‘Boycott Genshin Impact’ trends over game’s controversial characters

#BoycottGenshin is trending on Twitter, with players saying that they are going to boycott Genshin Impact due to it seemingly basing its villainous hilichurls on indigenous people.

The hashtag started trending in the early hours of this morning, after players pointed out that the game’s hilichurl species are at least in part based on indigenous people. Genshin Impact describes hilichurls as “primitive humanoid monsters” in its Adventurer Handbook, adding that they “are monsters simply incapable of communication.”

Why is boycott Genshin Impact trending?

A tour of developer MiHoYo’s offices in 2020 includes a moment where a designer is shown animating a hilichurl based on video footage of indigenous people. This can be seen at 1:30 in the below video:

While the video was published last year, the clip has now been widely shared across social media, with players speaking out against what they believe to be a racist portrayal of indigenous people via the fictional hilichurls.

https://twitter.com/despressoh/status/1379267201278996480

https://twitter.com/EM0GOJO/status/1379269870718701568

The use of indigenous people as a reference for hilichurls has also brought up a wider accusation of “whitewashing” in the game, the term used when media erases people of color in favor of only including white characters. Players have pointed out how NPCs from Sumeru, a region described as a “nation of desert and forests,” are white and that such a design decision “makes no sense.”

https://twitter.com/bootao_gaming/status/1379256753070673920

While #BoycottGenshin is unlikely to impact the game’s continued success, it does shine a light on the origin of the hilichurls. While game designers use many real-world points of reference when creating characters, MiHoYo directly using indigenous people as a template for the monsters is certainly enough to raise a few eyebrows

In other news, the Xbox Series X is expected to be back in stock this week. No Man’s Sky’s Expeditions update also recently launched and added more multiplayer exploits to the sandbox game.