Game Analysi

The Original Gods’ overseas business: Comic-Con sets the stage, voice actors sing

Not surprisingly, it’s “Original Gods” again, the double winner of February’s overseas revenue growth.This is the ninth month of its reign, and judging by the content of subsequent releases and the competition, the iron throne will belong to Hara-God for a long time to come.ProtoGod is an anomaly among the handheld games.Sensor Tower shop intelligence data shows that 47.7% of the mobile revenue of MihaYu’s “Original Gods” comes from the Chinese iOS market, 20.7% from the Japanese market and 8.9% from the US market.

Generally speaking, handheld games that do well overseas tend to be unconvincing in the market; conversely, handheld games that operate well in the market have a limited audience overseas. The original Gods, however, has been a success, especially in Europe and the United States, where players are still willing to pay for it, even though it was originally a “copy of The Legend of Zelda”.

The success of ProtoGod is not only reflected in its revenue, but also in its social media presence abroad.

According to GameRant, over the past year, Deus Ex was the most talked about game on Twitter, with 12,571 tweets and 39,035,520 retweets related to it, while the second place game, Final Fantasy 14, had only half as many retweets as Deus Ex.

This makes one wonder how, as a secondary game, ProtoGod has managed to break through the barriers of the European and American markets and continue to attract European and American players to the game. With these questions in mind, The Prophet broke into the pages of The Original Gods to find out the real answer from the players in Europe and the US.

I’m crazy about The Original Gods, as seen by European and American players.

Every month, there is a Friday when Russian gamer Alyosha skips all the parties and stays in front of his computer on time, because this is the day of the ProtoGod preview broadcast, where the voice actors or production team members will bring players new information about the next version of the game, so that they can plan ahead.

“I used to be a very social person,” says Alyosha, whose life has changed a lot since he started playing ProtoGod. For example, when a new version is updated, he will take a day off work to open up the land and sit in front of the computer for more than 10 hours; for example, on the day of the preview broadcast, he will put his phone on mute, “no one will disturb me to read the new information”.

There are many European and American players like Alyosha who watch the preview live every month. Take the 3.0 update, for example. Mihayo chose Twitter and YouTube as the platform for the preview broadcast, and about a million players watched the broadcast online at the same time. It’s worth noting that the live stream was hosted by Liu Wei, one of MihaYu’s founders, and the original Gods production team, so the stream was in Chinese throughout, but the language barrier didn’t quench the enthusiasm of overseas players.

Alyson even plans to join MihaYu.

Talking about why he likes Protoss, Alyosha said that first of all, the game is free enough, and although there is a main storyline, it doesn’t force players to do quests. If you are just a casual player who likes to look at the scenery and take photos, you can also have fun in the game.

However, as more and more content is added to the version, Alyosha admits that the freedom of ProtoGod has decreased, “there are some areas that you can’t go to without doing quests, and the increasing amount of Mihayo’s storyline can’t be skipped or multiplied, which is why I had to take a full day off work to start the game at home”.

The other players in the game are friendly and are the reason why Alyosha is fascinated by ProtoGod. Having had unhappy memories in other games, Alyosha was a bit resistant to massively multiplayer social online games and was relieved that there was no public screen chat in Protoss. Occasionally, he would receive requests from other players wanting to enter his world, “Everyone who came was polite and would ask me if I needed any help, and some would play the piano for me with in-game props.”

Because of the freedom and the friendliness of the other players in the game, Alyosha would recommend the game to his friends.

Other European and American players say that there are more people around them who are getting into ProtoGod, and more people who are making money from it.

“The Original Gods is the live traffic code.” Player Mark got into the game with the 2021 Inatsuma release, which is rich in Japanese culture to his old secondary appetite. In addition to experiencing the game’s content, he also searches for some second creations or looks at other players’ live streams. “At that time, there were not as many people live-streaming The Original Gods as there are now, and many anchors live-streamed several games at the same time, not focusing on The Original Gods. Now there are more people specialising in The Original Gods content, and the website also gives to traffic tilt, so there are more and more people watching and doing it. ”

Explosive blogger Xwides.

The persistent insider spying on The Original Gods overseas is also linked to the Fortune Code.

They often leak content several releases ahead of time, and players are happy to hear about such leaks because of the need to plan for subsequent releases. This gives insiders the opportunity to make money by building insider networks and charging for advertising, or by forming groups where each member pays a monthly fee in exchange for the latest news, which can range from a few dozen to $100.

“It’s no wonder that Mihajou frequently sends letters to lawyers to regulate those who break the news, but the insider phenomenon, especially overseas insiders, is still forbidden.

Overseas players’ personal accounts: I got into the pit this way.

Generally speaking, there are no special channels for games to go overseas. Most manufacturers still follow the traditional buy-in approach, and if the game reaches a certain level of popularity and attracts initial players, it has the potential to survive.

ProtoGod is not quite the same, as Mark first heard the name at a comic convention.

Unlike domestic comic conventions, overseas comic conventions are one of the key promotional channels for films, TV dramas and games, and the “Power Play” spin-off “Dragon King Family” has chosen comic conventions as its promotional venue. The original Gods, which has a strong secondary genre, is itself a high fit with Comic-Con.

Mark said that New York Comic Con 2020 was cancelled due to the epidemic, so Comic Con 2021 is bigger than before in terms of both scale and numbers, “after all, we’ve waited almost two years”. Before he even entered the venue, just in the queue, he noticed that this New York Comic Con was very different from the past.

“I remember very clearly that there was a large poster of The Original Gods hanging at the entrance to Comic-Con with General Raiden and the Kamiko girls, and I have to say that the General’s stance and that sense of oppression immediately drew me in.”

Not only that, after entering the venue Mark found that almost half of the cosplayers were dressed up as characters from The Original Gods, and there were many people looking for them to take photos and interact with, “I already love secondary culture, so I’m going to play it when I get home from Comic-Con.”

This was Mark’s first exposure to Chinese games and his first time playing a handheld game.

“In terms of content it was very understandable, there were no Chinese elements that I thought were so strong and required some understanding of Chinese culture to understand; in terms of gameplay, I don’t like playing games on my phone, but it supports the PC end and it was just very smooth to play.”

Mark’s fellow fans have followed a similar path to the game.

Mark’s reference to “understandable content” is also the reason why “Original Gods”, as a domestic game, has not been “culturally unconventional” in Europe and the US.

Dickson, who is nearly 30, is a culture buff, but admits he hardly plays any games other than the Three Kingdoms genre.

“It’s so hard to understand and the localisation of some games is so poorly translated that I can’t get any enjoyment out of the text or content.”

The seven countries in The Original Gods, which have actual reference cross-references in reality, do not have a high barrier to understanding and, as Dickson says, the localised content is done with enough care.

The Egyptian lady from B-site talks about the localisation of the Sumeru version.

“Take the Windflower Festival content this time, the character Xeno is a fan of cold jokes and often makes puns, the game text here is set up in a clever way with harmonies, paraphrases, derivations and so on, often making me forget that this is a game made by a Chinese team.”

In terms of story lines and worldview, ProtoGod uses the Gnostic mythology system, which is also more accessible to overseas players than ancient Chinese mythology, and there are many overseas players on Youtube who dig deeper into the game’s backstory for evidence, which Dickson says is what continues to attract him to the game outside of the game.

The surge in the number of overseas players for the Shuya version also has to do with the fact that Mihayo has used mythological characters and legends from a number of countries, including Persia, Egypt and India, in that version. The Middle East and India are places that are rarely mentioned or even explored in depth in traditional game products, and it is for this reason that the Sumeru version has gained popularity among people of colour overseas.

“I feel as if a new country is opened and a lot of people from the corresponding archetypal country enter the pit.”

Russian player Alyosha, on the other hand, said that in games dominated by the Western world, Russia is portrayed as mostly negative and reckless, while what attracted him most in ProtoGod was the country to Winter, which is based on Imperial Russia. “I don’t know how to describe it, that music and the feel of the country just felt right to me, and the usage of the Russian language is also very elaborate, so I should be playing until 2025 when the Land of the Winter comes online.”

Ten years of dubbing no one knows, once in the original God the world heard.

During the exchange, Prophet Youtubers discovered another interesting phenomenon: there is a relationship of mutual achievement between voice actors and The Original Gods. The breakthrough of The Original Gods in the European and American markets is inseparable from the efforts of overseas voice actors.

Unlike Chinese and Japanese voice idols who have formed a fan circle culture, European and American voice actors are more akin to behind-the-scenes hitmen due to external factors such as cultural background and the start of secondary gen-oriented consumer content. The large volume and player base of ProtoGod has given them the opportunity to be noticed by the outside world.

Mark and Alyson both said that before “Original Gods”, they would choose Japanese dubs for their secondary games because “English dubs are not good enough to match the feeling of the secondary gen.” However, as the game changed, they gradually found that the English dubbing skills were improving rapidly, and some of the new voice actors were even better than the Japanese dubbing.

“For example, the character of Thor,” said Mark of the English dub of Thor, “has two identities in the plot, one is a human puppet to carry out orders, and the other is the original Thunder movie. There is a scene in the episode where the mannequin and Shadow confront each other, and voice actor Anne really dubbed it out as non-human and human.”

Voice actor Anne.

It is safe to say that from the Inatsuma version onwards, the English dubs have reversed the stereotypical prejudice against them by virtue of their business standards and gained recognition from the secondary user community in Europe and the US, and more and more voice actors who are already well-known in the European and American circles are joining the project team of The Original Gods with a view to further enhancing their popularity.

While enjoying the traffic brought by “Haragami”, the British pairings are also adding heat to “Haragami” to draw in new fans.

Unlike in China, European and American players are not as resistant to voice actors tying themselves to their characters. The character Xeno has a penchant for making snide jokes in the plot and has a close friendship with another character, Tinari. The voice actors have been known to tell a lot of jokes during the live broadcast of ProtoGod, and to say “he’s so cute, I like him so much” when Tinari appears, something that might be criticised in China, but is popular in Europe and the US.

In addition, the players often organise regular reunions, sometimes online to play games, but also offline to meet up. The content is made into slices, which are interpreted twice and then distributed on the internet, which is “very interesting and absorbing”.

European and American gamers also enjoyed watching the voice actors talk about their journey of how they were chosen for the ProtoGod project. Kieran, the English voice of Kano-in Hiruzo, cried tears of joy on air after learning that he had been chosen. The video clip brought him huge attention, including over 200,000 viewers from China. Other videos of the British pairing talking about behind-the-scenes stories have received similarly significant airplay.

It is worth pointing out that, unlike the CJK dubs who are all professional voice actors, many of the British dubs are gaming bloggers or internet celebrities themselves, such as Alejandro, who voices Xeno, and when these British dubs join the ProtoGod project, their original fans will come to the game out of support for their idols, and then get into the game. This is one of the reasons why the number of players in Europe and the US has continued to grow over the past year.

There are two sides to everything, and voice actors can be both a help and a hindrance.

In February, Tina Reid was accused of using her role to lure underage girls, causing an uproar in European and American gamer circles, and Mihalyu took the unprecedented step of terminating the actor’s contract as a sign of cutting. While the whole thing can bring in traffic, the actor is too deeply tied to the character, and if something happens to the actor, the character and even the game will suffer, as has happened to many games in China.

In addition, for Mihayou, although “Original God” has successfully entered the European and American markets, and has also been recognized by European and American players. However, as the number of players increased, especially the number of non-secondary players, the issue of “political correctness” gradually became a major issue in Europe and the United States. Especially after the opening of the Sumeru version, European and American players began to discuss “whether the characters are black enough” and “whether people of colour are ignored”. Mihayo discrimination in action”.

As a secondary female character is mostly “white, young and thin”, “Original Gods” is also a secondary hand game. However, as the game successfully goes overseas and the player base expands, the “white, young and skinny” aesthetic is bound to make some people feel uncomfortable, so how to balance the aesthetic differences between the existing player base and the new players, especially the European and American player base, is a problem that MihaYu will have to consider in the future.

In addition, since ProtoGod is essentially a card game, the character design should not be too weak, which will affect the sales of the current card pool, nor too strong, which will hinder the subsequent card selling plan. Dixia is not a limited character, and her lack of strength makes sense from a card-selling perspective, but with the “coloured” label attached to her, it’s easy to inflame the emotions of overseas players. This is something that will be tested in the future, when it comes to selling cards and trying to please everyone.

It’s easy to see from the real feedback from European and American players who have been in the game that the path to success for ProtoGod is not unrepeatable. To sum up, it’s all about saying the right thing to the right people in the right place, and it’s not conducive to market development to have a monopoly. I also hope that the manufacturers will step up their game and send more of The Original Gods overseas.

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