Tech News

As expats fled China’s zero-COVID, this developer created a sci-fi game for NetEase • InNewCL

As expats fled China’s zero-COVID, this developer created a sci-fi game for NetEase • InNewCL

#expats #fled #Chinas #zeroCOVID #developer #created #scifi #game #NetEase #InNewCL Welcome to InNewCL, here is the new story we have for you today:

Click Me To View Restricted Videos

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, foreigners have left China in droves to escape the country’s strict “zero-COVID” restrictions, which had restricted people’s domestic and international travel for almost three years until the rules passed recently started to loosen. When NetEase, the second largest gaming company in China, said it had an expat-run studio that had been working on a game in Shanghai for the past three years, I was a bit surprised.

Led by Lead Producer Oscar Lopez and Creative Director Eve Jobse, Miaozi released its first title globally on Steam last Friday. Dubbed Cygnus Enterprise, the game is, in the studio’s own words, a “cross-genre single-player sci-fi game for PC that puts the player in charge of an outpost on an alien planet” and “switches between a small town-management and action -RPG gameplay.”

Both NetEase and its competitor Tencent have focused more on expanding overseas as regulatory moves hamper their domestic success. Aside from acquiring small Western studios, the two Chinese titans are recruiting international talent. Tencent’s most lucrative studio, TiMi, began operations in North America in early 2020, and its internal rival (the company is known for encouraging internal competition) Lightspeed similarly set up shop in LA this year. NetEase also opened its first US studio in Austin this May.

While the months-long lockdown in Shanghai this spring prompted many foreigners to leave China, Miaozi’s international staff stayed put and found the situation had little impact on their jobs.

“Luckily for us, it worked really well,” Lopez said in an interview with InNewCL. “We have not left China during the COVID times. China was a really safe environment and we basically focused on our development. The company and our team had all the infrastructure needed to develop from home should the need arise at some point.”

“You can progress anywhere in the world,” he continued. “It is better, of course, if you stand face to face; It is always easier to engage in communication and solve problems. But the truth is that [the pandemic] didn’t affect us much.”

The naming of the studio speaks for the team’s affinity with China. Miaozi is short for the sound of cats, “meow,” and “baozi,” a type of soft, fluffy stuffed bun common in China — two things the team of 50 employees love.

“There’s a FamilyMart supermarket downstairs around the office, and what people often get for lunch is these baozi, and everyone loves these baozi,” Jobse lovingly explained the everyday life familiar to those who have worked in Shanghai. “But they also love cats. There are a lot of street cats outside that people pet and feed.”

“We wanted to have something that would be cross-cultural and loved by everyone, and something that Chinese people and the rest of the team would understand,” Jobse added.

In developing the game, the creative director drew inspiration from Chinese sci-fi, which generally conveys a more uplifting message than its Western counterparts – the government has been more likely to promote “positive energy” in news, art and culture than cynical, negative feelings in recent times years.

“We were able to create a sci-fi game that’s both innovative and positive,” Jobse noted. “Sci-fi IP right now is very, very focused on the negative and the dangers of outer space or the dangers of extraterrestrial creatures.”

She went on to point to the influence of The Wandering Earth, a Chinese sci-fi blockbuster loosely based on a short story by Liu Cixin, author of The Three-Body Problem.

“Those are actually quite a lot of inspiring little details [we] could take. For example, The Wandering Earth really has this whole collaborative and collaborative spirit [to] to overcome this obstacle… Even if they come from different cultures or backgrounds, they want to work together to achieve a common goal.”

As in many other industries, the development of the Chinese gaming sector is shaped by foreign investment and partnerships. International gaming publishers coveted China’s fast-growing internet population, and Chinese gaming companies were eager to learn from their more established Western counterparts. NetEase itself has a long history of working with foreign publishers – last month its 14-year license deal with Blizzard Activision to power its games in China ended.

Cutthroat competition in the Chinese market has spawned a generation of internet companies that focus on short-term profits rather than long-term innovation. It’s a delicate balance. Lopez credited his team with a high degree of creative freedom as long as certain expectations are met. “In our studio, where we produce games, we are goal-oriented. We’re supposed to produce a game on time and on budget. Within these limits lies our freedom,” he said.

Click Here To Continue Reading From Source

Related Articles

Back to top button