Genshin Impact is an open world Chinese-developed RPG for PS4 that was announced at E3 2019. The first gameplay footage was shown off during the China Joy gaming expo recently, and some gamers are not happy.
Why? Because Genshin Impact is ripping off The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, apparently. You can check out the gameplay trailer below to judge for yourself. Personally, I just think the two games look similar visually, but there are plenty of people who disagree.
Fans are describing Genshin Impact as a “shameless ripoff” of Breath of the Wild because of the art style, cooking mechanics, climbing, world layout, and dungeons. Now, I’m a massive fan of The Legend of Zelda, so if developer miHoYo has been inspired by 2017’s Game of the Year, fair enough.
Sadly, some of the more… hardcore fans in attendance at China Joy don’t seem to think that Genshin Impact has done enough to distance itself from Zelda, and they’re furious. CCN reports that one man took his PS4 to the expo and smashed it on the ground in protest, which is a completely normal way to react, obviously.
Unfortunately, while the console smasher’s goal was clearly to dissuade Sony from promoting its Zelda clone any further, it seems to have had the opposite effect.
Multiple YouTube users have since commented on the Genshin Impact gameplay trailer, noting that the game is only their radar because of the recent controversy, but they like the look of it and are grateful it’s been brought to their attention.
When Mihoyo unveiled Genshin Impact for PS4, many noted the game was inspired by BOTW.
Some fans of BOTW are upset that Sony is promoting this game because of the similarities + they think it’s shameless of Sony.
This man smashed his PS4 at ChinaJoy in protest. pic.twitter.com/jwJqwREgaz
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) August 3, 2019
The chap who smashed his PS4 wasn’t the only protester, though others chose to show their disdain for the game in a slightly less destructive manner. Instead of destroying their consoles, the other protesters simply visited the Genshin booth and held up their Nintendo Switch consoles and/or flipped the bird in the general direction of the booth.
As Daniel Ahmad pointed out on Twitter, the majority of the criticism aimed towards Genshin Impact seems to be coming from China, while the majority of Western gamers don’t have much an issue with the inspirations the developer has taken from Zelda.
It’s unclear exactly why this might be the case, though it’s been suggested by some that the protesters are less angry at the fact that Genshin has copied Zelda specifically, and more that Sony is promoting such a controversial game that (the fans believe) will only further China’s reputation as a “copycat country.”
Seems he wasn't the only one protesting.
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) August 4, 2019
One user on Twitter claimed that the man who smashed his PS4 isn’t particularly a Zelda fan, but is a massive Sony fan. He destroyed his console, the user claims, but he feels Sony is ruining any chance the Chinese game industry has to become more globalised.
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Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.