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【Game-Time News】

The fact that “The Investiture of the Gods” cannot be included in the “Four Great Classics” is something that many scholars and experts sigh and understand.

The reason for sighing is that the influence and spread of this mythological novel are far-reaching enough; the understanding of the view comes from the fact that the novel art of the work is not yet mature. Specifically, the character creation is more “typified”. Take King Zhou as an example. Everyone can say that he is stupid, but they can only simply summarize the events of his stupidity. There are few memorable points about the character of King Zhou itself.

But in the era of film, television and game content, these sighs and regrets have become the driving force for the IP spread of “Investiture of the Gods” – compared with the adaptation of classic characters and works that are not easily accepted by readers, the stories and character stories of “Investiture of the Gods” are more likely to be loved by fans of the original and the general public. This is also one of the core reasons why “Investiture of the Gods” has been adapted and remade into more than a dozen versions of TV series in the era of home entertainment centered on television.

As for the value of this IP in the gaming field, the achievements of Kingsoft’s 20-year series “Investiture of the Gods” in the PC gaming era are proof of this, and many people have also affirmed the contemporary value of IP. In the “China Association of Listed Companies·Reception Room” column jointly created by the China Association of Listed Companies and China National Radio, Liu Yi, a postdoctoral fellow in cultural economics at the Central University of Finance and Economics, and Wang Guanran, chief analyst of CITIC Securities Media, shared their views on this IP. Liu Yi believes that “Investiture of the Gods” has awakened the public’s consumption of traditional culture. Wang Guanran directly stated that the “Investiture of the Gods” IP adapted into a game may have higher box office revenue than the movie.

These two viewpoints have attracted widespread attention and discussion on the Internet. Today, we would like to participate in this topic and talk about several views on whether the “Fengshen” IP is suitable for making games.

Let’s look at people first

Young people who like games have the desire to become gods in their bones

Since the Ming and Qing Dynasties, “The Investiture of the Gods” has been widely circulated among the people, and the characters in stories such as “Nezha Cutting Flesh to Return to His Mother”, “Forcing King Wucheng to Rebellion”, and “Jiang Taigong Fishing” are also well-known to the public.

In 2003, Zhejiang Juvenile & Children’s Publishing House published “Investiture of the Gods – A Must-Read Book Series for Full-time Compulsory Education Students”, in 2010, Jilin Publishing Group published “Investiture of the Gods”, and in 2018, Beijing Education Publishing House published the juvenile book classic “Investiture of the Gods”… Coupled with the promotion of publishing houses in Fuzhou, Sichuan and other places, people born in the 21st century will remember this work and the characters in the work when they passively learn knowledge.

When they began to actively understand and accept cultural content, more than 15 adapted film and television dramas released from 1986 to 2023 continued to deepen their impression of the Fengshen story and characters.

Over the past three hundred years, the continuous dissemination of multiple content carriers such as books, comics, movies, and games has engraved the Fengshen culture into the blood of generations. And this cultural imprint can be awakened.

So when the PC game market began to grow at a rate of over 45%, Kingsoft’s first online game in the Fengshenbang series, Fengshenbang, launched in 2004, won the title of the most successful online game of the year with a peak number of 180,000. It should be noted that there were only 26.33 million online game users in China that year.

Screenshots of the PC version of Investiture of the Gods

Therefore, among the top five highest-grossing films in Chinese film history, only one animated film, Nezha: The Devil Child, was shortlisted. In 2019, it reinterpreted the story of Nezha’s Conquest of the Dragon King with the contemporary values ​​of “My fate is determined by me, whether I am a demon or a fairy, I have the final say”, and captured the hearts of hundreds of millions of viewers. Before the film was released, the sales of genuine IP derivatives broke the record of Chinese animated films with a pre-sale of over 18 million.

After “Nezha: The Devil Child Comes into the World”, in the past four years, animated or live-action movies with Jiang Ziya, Yang Jian and King Zhou as the core characters have also been well received and sold out.

At a time when spiritual needs drive consumption, high-quality content related to the “Fengshen” IP has awakened the consumption sentiment of several generations for this IP, and also driven the public’s consumption market for traditional culture. So far, TV series, movies, toys, clothing and other content and products that carry the stories and culture of Fengshen have continued to be successful. In the mobile game content market that is loved by young people, players are also looking forward to the launch of high-quality products.

Let’s look at the “market”

It is not only the Chinese people’s deification, but also the world’s deification list

The Chinese people’s familiarity with the culture of the Investiture of the Gods and their love for the characters in the Investiture of the Gods are the user base for this IP with a history of more than 300 years, and the content renovation has the characteristics of a hit. Before preparing this article, we once thought that the influence of “Investiture of the Gods” was limited to the Chinese community in China and overseas. But the actual situation is far beyond imagination.

The Ming and Qing dynasties were an important period for the development of China’s overseas trade, and China’s trade with Southeast Asia, West Asia, Europe and other countries reached new heights. The Investiture of the Gods was widely circulated among the people during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Relying on the global flow of Chinese people, as well as overseas trade and cultural exchanges, the local residents of many countries in Southeast Asia, West Asia, Europe and other countries are familiar with the classic characters and stories of the IP.

They like the Fengshen culture and are willing to pay for content related to this IP.

In Japan, in addition to the book, related comics, e-comics, animations, and games have also been popular for more than 30 years. The comic book “Investiture of the Gods” adapted from the novel by Japanese cartoonist Ryu Fujisaki began serialization in Shueisha’s magazine “Weekly Shonen Jump” in 1996 and ended in 2000. A total of 23 volumes of single books were published. In 2005, the complete edition of all 18 volumes went on sale. Soon after, the animation and game based on the comics were also launched.

Screenshots of games related to Japan’s “Fengshen” IP

In addition to Japan, the “Fengshen” IP-related content has also accumulated for many years in markets such as South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, the United States, and the United Kingdom. This has also raised our expectations for the Fengshen game from the Chinese market to the global market.

In the past, Chinese film and television audiences looked forward to Western IPs, not because they had emotional resonance with them, but because there was a shortage of domestic film and television content that could resonate with them, and there were not enough products that could inspire inner cultural identity and historical pride. But now, whether it is animation or live-action film and television, well-received and popular works have frequently appeared at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival and the Cannes International Film Festival in France, and have also been selected by companies such as Netflix, CineAsia, and Animore to be released in overseas markets.

Let’s talk about “driving force”

Kingsoft, which has been making god-making games for 20 years, wants to promote “The Return of the Gods” to the world

Compared with the performance of the current film and television industry and the derivative industry, the performance of new works based on the “Fengshen IP” in the gaming field is mediocre. In recent years, many games with Fengshen themes have been launched, but none of them have made a splash, and few products have achieved cost recovery. The last Fengshen game that entered the popular online game market was the MMORPG PC game “Fengshen Bang” series operated by Kingsoft for 20 years.

Whether in terms of the number of users reached by the product or the size of the paid market, mobile games are much higher than movies. According to the report, the size of China’s online game market was 39.1 billion yuan in 2004, and it grew to 302.964 billion yuan in 2023. In the same year, the global game market size reached 187.7 billion US dollars.

Over the past decade, mobile games have developed rapidly, and the form of domestic mobile games in the global market has also changed from rapid catch-up to innovation leadership. How will mobile games based on “The Legend of the Gods” perform in the global game market? It is worth looking forward to. So in February this year, when Zheng Ke, vice president of Kingsoft Software Group and CEO of Kingsoft World Games, announced at the New Year’s Eve dinner that Kingsoft’s classic IP “The Legend of the Gods” would be restarted in 2024, it did cause a stir in the industry.

On the one hand, in the field of Fengshen games, no one has more say than Kingsoft. The Fengshen game enthusiasts and marketing channels accumulated over 20 years of operation, the understanding of the “Fengshen” IP accumulated from the development and distribution of multiple Fengshen games, are all product starting points that other game companies cannot match.

On the other hand, it is Kingsoft’s investment and attention to this mobile game. The “Swordsman” series and the “Fengshen” series are the two core contents of Kingsoft. This time, the first mobile game launched by the “Fengshen” IP on the mobile terminal is led by the well-known producer Wang Yi to develop and produce, and the original team of “Swordsman Love Mobile Game” is in charge. The company also officially stated that it will combine various resources to promote the “Fengshen” IP to return to its original height in the Chinese game industry.

With the support of the industry’s top R&D resources and Kingsoft’s achievements in the Fengshen series of game products, it would be difficult for “Fengshen Zai Ran” not to attract industry attention.

As for why the launch of this product will confirm the experts’ view that “Fengshen” IP games are more profitable than movies and TV shows, it is because of the following three aspects.

First, it is the sentiment of the players of the “Investiture of the Gods” series of games. From being the top online game of the year to being in continuous operation for 20 years, “Investiture of the Gods” is a game and also the youth of hundreds of millions of players. Whenever Kingsoft releases a game operation announcement or a new expansion pack, the comment section will see inquiries from players of the “Investiture of the Gods” PC game about mobile game information. As of press time, official PC game accounts such as Bilibili and Douyin have not announced relevant information about the mobile game, but players who saw the news that Kingsoft plans to restart the “Investiture of the Gods” IP on mobile terminals could not help but run to the comment section to express their opinions – “Looking forward to the public beta of the mobile game.” The game reservation page of “Investiture of the Gods Again” has more than 540,000 reservations. This number of reservations is still presented when the official did not reach out to the players of the “Investiture of the Gods” PC game and only disclosed a game video.

Second, the game has a longer life cycle and commercial chain. Like movies, games have the characteristics of long production periods and large investments, but the game content is continuously updated and the payment method is more flexible. New copies, linked gameplay with IP, event operations, initiation of in-game activities… can quickly provide players with new experiences, and the free game paid in-game purchase business model also gives players a variety of game choices. The official introduction of the “Investiture of the Gods” PC game on Douyin wrote this sentence-“Kingsoft’s 20-year classic PC game “Investiture of the Gods” rekindles the passion, brothers fight again!” This is the confidence of the product and brand, and it is also Kingsoft’s sincerity to the series of games.

Third, the ultimate display of oriental aesthetics in “The Return of the Gods” is the focus of young people’s desire to help the globalization of the national trend. The game product itself is highly interesting, competitive and social, which is deeply loved by young people and is easier to accumulate a wide user base; the global nature of the game product itself also makes it one of the best carriers for Chinese culture to go overseas. “The Return of the Gods” is the first national style mythology world mobile game. In addition to the game characters being faithful to the original description, the architecture of the Yuxu Palace refers to the history of the Shang and Zhou dynasties, and the palaces and pavilions are carved with beams and painted with buildings, which also show the architectural characteristics of the Shang and Zhou dynasties. In the production of this product, Kingsoft has fully demonstrated the sincerity of traditional culture through digital inheritance and dissemination. And such a conscientious game will surely impress young people who promote the revival of national trend culture.

Looking back at the history of MMO games, benchmark products have been born in every era. “Fengshen Zailin” is still under intensive development. We look forward to the launch of this product and the innovation and expansion it will bring to the MMO category.

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