Gamers say they’re boycotting popular role-playing title ‘Genshin Impact’ amid allegations of colorism

genshim pact #boycottgenshin
Xinyan from Genshin Impact that is described in-game as “scary.”

  • ‘Genshin Impact’ players have been discussing what they say are the game’s problematic aspects.
  • Racism allegations flooded Twitter with the hashtag #BoycottGenshin.
  • Though some players are upset over these claims, others said they don’t see an issue.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

“Genshin Impact,” an adventure video game, is among the breakout hits of gaming during the pandemic. Released in September 2020 by Chinese developer miHoYo for mobile, PC, and PlayStation 4, the game, similar in style to “Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” quickly found a devoted fan base. In its first month, the free-to-play title which earns money through in-game purchases, made over $245 million. It has since brought in over $1 billion in revenue.

But the massively popular game is facing backlash over what many Twitter users have referred to as problematic features, including its adult characters engaging in romantic relationships with characters that appear to be minors and language that many said was racially insensitive.

On Monday evening, #BoycottGenshin trended on Twitter due to the criticism. Over 65,000 tweets used the hashtag in under 24 hours.

miHoYo, the game developer, did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Players are questioning the inspiration for ‘humanoid monster’ characters

Within the world of “Genshin Impact,” Hilichurls are some of the first enemies players face, with variants found all throughout the title. The game describes them as “primitive humanoid monsters,” and “that they are monsters simply incapable of communication.”

Critics are claiming, based on footage released by the studio, that the beastial characters could be based on indigenous peoples.

An October 2020 studio tour video released by miHoYo shows an animator creating the Hilichurls’ dance by watching footage of what appears to be an indigenous community dancing. The source of the footage was not immediately clear in the blurry video.

The clip went viral, reaching more than 600,000 views on Twitter in less than one day. One Twitter user whose tweet went viral said that as an “indigenous person,” the villainous characters appearing to take inspiration from a native culture “is absolutely not okay.”

The game’s depiction of characters with darker skin is facing backlash

“Genshin Impact” features 30 playable characters, most of whom are pale-skinned animé tropes. Xinyan and Kaeya are the only two currently available characters with darker skin tones.

Kaeya, an ice-wielding cavalry captain, is described as “exotic” in the game, while Xinyan, a musician with a penchant for flames, is considered “scary” in the lore of the game world, according to the game’s wikia page.

Many Twitter users using the “#BoycottGenshin” hashtag referenced these characters and their descriptions, accusing the game of colorism.

Other players, however, disagreed with the distinctions and said Xinyan, for example, is known for “fierce eyes and fashion.”

Some players criticized what they viewed as a relationship between an adult and a child

There are also claims that “Genshin Impact” included a relationship between an adult and a child. In the game, Ulfr, an adult character, says they want to build a “dandelion boat” for the childlike Flora character. The game does not specify Flora’s age, but she appears to be a minor.

“Genshin Impact” is also criticized for the money it rakes in as a gacha game, which allows it to raise capital by having users spend real-world money for a chance at unlocking a powerful character within the world of the game. This system, referred to as “gambling” by some players on Twitter, leads to people paying hundreds of dollars without unlocking the characters that they are looking for.

Though the hashtag has plenty of people upset at the title, there are also a fair amount of users who believe that this criticism is unfounded or unnecessary, and urged players to instead focus on the game’s other issues, like the game’s lack of two-factor authentication, which would help protect accounts.

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