PIXEL BURN – Persona 5, Zelda on Netflix, Nintendo’s idiotic YouTube Creators Program

In which Matt does a terrible disservice to Peter DInklage.
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[TRANSCRIPT]

Hello my name’s Matt and this is Pixel Burn, where I take a sarcastic look at some of the more important, interesting or irritating things to have happened in gaming news this week.

Fans of all things Atlus soiled their collective undergarments this week at the release of a new trailer for Persona 5, coming to PS3 & PS4. The fifth instalment of the long-running Persona series of Japanese RPGS, part of a spin-off of another long-running series of JRPGs called Megami Tensei that itself spawned a bunch of other series with Megami Tensei in the title. Along with some other games that don’t but are still tenuously connected by shared gameplay elements, as if the whole bloody thing weren’t confusing enough already. Unlike the first trailer, which was just a bunch of chairs with balls and chains around their legs, this new one actually has characters, locations and other tangible things you couldn’t get away with hanging in a gallery for some superficial gawper to ponder the sheer bloody meaning of.

My initial impression of the trailer was how it reminded me a fair bit of The Matrix…crossed with Sailor Moon. Although that’s still rather apt for a series in which you’re fighting evil by moonlight and winning love by daylight.

The biggest feature of the Persona series is how it combines JRPG hack-and-slash with dating sim mechanics. In Persona 4 for example you had to balance ordinary day-to-day activities like school, homework and friendship, with going into a surreal world inside a TV – home to a talking bear – to fight tangible Jungian Shadows born from humanity’s Collective Unconscious.

Which, as in the rest of the series, you do by unleashing the titular Personas. Recurring psychological archetypes represented in-game by mythological figures like Lucifer, Thor, Quetzalcoatl…er, a Unicorn, Moonface (Sandman), Chimney Tiger (Flauros), The Samurai Pizza Cats (Neko Shogun) and, of course, Chariot Penis (Mara).

Graphically this new instalment look very similar to Atlus’s previous title Catherine, their test title for the current generation before the current generation became last generation. It’s also quite dark, albeit very stylish, with the new cast seeming to be a ragtag group of delinquent misfits. Yes, even the cat. Especially the cat.

Something of a stark contrast to the innocent, truth-seeking, Enid Blyton-esque main cast of Persona 4. It also appears to have more in the way of action elements, like this stealth section. Although if you don’t like JRPGs in general then things like this are unlikely to change your mind about them.

All anybody outside Atlus knows right now is that Persona 5 is due for release some time in 2015 on PS3 & PS4. And considering Atlus like to take take their time localising their games for western audiences, you might have to wait a while after Japan gets it first . Although that does mean when you finally do get your sweaty paws on Persona 5, it’ll be up to Atlus’ usual high standards: localised for western audiences in a way that nevertheless preserves its uniquely Japanese flavour.

Speaking of other things from Japan that are popular in the west, Netflix are in the early stages of developing a series based on The Legend of Zelda according to the Wall Street Journal. Oh god, they’re not bringing back the animated series are they? Tell me they’re not bringing back the animated series.

No, thankfully the animated series has been consigned to the dustbin of history where it belongs. Instead, according to Netflix themselves, they’re working closely with Nintendo to make The Legend of Zelda a live-action adaptation. With flesh-and-blood actors no less.

Because that worked sooooo well the the last time didn’t it? You all know what I’m talking about.

Don’t pretend you don’t remember.

I’ll fucking make you remember.

[SUDDEN SUPER MARIO BROS MOVIE TO TRIGGER APPALLING FLASHBACKS]

And yet despite this miserable track record some Zelda fans were thrilled by the news, saying things like “give it a chance” and “it’ll be something new!” You know what else would be “something new”? An alien virus that turns your skeleton to jelly and fuses it with your nerves into a fleshy scaffold of perpetual agony. Would you give that a chance?

Other Zelda fans were more discerning and cynical, predicting this series will be the biggest disaster to have ever befallen the Kingdom of Hyrule since it all got flooded at the end of Wind Waker. Fortunately for the doomsayers, just because Netflix say they want to make a live-action Legend of Zelda series doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. The series doesn’t even have any writers attached to it yet, let alone star talent. Although Netflix aren’t short on ambition. You see apparently they want to make the Legend of Zelda the equivalent of, and I quote, “Game of Thrones.”

What, so is Ganon going to give huge monologues while watching two Moblins wank-each off?

“For a family audience.”

I didn’t mean they’d actually show the Moblin-wanking on camera of course. It’ll be a secret to everybody.

Although now that I think about it some more…oh god. Oh god I am a terrible person. You see all with this Game of Thrones talk…all I can imagine now is this.

[YOU KNOW WHAT I DID]

Peter Dinklage. I am so, so sorry. You see Netflix?! You see what you’ve fucking made me do?! You monsters.

Continuing on the topic of Nintendo and poor decisions, after recently unveiling their new YouTube partnership programme the company updated its policies this week. All to better clarify exactly how-much you’d be under their thumb if you’re foolish enough to sign up for it. In another classic example of Nintendo taking one step forward and three staggering steps sideways, into a bin.

Other people have covered this topic already so I’ll skip the nitty-gritty details. In a nutshell, signing up for Nintendo’s programme as a YouTuber means Nintendo take a chunk of your ad revenue – after Google and everyone else have taken their chunk, claim perpetual worldwide ownership rights to your content, and get cheap advertising for their games if your channel is popular enough.

In return you receive the privilege of recording yourself playing Nintendo games and sticking the vids up on YouTube with Nintendo’s grudging approval. So long as you don’t say anything negative about Nintendo or the games you’re playing. Yep, no criticism allowed when you’re living under Uncle Ninty’s roof. And you’d better not align yourself with any “antisocial forces” either while you’re at it.

No, I’m serious, that line is actually in the Terms & Conditions.

Hey, Cthulhu! How’s it going? That’s great. Listen, erm, so Nintendo got back to me. Well basically if I want to cover any of their games on my channel then Nintendo says we can’t be friends. Nah, fuck that! You’re my mate! So we still on for Wednesday? *Sighs* No, I won’t forget the enchanted stone monolith carved beneath a crimson moon. You’re never going to let me live that down are you?

“But Matt, doesn’t this only affect people who get paid to sit around on their arses playing games all day? Why should they earn a living doing that, instead of the soul-crushing 9 to 5 job that society conditioned me to believe was the only way to make a living?” Well, no. It also affects people like me who use publicly-available Nintendo trailers to talk about them in a news context, for your education and entertainment. While I have it somewhat easier than Let’s Players because I can make a stronger case for Fair Use, that still doesn’t prevent Nintendo trying to put claims on my videos. Which they thankfully haven’t…yet.

Plus, as I and countless others keep having to repeat until we choke on our own scorn, people primarily watch YouTubers for the personalities playing the games, not the games themselves. You could argue that without the games to play in the first place these YouTubers wouldn’t have any material, yet plenty of other companies out there are more than happy for the completely free publicity they give.

Even YouTube superstar PewDiePie has hit out at the scheme, calling it “a slap in the face” to the YouTube channels that focus on Nintendo games exclusively and “the people who have helped and showed passion for Nintendo’s community” out of sheer bloody love for Nintendo. Resulting in a rare and weird situation where I find myself wholeheartedly supporting PewDiePie on something.

No, Cthulhu. Mate. No! This does not mean The Stars are Right. No, you cannot usher in an aeon of madness and horror. Nah this just a one-off. Yeah, go back to bed mate.

Yet even Pewdiepie’s criticism of the scheme has failed to prevent scores of eager, desperate people signing up to Nintendo’s programme. So many in fact that Nintendo are struggling to meet the demand. The likely reason being that if the biggest YouTubers choose not to cover Nintendo’s games because of their new policies then, well, that’s a niche ripe for smaller YouTubers to exploit isn’t it? Particularly younger ones who might lack the foresight to realise they’re being ripped-off in the long term.

With me now to provide an expert opinion on the subject is the prophet G’Kar from TV’s Babylon 5. G’kar, what are your feelings on YouTubers so eagerly signing up to Nintendo’s partnership programme

[G’KAR SPEAKS HIS WISDOM]

But could this not actually work out to their benefit?

[G’KAR SPEAKS HIS WISDOM AGAIN]

Thank you G’Kar, as always, for your wisdom.

Needless to say I don’t think signing up for Nintendo’s scheme is a particularly good idea. Not only are you effectively surrendering rights to all your Nintendo-related video content for a measly stipend from The Big N, to make the most out of your earnings you have to register your entire channel with the programme. Which means no non-Nintendo games allowed, and even then you’re still only allowed to cover the games on Nintendo’s list of approved titles.

By supporting Nintendo in this, out of some misguided sense of childhood nostalgia, you’re also encouraging other companies to consider something similar, with similar strings attached. Hell, not even EA has stooped to this level. Sure their Ronku programme isn’t the best example, but at least it doesn’t ask you to sign your YouTube channel away. Although it might do in future, if Nintendo are allowed to get away with this backwards, stone-age bullshit with nobody calling them out on it.

If you genuinely love Nintendo as a company, and Nintendo products, and have fond childhood Nintendo memories, the best thing you can do is not support this programme. Even better, criticise it! Send them feedback on that scented Mario-headed letter paper you got with the last of your Club Nintendo coins, explaining why this is a bad idea. And for Ganon’s sake don’t think that you can sign up for this scheme and somehow get a better deal because you’re Nintendo’s biggest fan, and they’d never hurt you in a million years. Newsflash bucko, you’d be just as screwed as the rest of “Nintendo’s Biggest Fans.”

But as I’ve already said, some people are going to sign up regardless of anything I or even Pewdiepie has to say on the matter. To those people I wish you the best of luck in your future YouTube endeavours.

You’ll fucking need it.

That’s all for this episode of Pixel Burn. If you liked it then please do let me know, and let your friends, family and the Secret Wanking Moblins know as well. At the very least I hope you found it tolerable. And if you didn’t like it then there’s a good chance you’re Peter Dinklage, in which case please, please, please accept my grovelling apologies. As for the rest of you, you can go now.

Matt

About Matt

Matt is the irresponsible degenerate behind bitscreed.com and the sarcastic writer, editor, director, presenter and tea boy of Pixel Burn.