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ATLUS celebrated the release of Persona 5 in the West this week and reached out to the many streamers and content creators that will no doubt be broadcasting their game. A post on the official ATLUS site celebrating the April 4th release also sent a direct message warning against posting spoilers for the game. The post went on to lay out clear guidelines for early streaming and previews of the game, beginning,

Ok, now let’s talk Persona 5 streaming and videos. Simply put, we don’t want the experience to be spoiled for people who haven’t played the game. Our fans have waited years for the game to come out and we really want to make sure they can experience it fully as a totally new adventure.

The post went on to ask those talking/writing about the game to avoid specific plot points, even giving ‘good’ and ‘bad’ examples to explain their meaning.

Good example: “The game deals with dark themes right off the bat, with a lecherous teacher and other corrupted individuals.” Bad example: “Players immediately run into trouble with the pervy teacher *spoiler*, whose actions go so far as to cause *spoiler*.

ATLUS also explained that they are fine with people talking about any gameplay aspects (such as confidants, the velvet room, palaces, etc.) but to avoid revealing anything that might spoil the surprises the game has in store. For video content, the publisher was even more specific, giving a list of what is and is not acceptable,

  • Players can post however many additional videos they’d like, but should limit each to be at most 90 minutes long.
  • Must not feature major story spoilers, leaving that up to player’s good judgment. Some guidelines were: avoid showing/spoiling the ending segments of the first three palaces. While you can show initial interactions with Yusuke, avoid his awakening scene, and that whole deal about THE painting. Also, don’t post anything about a certain student investigator.
  • Not to show the end of each palace, though players can grab footage from the Kamoshida boss fight as long as they don’t capture video from the other major boss fights.
  • Must not focus solely on cutscenes/animated scenes, should prominently feature dungeon crawling/spending time in Tokyo.
  • Players can post straight gameplay or have commentary.

ATLUS states that these rules also apply to streams of the game but, other than the in-game date restriction of 7/7, this doesn’t seem to be largely practical. The rules seem to expect streamers to preempt story points before they happen or stop streaming when these events occur and resume after. Some of the specifically referenced plot points are also somewhat vague making it unclear who they are referring to. It’s easy to see how a streamer could stumble across restricted material in a situation like this. Further, then that, the post went on to warn of copyright strikes against any streams or videos showing content past the in-game date of 7/7, saying,

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.

Despite publishing this thorough list of guidelines, ATLUS has also gone as far as blocking the PlayStation 4’s native sharing function – a practice that is becoming more common amongst developers looking to ensure that copyrighted materials and spoiler-heavy scenes are not shared by users. The publisher admits in their post that this is not standard practice for their games, it seems that the size and importance of the Persona franchise as a growing presence in the Western marketplace has prompted the decision.

The move has prompted outrage from some corners, this Forbes article in particular highlights problems that many people have with the restrictions. Critics of the move have been quick to point out that the game has been out since September in Japan and spoiler-filled material is already available to those who seek it out. Not only that, these are regular players who are being threatened with the potential account suspensions – not reviewers who have agreed to embargoes or signed NDAs.

Regardless of the streaming restrictions, reports suggest that Persona 5 is shaping up to be a fine entry in the series. You can read our reviewer’s early impressions of the game here.

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Dom O'Leary

Staff Writer

I'm a dyed in the wool gamer of the now irrelevant (I'm told) generation-X. If I'm not gaming, you'll find me writing about games, writing my wonderful fiction (opinions may differ), playing guitar, or eating... sleep is a distant memory.