine’s superior specifications.

Notable Releases this week:

Persona 5 — I’ve gushed and I’ve gushed, and it is finally here. Currently sitting at a respectable 94 on MetaCritic, Persona 5 is making huge strides with its stylish art direction and aesthetic. It has breathed new life in the traditional turn-based system and dungeon grind that JRPGs are commonly known for. While interweaving a grand narrative of teenage students struggling against the abuse and corruption of society’s worst, Persona 5 delivers an interesting cast that grows on players. This game is truly the RPG Gem of this generation, and missing out on it would be unfortunate.

Snake Pass — This physics based puzzle-solver by the team at Sumo Digital kind of threw me for a loop here. I hadn’t known much about Snake Pass until I saw it slither up on this week’s release schedule. I checked it out briefly through trailers, other articles, and gameplay, and it looks to be a fun title. Keeping momentum as a snake as you solve platforming puzzles in a cute and picturesque setting.

Blackwood Crossing — This game truly snuck up on me this week, as I saw it appear on the PS Store. The game tells the story of Scarlett and Finn, two orphaned children on an adventure exploring themes of growing up and loss, while on a train bound to an unknown destination. It is a first-person narrative reminiscent of Gone Home and Firewatch, with a much darker tone. This, I believe, is a title to really examine. I am a huge proponent to titles that call for self-reflection and engages with its audience to think deeply. Solve a few puzzles, explore, and experience the worst of growing up in Blackwood Crossing.