Who would have thought that a horse racing + girly two-dimensional game would become the new best-selling king in Japan

Almost 5 years have passed since the anthropomorphic two-dimensional craze, and now there is another explosion.

Nearly less than a week after Neil’s mobile game hit, Cygames “Pretty Derby” (hereinafter referred to as “The Horse Girl”) became the second hottest item in the Japanese mobile game market.

After the game went live, it quickly occupied the top of the Japanese App Store best-selling list, the free list, and won the top-selling result of Google Play.

Official push celebrates double-ended summit

“The Horse Racing Niang” has attracted the attention of players and the market before it was launched.

Cygames launched the pre-heated TV of the mobile game “The Horse Racing Girl” in 2018, but the mobile game has been continuously postponed due to technical problems. The second season of animation started in January this year, and the number of pre-registrations quickly rose to 600,000 after the game opened for reservations, which is already the top product in the Japanese market.

Even in a country where there is no horse racing culture, players who are fanned by animation circles have become per capita horse experts while waiting for mobile games. They continue to dig deep into the race records left by each horse race, match the racial spectrum, and study the story behind each horse race girl.

“Special Week’s Mother”
Contribution of B station UP main @hyq78

After 2016, five years have passed since the wave of personification. The two-dimensional players at home and abroad who had experienced many battles with Nianghua’s works, they were still defeated when faced with a more subdivided Nianghua-themed new work “The Horse Niang”, and even a group of horse racing maidens who studied the party was born. . How exactly does Cygames deal with the theme of horse racing to make players so enthusiastic?

Enlarge the empathy point of the character from the gameplay

Before and behind the scenes of horse racing, one is the betting competition of the horse races under the gaze of the spectators, and the other is that the famous horses, under the careful training of the trainers, are invested in each arena to win the championship. Either way, this is a resultant theme that emphasizes the character’s victory.

According to the traditional two-dimensional game thinking, similar anthropomorphic themes are usually biased toward card-based gameplay, using a long-term cycle design between roles and resources. Traditional card development is the idea of ​​horizontal collection of heavy card pools and lengthening the character development line.

However, “Horse Racing Niang” chose to focus on character development, supplemented by the design of long-term card growth. To this end, the game uses a relatively rare fusion gameplay in the two-dimensional theme: simulation management + Roguelite + card development.

Under the simulation management gameplay of “The Horse Racing Niang”, the player can only choose one horse racing mother during the 30-90 minute development process of a single game. Through reasonable planning, the basic attributes of the horse racing mother can be improved to ensure that she is in the best mood. State, impact all stages of the big and small competitions.

Once the horse racing mother has not completed the required ranking or cannot participate in the competition, the game will be ended in the form of the horse racing mother graduated.

Looking at the core gameplay of the horse racing girl, its essence is similar to the Cairo-based simulation business game: under certain restricted conditions, the internal values ​​are planned to cope with the pressure given by the external environment.

The simulated business gameplay makes good use of the strategic development process and restores the cooperative relationship between the trainer and the horse race in the theme of horse racing, rather than the dependency relationship in the traditional card game.

Secondly, the 1v1 development process will allow the horse racing girl to have coherent emotional changes directly transmitted to the player. At the beginning of the game, players will pay attention to the subtle performance of the horse racers in the interaction process based on the utilitarian purpose of preparing for the game. With the advancement of the plot and big and small events, the emotional changes of the characters on different occasions and time nodes have established a game experience similar to Galgame for players.

For example, when the horse racing girl Miyu is not favored by anyone, she keeps training hard only for her own ideas, and finally wins consecutive championships. But because they ended the other two hottest championship records, they were booed by the audience.

Miyu is a girl who looks very cowardly and often cries out in fear, but she is still able to stand up amidst the boos of others despising her own hard work, and tears in her eyes in the personal Live of the game. Smiling and singing “I hope to illuminate others like you, so I won’t cry easily.”

Live with tears in the eyes after the rice bath competition

This horse racing, which is unknown in the game’s initial setting and is disgusted by horse betting fans in reality, can show the compelling charm of the character in the 1v1 simulation operation, which stems from the character’s highly concentrated information exposure in a short time. .

The flower on the brim of the rice bath hat is a commemorative preparation for the prototype horse to retire.
Unexpectedly, Miyu died in an accident in that event

So in essence, “Horse Racing” has the same content appeal as the two-dimensional card development game that emphasizes the role and plot.

However, the method of “Horse Racing Niang” allows players to focus on a single character in a game, which is easier to induce empathy than traditional design ideas, and increase the player’s psychology of identification with the character. At the same time, the rich plot of each character can also solve the problem of the lack of reasons for the unpopular characters in card games.

However, simulation management emphasizes the single game experience, which is in contradiction with the multi-role emphasized by the horse racing theme. To this end, “Horse Racing” uses the design ideas developed by Roguelite+ cards, and uses the “inheritance” among the horse racing girls to try to connect the training games of each horse racing girl.

When a horse racing girl graduates and settles, the accumulated growth value of the character will not be saved, but will become a “famous horse record” according to the focus of the development route. When the player opens the next game, the new horse racer can inherit the record, and gain a focused numerical bonus on the basic values ​​and character skills, alleviating the lower limit of the development of the new character in the early and mid-term.

In addition, the competition goals set by the game will be difficult to achieve at one time in the early stage. Players need to accumulate the resources of each game to increase the level of out-of-game character cards and auxiliary cards, and then raise the upper limit of the training of the next horse race.

Factor inheritance & competition goals

This design idea of ​​using the sense of inheritance between horse racing girls to connect in series is actually similar to the method of explaining the cycle of death in “Hades”. From the user’s point of view, the player will reduce the frustration of failing to achieve the goal because of the sense of inheritance, and have increasing expectations for the next horse racer to inherit, and achieve the ultimate goal of winning the championship by accumulating the training results.

Hades uses death to resurrect in series, and guides players to gradually grow

So overall, the three gameplay modules (simulation management + Roguelite + card development) of “The Horse Racing Girl” form a short-term single-role emotional focus and long-term numerically increasing game experience.

The main purpose is to amplify the player’s information perception of the character, inspire the player to extract cards with more character plots, and obtain more character & plot information.

This more customized simulation development gameplay was dug out in 2018 by “Idol Master SC” based on the theme of idol development, and Cygames’ application of this set of content incorporates more of the company’s products. The system appears to be more mature.

This design idea emphasizes the path of development + result presentation in idol themes. The theme of horse racing is limited by the form of the competition. It also requires a similar process to restore the real themes. Perhaps Cygames is just looking at its characteristics similar to idol development. .

The horse racing girl is idolized, not simply personified

Practitioners in China may think that “The Horse Racing Niang” is an unpopular theme made into a hit, but it is not.

According to the data reported by the mainland horse racing network, there are 14 local governments in Japan holding more than 15,000 horse races in 17 racecourses each year, and the total number of days for holding races throughout the year exceeds 1,400 days.

With the exception of Hokkaido, Japan, which will be closed due to heavy snow, horse races are held in other regions throughout the year. Hokkaido also specializes in the local horse farming horse race. The popularity of the Japanese horse racing industry is evident.

Since the “Horse Racing Act” of 1923, Japan has spent nearly 70 years continuously improving its local horse racing breeds and racing system, and finally became a world-class horse racing country in the 1990s, leading European and American countries. Today, Japan is the region with the highest prize money in the flat racing system in the world. Many of the prototypes of horse racing are taken from the legendary horses who reversed the pattern of horse racing in Japan in the 1990s.

The 1998 Kyoto Shimbun Cup GII Special Week match scenes

So starting from the design of the bottom-level gameplay, “Horse Racing Niang” is a household theme in the face of this national-level race, and it is not simply a matter of personifying horse racing. From the perspective of the packaging of the theme, the game has found a good balance between the roots of the theme and the re-creation of idolization.

1. Discover the empathy of the subject matter

It is reported that Cygames purchased the copyright of each race name from the owners of the famous horse for the IP project. It is rumored that the game will be postponed for up to 3 years, partly because the time spent on copyright and content supervision is more complicated than the project team imagined.

Since the horse racing ladies appearing are famous horses with a large number of fans, the content of each character will be supervised by their respective horse owners to ensure the credibility and authenticity of the character core.


For example, during the “Special Week”, the horse racing girl often mentioned her mother in Ridaka Ocean Ranch during the interaction with the players. She often wanted to share this joy with her mother after winning the game. When the character took a break, she would also mention her mother to the player. She wrote the letter.

The mother of the opening special week will send a letter to hope that players will realize the dream of the special week, and the special week will also be proud of the mother

The game deliberately shows Te Zhou’s relationship with his mother, because in reality, Te Zhou’s mother suffered from abdominal colic when she was pregnant with him, gave birth when the pain was unbearable, and licked the child with all her strength. Five days later, his mother died of illness.


When the horse racer participated in the Derby race for the first time in the special week, he specially reported to the mother of the special week in front of the horse head Guanyin: “Today, your son is going to participate in the Derby race.”

In Japan, horse owners and horses have always maintained a good relationship, and because of the experience of fighting side by side with horse owners and riders, horse racing has almost family-like closeness. When a horse died unexpectedly, many horse owners would follow the etiquette system of their family members, and do things specifically for the horse.

The farmhouse of the anime “Silver Key” organized a funeral for horse racing

This makes the content of many characters supervised by the horse owner in the game, not as simple as evidenced, but being sent to the owner’s memories and longings for the famous horse. It can be seen that “The Horse Race” has the details of the plot of the special week mother and other details, and it has made up for the regrets of the reality and made the plot work hard to develop towards the perfect ending that the horse owner and fans expect.

Silent Suzuka, who was euthanized in reality, survived the plot. Thanks for everyone’s push

B station UP master@果厨果厨果厨Video screenshot

The game is based on the content of the real emotions of the parties, so that the characters of the horse racing women can present a more comprehensive and natural emotional expression, and form the key core of constructing the respective plots of the horse racing women.

This is why “Horse Racing Niang” does not have the deliberate sense of female characters in the mainstream two-dimensional game to please the players. Horse racing girls have their own independent backgrounds and emotions. The knots caused by these backgrounds do not depend on the players to untie them. The roles and players have a gentle but enthusiastic partnership.

Independent emotion

Many players have turned into the horse racing party because they wanted to learn more about the past of horse racing after being touched by their emotions. The horse racing girls in the game have their own stories. The more the players understand, the more they can resonate with the horse racing mother.

2. The match between horse racing culture and idol culture

After having the core foundation of true feelings, what is more important is how to tell the content. “The Horse Racing Girl” chooses to use idolization to package the horse racing theme and express the horse racing culture with a growth idol route.

The two-dimensional idol culture in Japan has a large user audience, and idolization firstly allows the commercialization ability of IP to have a higher lower limit. For this reason, “The Horse Racing Girl” has made two transformations on the theme of horse racing, and promoted the transformation of the game to an idolized theme with strong cultivation attributes.

The first is the transformation of perspective: the general public perception of traditional horse racing is mainly focused on the result of the competition, and horse racing is a subject that emphasizes the result. The game first transforms the stereotyped viewing perspective into the training perspective of the trainer. Therefore, the content focus has changed from a node-style game result to a continuous development process.

The second is experience transformation: as the content changes to development, the horse racing competition that emphasizes results has thus transformed into a game goal that verifies the development process of players, and large and small events form a staged emotional explosion in the game experience.

Based on the change of perspective and experience, the emotional events between famous horses and riders, horse owners, and fans in the past horse racing theme can be extracted and processed into Japanese idols full of front and back stories.

For example, Silent Suzuka missed the championship because of a sudden fracture in the 1998 Emperor’s Award. Afterwards, rider Wu Feng recalled that in order to protect him after the fracture, Silent Suzuka endured the severe pain and reduced his speed. After ensuring the safety of the rider, Silent Suzuka still wanted to return to the stadium alone.

Suzuka still wanted to run forward, the rider recalled afterwards
“At that time, it would be nice if Suzuka finished the last few hundred meters.”

The overlap of the subject matter characteristics makes the two have a good fit. The silent attributes of the horse racing itself, when presented in a lively and expressive way by idols, can better convey to the players their nervous, unwilling, and happy mood before and after the game.

Silent Suzuka’s Live

At the same time, through the fusion of two competitive and hard-working themes, “The Horse Racing Girl” conveys the game theme of “Running Faster Than Anyone” through the MV of the protagonist of the game. This also provides a general direction for the subsequent content production of the game.

Content built around the theme

The game has a gameplay that can amplify the player’s emotional resonance, a solid emotional foundation, and an idol channel to convey emotions. The next step is to integrate these elements into tangible game content.

1. “Growth + label” to build a character image

As mentioned above, based on the event restoration of the horse owner, each role of the horse racer has its own emotional core. The game has two main ways of character presentation around the core:

(1) The multi-dimensional display of the characters in the main storyline emphasizes the growth and changes of the characters;

(2) The rapid display of the role in the incidental incident of the auxiliary card, highlighting an important label of the role.

The main storyline takes the horse racing girl スーパークリーク as an example. She is a character who seems full of intellectual and full of maternal love. When she talks about the goal of the competition, she will say that as long as the trainer (player) can be happy; she is a little nervous before the game, but comforts the trainer “good boy, don’t be afraid~”; at night, she is busy weaving. Clothes and forget to rest.

But when she found out that she had a disease that affected her body’s functions, she began to pay attention to the gossip of passersby and became sensitive, fearing that she would not be able to fulfill the agreement with the trainer because of her poor health, and she kept falling into self-blame and low self-esteem. However, slowly accompanied by the trainer, she gradually regained her confidence and stood in the same position with the trainer and worked hard together.

From a comforting big sister to an inferiority girl who is afraid of becoming a burden

The twists and turns of スーパークリーク’s emotional changes have always been developed around the emotional core of “want to make important people happy”, and the emotional range supported by growth and changes has formed the thickness of her role.

In order to prevent players from over-focusing on a single horse racing girl, the random events brought by the game auxiliary card present the characters and stories of other horse racing women in the form of short stories, leaving the players with key labels for other characters.

Auxiliary cards that can improve skills and attributes in the game

Take the example of Mamasakafukukataru, Mamasaka is a cheerful and straightforward, but a little nervous girl. In the plot triggered by her auxiliary card, she wanted to have a great friendship, so she decided to take out a coin to ask the fox fairy. She was silly and begged for God to worship Buddha for a while scared the surrounding friends (yes , Ask the gods for friendship in front of friends).

Mikama found nothing from the Fox Fairy, and her friends were also puzzled by her behavior. After she ran a lap at the racetrack, she was sweating profusely and suddenly remembered that, in fact, she was the best friend with her.

“Master Fox, I hope my friendship will be lucky!” Mamasaka’s friends looked at her with complicated expressions and asked God

The shorter length of incidents can only use labelled narrative methods, but the label construction with the character core can prevent the character from being overly one-sided. With his outspoken and silly cheerfulness, and the delicate thoughts of his friends that he cares about in his heart, the two labels immediately set up the entire character image.

The sense of hierarchy brought by the main storyline to the horse racing girl will give players the progressive emotion to realize her dream of winning the championship in each training; while the lively characters established by occasional events will make players willing to try to cultivate more A racehorse she is not familiar with. The two continue to strengthen the theme of horse racing that wants to become faster, and at the same time give players the level of play, the driving force for the combination of short and long-term goals.

2. Lens with horse racing language

Also strengthening the theme of horse racing, there are also various performances of the characters in the game. The optimization of the game and the performance of the camera have a large investment of resources visible to the naked eye. Except for the 2D vertical drawing of the auxiliary card, most of the scenes are made by full 3D modeling.

Among them, the most impressive thing for players is that the game presents the horse racing scene in a real horse racing way.

The game simulates the live shooting of a real horse racing game, from the entry of the horse racer, the host’s commentary, to the tracking and shooting of the horse race by the two cameras, and is dedicated to restoring the tense atmosphere of the horse racing scene.

The commentary in the game and the commentary in the special week match are the same person

At the same time, the game combines the close-up mirroring of the two-dimensional animation, which emphasizes the expressiveness of a single character, and uses a strong close-up dynamic lens to show the running state of the horse racing and highlight the competitive emotion of the horse racing.

In addition, due to fluctuations in her state, the horse racing mother will make small movements such as wiping sweat, accelerating, and taking deep breaths in the game. When she is far ahead, she will occasionally glance at the opponent behind her. The combination of live images and personal emotional actions of the characters further amplifies the tension of the horse racing ladies during the competition.

The game scene with full lens tension

The MV for the concert held after the horse race is over, also designed the Live performance method based on the theme of horse racing.

Take the first MV “Make Debute” that can be unlocked as an example, the mirror movement of the performance adopts a switching rhythm similar to that of horse racing. The lens is mainly based on the performance effect of the entire horse racing girl, and the individual performance lens is given separately from time to time.

When the protagonist sings the lyrics of “I hope faster than anyone else”, the camera cuts directly into the protagonist’s first-person perspective and runs on the stage, allowing the player to understand their wishes and see them from the perspective of the horse racing girl The meaning of what you see on the field.

From the framework of the gameplay to the camera performance, “The Horse Racing Girl” has shown the Japanese factory’s skill in expressing the content of the second element, as well as the long-term accumulation of Cygames in idol games and story games.

The idea of ​​a magnifying glass

However, it must be pointed out that in order to maintain the long linearity of the game, players need to iterate and cultivate better horse racing girls.

The limited game plot makes players who consume faster content easily fall into a repetitive game experience quickly. At the same time, there are not many numerical variables in the simulation business part of the game, and once you touch the ceiling of the cultivation, it is difficult to have a fresh game experience.

Cairo solves this problem by using multi-themes and rapid development of short-level games. For the big production of “The Horse Racing Girl”, you need to wait for the game to update the follow-up content, and then look at Cygames’s handling of this.

In general, “The Horse Racing Girl” does not have 15 years of IP accumulation like the idol master. The content processing method of “The Horse Racing Girl” is actually more fast-food compared to the Idol Master series.

But the core of “Horse Racing Niang” is to know how to exhaust the resources to amplify the advantages of the theme, restore the national-level horse racing, but also present it in a younger way. This process is divided into “refinement” and “enlargement.” Two steps:

1. Refine the characteristics of the subject matter

“Horse Racing Niang” has made a core refinement of each role and horse racing theme from small to large.

First of all, the different character cores broaden the width of the game’s content. The game revolves around the core of the character, constructs a dramatic dynamic, labelled narrative, complements the blank story of the prototype horse, and builds the thickness of the character.

Secondly, the core theme of horse racing sets a unified goal for horse racing women with distinct personalities. The big theme makes the role emotions of the game and the player’s game goals not too divergent due to discrete content, but to develop in the direction of the horse racing competition, providing a unified standard for the game experience.

2. Enlarge core values

After determining the core, “The Horse Racing Girl” chose to amplify the emotional experience brought by the core in all directions.

The first is the bottom-level gameplay: the game chooses a single game that allows the player’s attention and focuses on the emotional changes of the horse racer, and uses a large framework of simulation management to restore the growth process of the horse racer to maximize the emotional substitution of the player and the character.

The second is the theme of idols: After the core refinement, the horse racing girl has a natural fit with the idol theme. The combination of the two broadens the emotional expression of the character on the one hand, and on the other hand, it also strengthens the core theme of the horse racing theme.

The third is performance: centering on the theme of horse racing, the game uses a lot of lens language with tension in the live and MV performances, and the combination of lens performance and character emotions further enlarges the sense of goal of horse racing.

Cygames has considerable confidence in the content adaptation of Jockey. In 2018, it launched multiple IP production lines such as mobile games, animation, comics, and peripherals at the same time, and cooperated with local jockey clubs to vigorously promote the planning of Jockey’s IP.

From a product point of view, “The Horse Racing Girl” can be said to be a collection of many features of Cygames’ past products and other products:

Synthetic Tree of “The Horse Racing Girl” on the Internet

However, setting aside the detailed gameplay design, the operation idea of ​​”The Horse Racing Girl” is based on the long-term content accumulation of the Japanese factory in the two-dimensional field, through skilled deconstruction, refinement, and amplification, to maximize the characteristics of the two-dimensional role-playing plot.

The project team’s handling of the subject matter is not just about restoring it or not, but after interpreting and compensating for the core of the subject matter, it then outputs a story that touches the subject audience and expresses what the audience likes.

This is also the key to “Horse Racing Girl” being able to make the product recognized by the Japanese market familiar with horse racing.

Source: Game Grapes
Original: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/yXZslnqMZJLYXOlb07fBHQ


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