Atlus is among one of my most favorite game developers. I remember when I stumbled upon the original Persona 4 about 10 years ago and got very hooked to its interesting combination of turn-based RPG and dating sim mechanics. The story was pretty riveting and the game does a really good job fleshing out the stories of all the side characters, too.
At that time, Atlus was a mostly unknown studio. I mean, for crying out loud, I picked up Persona 4, a PS2 game, a mere 2 years before Sony launched the PlayStation 4. However, after some more Persona and Vanillaware games, Atlus would finally receive the recognition it deserves.
A few days ago, Atlus has released its financial statement for FY 2021 ending in March 2021. In its report, the Sega-owned developer was happy to announce that sales exceeded its expectations.
Atlus touted the sales of Persona 5 Royal (thumbnail) and Persona 5 Strikers. The former has sold 1.8 million copies to date. Persona 5 Strikers (or Scramble in Japan) has sold over 1.3 million copies across the PlayStation 4, PC, and Nintendo Switch.
The most interesting figure, in my opinion, was Persona 4 Golden's 900K sold copies on Steam. Once a PlayStation Vita-only game, last June, Atlus decided to release it on Steam to huge praise. In fact, because sales were so impressive, Sega took notice and announced that it planned to bring more Atlus titles to PC. I, for one, hope that Sega and Atlus will do just that. I just have 2 wishes: please release Atlus's games on GOG, too, and port over Vanillaware's games.
If you do not know, GOG is a PC gaming storefront. While smaller than the likes of Steam and the Epic Game Store, GOG is my most preferred place to buy PC games due to the games being DRM-free. Call me old-fashioned, but I highly value game ownership. While services like the Xbox Gamepass have excellent value, I just like being able to own my games.
GOG's philosophy on game ownership on its "About" page.
One of my biggest issues with the Persona 4 Golden PC port on Steam is that it uses Denuvo. Some may disagree with me on this, but I don't think Denuvo really discourages pirating and overall, implementing it is a waste of time and resources. Yes, there are the greedy pirates who don't want to pay a single cent, but there are pirates who do it to make a statement, particularly on a game's quality. Heck, as I covered Sony's indie developer issue, some indie developers actually managed to sell more copies on Itch.io, another DRM-free storefront, than on the PlayStation store which implements DRM protections.
While GOG doesn't have as many games as Steam, it still has a lot of pretty high profile software. For instance, the Metro series is on there and Sony even released Horizon: Zero Dawn on the storefront. Heck, it is currently discounted down to $30 as of me posting this.
Some Japanese developers like Idea Factory and FALCOM release their games on GOG, as well. Overall, I think Atlus's games would make a very nice addition to expand GOG's library.
Port Vanillaware's Games Over, Too
Vanillaware is another Japanese game developer whose many of its games have been published under Atlus. I own some of its games including Odin Sphere Leifthrasir and Dragon's Crown, and they are very high quality. Odin Sphere Leifthrasir has a really melancholic story along with really good gameplay. Dragon's Crown is a very fun beat'em up that you can either play solo or with friends online or even on the couch.
But what what really makes Vanillaware's games so unique and eye-catching is their extremely beautiful two-dimensional artwork. The character models are very meticulously sculpted together and the background environments are drawn very well, too.
Gwendolyn in Odin Sphere.
A screenshot of Dragon's Crown.
There are mainly two reasons why I want Sega/Atlus to port Vanillaware's games over, one for non-selfish reasons and the other for selfish reasons. For the non-selfish reason, it would be a great way for Vanillaware to expand their audience. Its latest game, 13 Sentinels, managed to exceed Atlus's sales targets in its fiscal year ending in March 2020. However, raw sales numbers are still pretty low and I think Vanillaware deserves to be recognized more.
As for my selfish reason, it's so that I can play the Dragon's Crown multiplayer without needing to pay to play online. I own the the Pro remaster on the PS4 and if you want to play online multiplayer, well you need to pay up $60 per year to do that. I always felt that it was dumb. Across an entire console generation, the amount of money spent just for the privileges to play online is almost enough to buy a good mid-range GPU (on normal conditions, of course). Yeah, no thanks to that. But if Sega/Atlus release the game on PC, then I will gladly play with other players online without needing to pay an extra cent.