If you are a fan of MiHoYo’s Genshin Impact, you may have seen a swell in social media posts regarding a boycott of the game. The hashtag, #boycottgenshinimpact, has been trending on Twitter of late, and it is causing people to sit up and take notice. While the current state of things is confusing, the agreement is that this is generally due to the depiction of race and representation in the game.
The movement seems to have built momentum thanks to a particular video shared on Twitter. A short clip of a tour of MiHoYo’s offices in Shanghai showed an artist working on the enemies known as the hilichurls. That is not exactly a flashpoint. However, some in the community are expressing concern that reference material of indigenous Americans forms the basis for these foes.
Whether this is true or not, it has led to a growing call to boycott Genshin Impact. In the game’s world, the hilichurls are a humanoid species that are commonly found. They wear tribal clothes and perform customs that can be attributed accordingly. The Hilichurls are also considered evil, unintelligent, and uncultured. Genshin Impact is not the first video game to take inspiration from real life, but the growing concerns may point to a bigger issue that MiHoYo needs to address.
The boycott movement also extended to other parts of Genshin Impact. Xinyan and Kaeya, two characters in the game, are getting some attention as well. Both have darker skin compared to others, and have certain negative connotations.
Xinyan has an entire storyline that focuses on how scary she is to others. Some parts of the community also see Kaeya’s description as exotic to be a veiled insult. Then there is the issue of the NPC Ulfr, whose admittance of being in love with the character of Flora is making others uncomfortable.
The reason is simple, Flora is just a child. However, the Genshin Impact closed beta previously portrayed Flora as a fully grown woman. It would appear that MiHoYo may have overlooked certain dialogue in this case.
Although a boycott of Genshin Impact may be a drastic measure to take, it is clear that a certain part of the community wants to be heard. Genshin Impact is still a game in active development, so there could be changes and developments that could change things.
Moreover, different interpretations and the translation of the game may have produced issues that were previously not a problem. Naturally, resistance to the initial arguments has already been growing. A counter-movement against the dissenting voices has also begun building.
Having such discussions is not a bad thing, as long as things are kept civil and problem-focused. However, knowing the Internet, it is already too late. At the end of the day, players want MiHoYo to make a definite stand against any perceived race and representation issues. That is, if there is any to begin with. How the development team behind Genshin Impact will respond to the proposed boycott remains to be seen.