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The Controversies of Genshin Impact

Updated: Dec 27, 2022

If you didn’t know, Genshin Impact is a multiplayer, cross-platform, open world, fantasy role-playing game. The game is set in another world called Teyvat, where the player is a traveller from another world. Its developer is miHoYo, who is a Chinese video game developer based in Shanghai.

When the game was first announced at the ChinaJoy convention in 2019, it sparked many controversies. Critics compared Genshin to the pre-existing game, Breath of the Wild, another open-world RPG with similar fantasy themes and gameplay style. The first release of promotional trailers ended up arousing multiple bad reviews and accusations of plagiarism from angered Breath of the Wild fans.

Additionally, miHoYo’s decision to advertise the game as Japanese enraged many players. There has been a long history of Chinese games presenting themselves to be “Japanese” in order to make profits, essentially denying their Chinese culture. This has led to multiple disagreements on the internet with players calling miHoYo a “cultural traitor”.

In the international Genshin community, accusations of bigotry also arose. Some players claim that Xinyan and Kaeya, the only two playable dark-skinned characters of Genshin Impact, have negative adjectives in their character descriptions.The text for Kaeya’s description menu describes him as “exotic”, while Xinyan is called “fierce” and “scary”. However, because the game is translated from Chinese many players defended this by saying it is a translation issue; they are that Kaeya is labelled “exotic” as in the game he is from a lost kingdom while Xinyan, on the other hand, is “fierce” and “scary” as she wears spikes and plays loud music.

Finally, the most well-known controversy of this game is the anniversary award controversy. During Genshin’s 1 year anniversary, very few gifts were given despite the billions of dollars the company has made from its player base. This has stirred up many unhappy fans who went as far as giving it bad reviews on Google Play to catch the attention of miHoYo. This did actually work, and miHoYo compensated its players with rich rewards.

Controversies like these are expected from such a successful game like Genshin Impact. Though many of these problems have been ignored, Genshin has been working to improve their player’s experience by sending out surveys which the players can fill. What controversies will sprout up next in the fandom?

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