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【Game-Time News】

Regarding the design of game characters, the issue has become more and more noisy in recent years.

It is undeniable that with the development of the times and the influx of more and more female players, game manufacturers’ ideas for character design have indeed changed. Straight-ball designs that are too “fascinating” for a certain group of people are no longer the mainstream. Authenticity and vividness are more important.

Compared with the Mala Xian people who have vigorously promoted the banner of “don’t play when men are around”, console and PC players seem to have no objection to this. Today, when conventional beauties and handsome men are increasingly rare, the divisions and debates among player groups have become more and more intense. Using sales volume to compete for the right to speak has become a new trend.

Last month, the new ARPG “Sword Star” launched by Korean game developer Shift Up, led by Kim Hyung-tae, sparked global discussions due to related topics, and it is still hot today.

Although the official sales volume has not yet been announced, the game has topped the Amazon game sales list in the UK, the United States, Japan and other places as soon as it was released. “Sword Star” on the PS store has also topped the sales list in many countries/regions. . At the same time, player reputation continues to rise, with MC player ratings remaining stable at 93, and it won PlayStation’s April Player Choice Award.

Interestingly, two weeks after its release, the sexy character design of the heroine Eve is still the focus of debate among all walks of life.

On the one hand, overseas media have frequently criticized, believing that the protagonist in “Sword Star” is an “over-sexualized doll”, caters too much to men, and does not pay enough attention to the current emerging user groups; on the other hand, it is the pre-order support of a large number of players. , calling for real money to be used to let the industry understand what players like.

As the discussion continued, I calmed down and carefully experienced the game from the perspective of a male player. Is the sexy element the core selling point of the game? Is the conflict between pleasing players, self-expression, and conforming to the mainstream values ​​of the times necessarily irreconcilable?

The popularity of the product “Sword Star” is worth pondering.

An exemplary “latecomer”

Let’s look at the quality of the game first.

Starting from last year’s “Pinocchio’s Lies”, Korean manufacturers changed the stereotype of kimchi online games and suddenly had the ambition to create stand-alone masterpieces on consoles and PCs. But after all, as a latecomer, we can clearly see a lot of multi-dimensional references to popular products. This makes some players think that Korean games have a strong sense of stitching and feel that their style is not high.

However, “Sword Star” also imitates many predecessors, and still has an experience that exceeds my expectations.

For example, although the world view and story of the game do not seem that fresh, and there are obviously many references and tributes to “NieR: Automata”, the excellent art design, audio-visual quality and detail filling make “Sword Star” very special. More immersive than usual. If my initial expectations were just beautiful girls fighting monsters, then the depiction of the apocalyptic world has become the part that touches me the most now.

Like “NieR”, “Sword Star” also focuses on a world after mankind has experienced a devastating disaster, but the better picture quality and interactive details full of scenes give the game a sufficiently outstanding atmosphere.

Phone booths, rail trains, pianos, guitars and other products of the old era outline a sense of realism, while cyberpunk characters and weird parasitic monsters full of prosthetic elements also highlight a strong science fiction flavor. The remnants of human civilization, nature and alien lifeforms complement each other, giving the game a desolate but meaningful temperament.

Perhaps my favorite moment in “Sword Star” is unlocking each camp as the process progresses. There is a vending machine, a record player, a sleeping bag, a pot of steaming food and a chair. Sitting under the dim sky, listening to ethereal music and thinking about the dim future of mankind, there is a sense of warmth that arises spontaneously, which is very healing. .

In addition, the characters in “Sword Star” are far from the stylized ones I expected. In addition to her outstanding appearance, the personality of the protagonist Eve is actually very likable. She will be very interested in cans that she has never seen before, and she will also be upset when others say she has a “stiff hair style.” Her earnest energy to see everything new is really cute.

Lily and Adam, the two “tool men” who assist the protagonist, also have outstanding daily interactions and highlight moments. Not to mention that Centrino, who didn’t have many roles, captured the hearts of players basically as soon as he appeared on the scene, and was even asked by players to make him a controllable character.

Very cute trio

It can be said that Kim Hyung Tae, the master of art, really led the team to maximize its advantages, making the visual impact last almost from beginning to end.So even if there is nothing particularly innovative in the gameplay process, “Sword Star” still forms a smooth experience-driven.

The general content of the game, to put it bluntly, is nothing more than adding some painless puzzle solving and text collection to the running game, using platform jumping and shooting elements to connect it, and nesting a larger open map between the levels and arranging some errands. Branch line. However, the overall arrangement of the game is mature enough. Both the content filling and the rhythm arrangement appear relaxed and natural, and will not make people uncomfortable and boring, which is rare.

It’s hard not to think of this scene as “Dead Space”

As for the other major part of the game – combat and development, it can be said to be a masterpiece of stitching. Of course, this is a compliment, and it can be seen that “Sword Star” fully integrates the advantages of current mainstream action games.

Not to mention the basic light and heavy attack derivative movements, “Sekiro”-style sword fighting and precise dodge with witch time are also indispensable. Even for sword fighting and dodge, the game also provides two corresponding resources to release beta skills and explosive skills. Coupled with the transformation system “Centrino Mode” unlocked in the mid-term, the overall battle plan is definitely rich and the path is clear.

It can be seen that the production team is afraid that players will feel that the combat interaction is not diverse enough, so they have given the enemy two additional attacks that will emit blue light and purple light prompts, thus corresponding to flash and knockback countermeasures that test operation and reaction. The triggering method of circle + front and rear rockers is probably similar to the pleasure of activating “See Through” in “Sekiro”.

Requires proficiency in flash and knockback

So while I was impressed by the comprehensive integration of many action game elements in “Sword Star”, I was also attracted by the solid feel, gorgeous move design and execution performances. The fast-paced interaction between the enemy and the enemy in the BOSS battle, the refreshing knife fights and exchanges of moves, all made me unbelievable that the team had such good ACT skills.

Dimensional slashing duel!

At the same time, “Sword Star” did not forget to leave enough space for character construction.

The game uses the two simple and easy-to-understand concepts of auxiliary spine and components to create different genres of character construction. Although the critical strike flow, beta skill flow, and stealth flow cannot bring about any essential changes in the battle, they can indeed serve as embellishments with different emphasis. Several large skill trees carefully divide the character’s performance into specific categories, making the player’s growth more realistic.

In short, I tend to evaluate “Sword Star” as aA solid and mature latecomer, it has extremely impressive integration capabilities with existing gameplay on the market.

In this era when it is difficult to make fundamental innovations, “Sword Star” is undoubtedly a product that is very suitable for inexperienced R&D teams to learn from. It knows what it wants and what it has, and thus creates a smooth and silky experience in a limited space.The result is Sword Stars, a game that not only looks sexy, but plays as well.

What is the use of sexy beauties?

“Sword Star”, as the team’s first original console masterpiece, has a very impressive degree of completion. I can also pat my chest and say that even if I put aside the temptation of Kim Hyung Tae’s “greasy senior sister”, this is still a good work that I enjoyed most of the time.

But if “Sword Star” loses this superficial selling point, will its sales and attention be greatly affected?

I think the answer is yes, or in the current somewhat special market atmosphere, the somewhat “rebellious” nine-headed sexy beauty in “Sword Star” can obviously greatly increase the attention of the product and make the promotion work easier. Get twice the result with half the effort.

After “NieR: Automata” became popular back then, many players said that the game relied entirely on its “cyber butt” to become popular. I was very dismissive of this statement at the time, because it seemed to me that Nier clearly had deeper merits. For example, the refreshing action battles, the tearful music, the philosophical plot, and the embellishment of meta elements…this is the key to making it a masterpiece.

2B’s character design is a classic

But over the years, with the year-by-year increase in sales of “NieR” and the hot market response of “Sword Star”, I feel more and more that the appearance of the character and the corresponding characterization can indeed grab the attention of players in the first place and lead the way. They feel the connotation of the product better.

Of course you can say that this way of getting attention is a bit vulgar.But in the current community atmosphere, the appeal of character appearance has even further developed than in the past.

Secondly, in my opinion, sexy beauties also build a buffer zone for the presentation of gameplay quality to a large extent, which can further detonate the word-of-mouth effect.

For example, many players of “Sword Star” like to say, “You know why you bought it because you know what it is” – when everyone pays for the character, they don’t have so many unrealistic expectations about the gameplay.

In this way, it makes the gameplay of the game extremely solid and the design of the game very sincere. Expectation management has also become an increasingly important topic in product promotion in recent years, so isn’t “beauty” a good way to quickly attract attention while allowing players to maintain rational expectations?

Of course, whether a product can gain recognition in the endit also depends on how much its core gameplay is worth, otherwise there is a high probability that it will encounter backlash.Moreover, the concept of beauty often appears differently in different people’s minds. The success of “Sword Star” also lies in its careful presentation of the beauty understood by the team.

You may not like Kim Hyung Tae’s style, or you may feel that the character is too greasy, unrefined, soulless, and lacking in memorability. But when I saw the carefully designed costumes, hairstyles, and ponytails that could be adjusted in length, when I saw the character interactions and worldview that were carefully written, I felt that the team took the characters seriously enough.This seriousness completely gives “Sword Star” a self-consistent aesthetic and gives the characters a soul.

“Sword Star” may be a concentrated expression of revenge consumption by some players, and we should not directly characterize the market trend it represents. However, whether beautiful characters in the traditional sense, or characters with a certain degree of sexual attraction, should occupy a dominant position in products and what role they can play, obviously should be reconsidered and rationally considered by current manufacturers.

Isn’t it possible that female gamers don’t like her too?

The last thing I want to say is that I often feel that my understanding of the player community is still somewhat rigid.

Except for vertical categories such as harem and otome, which are based on gender preferences, most of the time users of different genders and different orientations still have to eat from the same pot – everyone’s preferences may not be so divided.

Data released by Sony last year: the number of female PS players has reached 48%

Male players will definitely revel in the long legs of “Sword Star”, but will women be offended by games like “Sword Star”?

Not necessarily.

Just like many male players are attracted by the masculine charm exuded by characters such as Dante and Kui Ye, I can also see female users expressing their love for Eve in “Sword Star” on Little Red Book. I believe that both men and women should have their own angles of appreciation for the power and beauty bursting out of the bodies and souls of different characters.

But in this open era, we are sometimes unprecedentedly narrow-minded. Because some questioning voices have engaged in a protracted battle for the right to speak. Maybe it’s because of gender, maybe it’s because of something else.

Are mainstream commercial works really more inclined to “please men”? Do female gamers often find it difficult to find playable products? Can female players accept the character design of “Sword Star”? What does the “anti-political correctness” banner of “Sword Star” mean in this era?

If you happen to see this article, you might as well leave some of your own opinions.

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