Last week, “The Kingdom of Two: Crossing the World” (hereinafter referred to as the Kingdom of Two) swept the lists of Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.
On the first day of its launch, the “Ni no Kuni” jointly developed by Level-5 and Netmarble reached the top of the App Store free list in the 5 “Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan” regions. It topped the rankings in some regions for 7-8 days, and also ranked Top 10 bestseller list.
The most eye-catching thing is that “Ni no Kuni” has overwhelmed several head products of “Paradise M” and “V4”, and has dominated the best-selling list in South Korea for nearly a week. And NCSOFT’s “Paradise M” rarely fell out of the TOP5 position within 3 years of its launch.
The key to the success of “Ni no Kuni” is “packaging.” The bottom of the game has a strong taste of Korean MMO, which can’t be described by routines. However, “Ni no Kuni” has spent a lot of effort on packaging. The game relies on Ghibli’s very stylized audio-visual experience to bring amazing explosive power to the underlying design of the routine.
01. Ghibli smell overflowing the screen
The most iconic feature of “Ni no Kuni” is Hayao Miyazaki’s style of painting. This Ghibli art style is so fresh that it makes the game seem quite unique in the greasy realistic style of European and American magical winds.
In order to highlight this sense of freshness, “Ni no Kuni” spared no effort to embed Ghibli elements in every corner of the game, and even invited Hayao Miyazaki’s old partner-Hisaishi Joe-to take charge of the game’s soundtrack. Regardless of sight or hearing, there is a feeling of watching Hayao Miyazaki’s movies.
When the player first enters the game, the CG of the game’s entry is a hand-drawn 2D animation produced by Ghibli:
A major feature of “Ninokuni” IP is the conversion of Ghibli’s 2D hand-painted into a 3D art style.
For example, when selecting characters in the opening scene, you can see that this scene uses the mainstream three-rendered two-screen picture, but the house alone reveals a different flavor. The roof is a fusion of Western-style arches + Chinese-style tiles, red and yellow shade cloth that looks slightly rough, and some wildflowers dotted, you can recognize the strong Ghibli fantasy style design at a glance.
Of course, the strongest Ghibli flavor of “Ni no Kuni” is the character design. The operable characters are basically in line with this design: the character’s unique eyebrow structure, with a British-style clothing design, and a little swelling on the hands and legs.
You can even design all the characters in the game in a one-to-one correspondence with the characters that have appeared in Ghibli’s past works. The swordsman in the initial role is almost a re-enactment of the male protagonist of “Howl’s Moving Castle”.
You can also find these points in some subtle character designs. When the player meets with Grandpa Tree, the elves he recruits are similar to those in “Princess Mononoke”; and the cat guards that the player encounters in the royal city are similar to the animal anthropomorphic images commonly used by Ghibli. For similar.
The painting part of Ghibli’s swordsmanship makes “Ni no Kuni” extremely stylized, and the game relies on high-quality technical input to further highlight this style.
Compared with the traditional horizontal and vertical lens movement of celluloid, the 3D advantage of the game makes the shift of the lens more flexible.
For example, in the animation of Grandpa Tree summoning elves, the game can realize the mirror movement mode of moving forward and backward by +360°. A large number of elves appeared from the woods and poured in from all directions. This is a lively atmosphere common in Ghibli animations, but 3D technology has added a sense of scale to this movie.
The most interesting thing is that this JRPG’s unique cinematic sense also makes the somewhat clichéd “automatic operation”, instead forming a viewing space for players, subtly amplifying the audio-visual experience brought by the Ghibli style.
02. Traditional Korean MMO under exquisite packaging
In contrast to the exquisite painting style, the player reviews of “Ni no Kuni” can be described as polarized.
In the community exchanges, many players said that the screens of “Ni no Kuni” were as exquisite as celluloid animations, and they couldn’t help but explore everywhere. However, the bottom layer of “Ni no Kuni” is a design that weakens the player’s independent exploration. The player’s operation is simplified to simple click interaction, and the pathfinding and battle are all handed over to the automatic operation, which is completed with one click. Most of the time, the players watched the character ding and tossing around.
Obviously, the bottom layer of “Ni no Kuni” basically copied the gameplay design of the traditional Korean MMO. All exploration combat operations are reduced, and the entire game framework makes way for the character’s numerical training.
Various levels will use the intensity value to block the player’s plot advancement, and the payment window that pops up from time to time will remind the player to become stronger by recharging. After incorporating the strong narrative of JRPG, the player’s curiosity for the next plot has further intensified the player’s desire to improve the character’s ability.
The advantages and disadvantages of “stylized + Korean MMO” make the performance of “Ni no Kuni” a bit subtle in various places.
Korean players are very familiar with this design. After years of training on heavy MMO products, users in the Korean market have become accustomed to the deep MMO payment system. Compared with users in other markets, they are more likely to get started with the underlying framework of “Nei no Kuni” and naturally generate inertial payment.
And “Ni no Kuni” has provided enough reasons to pay for Korean players. In a horizontal comparison, the IP content and JRPG plot mode of “Nine Kingdoms” are brand-new content styles in the Korean market. This gives Korean users who have been immersed in European and American realism themes to have a great sense of freshness. With inertial payment, players are willing to pay for this completely different audio-visual experience.
“Ninno Kuni” uses packaging to bring freshness to players, while its underlying design ensures the bottom line of Korean players’ payment. In essence, this is the change that the Korean market’s internal products are seeking at the content level.
In contrast, this kind of commercial design with a strong Korean flavor has shown obvious dissatisfaction in Japan, Hong Kong, Macao and other regions. With the exception of Taiwan, “Ni no Kuni” briefly squeezed into the top list of best sellers, and then quickly fell back. The game has been hovering below Top 5 in Japan, while the best sellers in Macau fell out of Top 30.
From a long-term performance, the underlying logic of “Nine Kingdoms” determines that its genes are deep Korean products. In the future development, this product may have a stronger performance in the Korean market, while in other regions such as Japan, it may enter the mid-to-late stage of force decline after experiencing a high opening in the online stage.
However, from the performance of the comprehensive free list, the content packaging of “Ni no Kuni” is still successful.
03. Use stylized content to break through
“Ni no Kuni” follows a steady and steady breakthrough idea, and the scope it wants to break through is mainly the Korean domestic market.
Products in the Korean market are relatively concentrated in the mature “MMO system + deep payment” direction. In a sense, this kind of bottom-layer design that has been solidified for many years on the one hand has aggravated the situation that the mid-tail products are difficult to break through. On the other hand, it has confirmed that Korean manufacturers are accustomed to their areas of expertise and are rarely willing to try new directions.
The purpose of the breakout of “Two Kingdoms” is very clear. Whether it is the “Nin-Kuni” IP or the Ghibli art style of the product, both are changing the category themes of the Korean MMO in the past from the content level, and the JRPG strong narrative method attached to it is enhanced in disguise. The stimulus effect of the Korean MMO payment system. Strictly speaking, “Ni no Kuni” has further verified that this system still has considerable room for development in the Korean market.
However, its momentum to overpower heavy head products such as “Paradise M” may bring more research and development ideas for the future development of the Korean market.
Source: Game Grapes