During a special NetEase Games Talkshop taking place alongside GDC 2017, NetEase producer Jin Tao discussed how the Chinese publisher went about making its smash hit game Onmyoji.
The title has proven hugely popular in China and other countries around the world. After release in September 2016 it rapidly reached more than 10 million DAUs and has to date had more than 200 million downloads worldwide.
As well as being a top grossing game in China, it has also had success in Western countries such as the US, UK and Canada, despite not being localised for them.
Building an ecosystem
Tao put much of the game’s success down to the publisher’s design focus on bringing players closer to art, culture and emotion.
Players have quickly become attached to the title’s gameplay and story, creating what Tao claimed could be the largest fanbase in China’s mobile ecosystem.
Fan activity around the game includes writing novels, creating illustrations based on the Onmyoji world, cosplay, dancing and singing.
Tao admitted the response to the game took the team by surprise, and that the talent and creativity of its fans “was far beyond our expectations”.
Onmyoji continues to be a top grossing game in China, and NetEase hopes to replicate that success internationally, having just launched the game in Japan and with plans to bring the title to the West.