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"The Wandering Earth" IP recruits R&D team: you don't have to get kryptonite, independent games are also welcome

Game Grape 2024/06/19 20:24


In recent years, the two adaptations of "The Wandering Earth" have exploded, making this series a near-national sci-fi IP. And in the game industry, the adaptation of the novel "The Wandering Earth" has also been pushed to the forefront.

In 2020, Scatterblast Network obtained the genuine IP authorization of the original work, and then developed SLG "The Wandering Earth Mobile Game" for three years. The project will be officially exposed in January 2023, with more than one million PV views. In June of the same year, the game was approved for a version number, and many players were curious about what this mobile game would do.

Game Grape, "The Wandering Earth" IP recruits R&D team: you don't have to get kryptonite, independent games are also welcome

However, the subsequent development of the project does not seem to be promising, the test data is not up to expectations, and the team has undergone adjustments. By March of this year, there were even rumors that the project team had been disbanded. And what the real situation is, there is no accurate faith.

Recently, the adaptation of the game "The Wandering Earth" finally has a new dynamic: Hanhai Xingqiong, the publisher of the original "The Wandering Earth Mobile Game", has obtained the development rights of multiple games + multi-genre + multi-platform of the "Wandering Earth" IP. They released a recruitment PV to recruit game teams with development experience, understanding and love for "The Wandering Earth" from all over the world.

Behind this dynamic, what kind of experience do they have, and what do they think of the subsequent adaptation of "The Wandering Earth"? In the conversation, he explained the trends of previous projects, and also described their requirements and attitudes towards the recruitment team more clearly.

Game Grape, "The Wandering Earth" IP recruits R&D team: you don't have to get kryptonite, independent games are also welcome

Black bubbles

Here's a tweaked conversation:


"The Wandering Earth" why

So hard to make a game?

Grape Jun: Regarding the previous "The Wandering Earth Mobile Game", what will you do next? There have been many rumors of the dissolution of the project.

Black Bubble: The game went through some testing, but it really didn't meet expectations. The reason for this is not that the scattering explosion has not been done well. As far as I know, its R&D cost is close to 200 million, and Yuzhong does not have the freedom to use a particularly hard assessment to card the project, but has been giving opportunities.

Now, this project will not be directly shut down, because we have invested a lot of resources and energy before, and we still hope to explore how to make it better integrated with "The Wandering Earth".

At the same time, based on the decision in the general direction, Scatterburst handed over the IP development rights of "The Wandering Earth" to us. In other words, we have changed from the product publisher in the past to the developer of the IP gamification of "The Wandering Earth". This year, our focus is on finding the right developers.

Game Grape, "The Wandering Earth" IP recruits R&D team: you don't have to get kryptonite, independent games are also welcome

Grape: From your point of view, why is this IP so difficult to adapt?

Black Bubble: One of the biggest problems is that the degree of IP industrialization in China is relatively lagging behind, and it is difficult to directly adapt it from literary works.

Suppose we want to make a Naruto IP product authorized by Bandai, Bandai will give you a very standard adaptation manual, art assets, such as three views of Ninja, basic description, etc. As a producer, you don't have as much to think about.

But what about "The Three-Body Problem" and "The Wandering Earth"? As literary works in their own right, they are not suitable for gamification of stories. Like "The Three-Body Problem", there is a trilogy, and many of the content settings have been written in detail, so it can't be greatly changed, and if it is changed, it will not be restored; But you have to restore - for example, to do the scene of the Nano Flying Blade chopping the ship in the Guzheng Project, the production cost is far beyond the current standard.

A previous version of the "Three-Body Problem" movie had a similar problem. Originally, its budget was 200 million yuan to shoot the first part, but after Liu Cixin won the Hugo Award, the audience's expectations for it rose to 200 million US dollars, resulting in the project not being filmed at all.

Grape Jun: Then how did "The Wandering Earth" come out?

Black Bubble: "The Wandering Earth" is also facing a similar situation, but director Guo Fan's approach is to construct a 100,000-word movie worldview setting from zero to one, which is a high degree of recreation based on the original setting, which is presented in detail in the filmmaker's notes.

Going back to the game setting, it's the same thing. It is certainly not appropriate to quote the novel directly, because the conflict in the novel is not strong, and it is more in the grand context, through the slicing of personal life course to record this era, which is difficult to change.

Many people will think that the gamification of this IP is either to change the skin, or to customize a game according to our demands. According to this line of thinking, it must be on the basis that we have a full understanding of IP and already know how to adapt it. But it is precisely after experiencing the failure of "The Wandering Earth Mobile Game" that I feel that no one can make this board before the emergence of "craftsmen" in the game industry.

Game Grape, "The Wandering Earth" IP recruits R&D team: you don't have to get kryptonite, independent games are also welcome

Grape-kun: Is it really that hard?

Black Bubble: In terms of creation, the pressure of game adaptation is the same as that of a movie, or even higher. Sci-fi IP is as strong as Star Wars - although many series are of high quality and sell well now, around 2007, when a game called Star Wars 1313 was stillborn, it was probably one of the biggest disasters in the entire history of gaming. I think the success of this IP's game product is also due to the precipitation of so many failures in the past.

Grape Jun: The pressure is so great and the adaptation is so difficult, can you still find someone to do it?

Black Bubble: There is pressure, but I think there are two sides to this pressure. Generally speaking, the producer is the one who serves the IP, but why do people like the film and his creative team so much? Because they are the leaders and creators, they will naturally have such an aura.

And it's the same for game producers – the pressure is there, but the opportunities are unprecedented. The original novel won the Galaxy Award, the highest award for Chinese science fiction, and the author Da Liu is the "master" of Chinese science fiction. The two film adaptations are the highest-grossing series in Chinese film history, and there will be a third one in the future. Whether in terms of word-of-mouth, influence or continuous popularity, the Wandering Earth IP is a unique existence.

Game Grape, "The Wandering Earth" IP recruits R&D team: you don't have to get kryptonite, independent games are also welcome

If such an IP can be adapted into a successful game work, it will be very positive in terms of industry reputation and economic interests. Of course, I think that for craftsmen, perhaps the greater gain is the courage to be at the top and the pleasure of seeing the mountains.


Science fiction is hard to do,

But the possibilities are endless

Grape: That's why you're making a formal invitation like this, and you want to recruit people from all over the world?

Black Bubble: Yes. If we just send a circle of friends or posters to inform everyone, we may not be able to present a lot of content, but it will let the real audience see that you don't understand IP and science fiction. In fact, after several years of research, we have been able to communicate with people in the science fiction circle, and the reason why we did this recruitment is to find like-minded people who share our interests and make products that everyone is satisfied with, so we have the Pilot Program.

Grape King: Why is it called the Pilot Program?

Black Bubble: In the movie "The Wandering Earth", Project Tinder is a plan of the United Government (UEG) in the movie "The Wandering Earth". The main body of the plan is to keep 300,000 human fertilized eggs and the database necessary for human civilization in the "Navigator" space station, as a continuation of human civilization when the earth is destroyed.

The setting of this plan itself has a sense of foresight, exploration and leadership. So I've been thinking that our game producers should also be a kind of "navigator", and we pay tribute to the creation of the movie The Wandering Earth.

Grape-kun: It seems that your recruitment PV hides a lot of details, can you tell us about it?

Black Bubble: First of all, you will find that the art style of the whole film is quite unique. At present, we are in the second golden age of Chinese science fiction, and the expression of the style of this era in art has two typical elements in China - one is the style of the "Wandering Earth" movie, and the other is the style of "Interstellar", "Star Wars" and other movies, but we may not be able to make it in a few months.

So we chose to push back in time and go back to the first golden age of Chinese science fiction, the 80s, which was when Liu Cixin was enlightened. Director Tong Wenzheng made China's first science fiction film, called "Death Light on Coral Island". Science fiction at that time had a typical Soviet style, much like Soviet watercolor illustration. Because the talent training and teaching system at that time was influenced by the Soviet Union, the art style was naturally similar. But after the disappearance of the Soviet Union, this style became Chinese in the context of the Internet.

Game Grape, "The Wandering Earth" IP recruits R&D team: you don't have to get kryptonite, independent games are also welcome

"The night before dawn is the hardest."

This sentence is a sentence that Zhou Zhezhi said to his female assistant in "The Wandering Earth 2". Because there are many people in the film who are questioning the Wandering Earth project, especially after the space crisis, everyone doesn't believe that this thing can succeed. It wasn't until later after the lunar test shifted that humans discovered that it could do so. The same is true for IP adaptations.

Game Grape, "The Wandering Earth" IP recruits R&D team: you don't have to get kryptonite, independent games are also welcome

"This is an adventure, this is an adventure that can only move forward, not backward, this is an adventure that only succeeds, not fails."

This sentence is a metaphor for the Navigator program and what game producers will do in the future. This is both an adventure in the story and an adventure for the creator. Your creations are like wandering earth, you can only move forward, not backward.

Game Grape, "The Wandering Earth" IP recruits R&D team: you don't have to get kryptonite, independent games are also welcome

Game Grape, "The Wandering Earth" IP recruits R&D team: you don't have to get kryptonite, independent games are also welcome

Click on the image to enlarge it

"We have been in the corner of literature, let the germ of science fiction break through the ground; We have been in the corner of literature, allowing the sprout of science fiction to break through the ground; We have also been in the interplay of light and shadow, so that the imaginary spirit breaks out of the cage. Let's explore Chinese science fiction. We always believe that we will see the blue sky again, and the flowers will hang on the branches. ”

Here is the most important part of the whole PV. The IP of "The Wandering Earth" has gone through the exploration process from literature to film and television, and then from literature to games, and there are many tribulations in the process.

Game Grape, "The Wandering Earth" IP recruits R&D team: you don't have to get kryptonite, independent games are also welcome

For example, there was a small episode that almost made "The Wandering Earth" stillborn: in the 90s, Da Liu wanted to go to Chengdu to participate in the exchange meeting held by "Science Fiction World", and the editorial department hoped that writers would bring new works to communicate, so Da Liu created "The Wandering Earth" for this purpose. His original imagination was high enough to see the curvature of the horizon. This is in line with his vision of the Earth Engine. As a result, he got on the plane for the first time, looked out the window, and found that he couldn't see it when he flew so high, so he felt that it was unrealistic, or he would have not published "The Wandering Earth".

Later, the editor said to him, your story is very complete, and science fiction is not scientific research, why do you care so much about rationality? There is no need to scrap the manuscript. After Da Liu was persuaded, he published "The Wandering Earth" as originally planned, won the grand prize of the Galaxy Award that year, and also reached the peak of creation in those years.

Game Grape, "The Wandering Earth" IP recruits R&D team: you don't have to get kryptonite, independent games are also welcome

China's science fiction literature itself has also experienced a considerable blow, and its development has come to a standstill; Not to mention science fiction movies, many interviews will tell that the director is short of money and doesn't know what to do...... Some have almost pulled in the country's special effects companies to do things, but there are still no highly mature works, until "The Wandering Earth" became China's first successful commercial science fiction film.

So from literature to film and television, to games, I think this is the same as the torch relay, which is a kind of inheritance. Literature and cinema have had their share of difficulties, but they have both blossomed. So now, once the baton is in the realm of gaming, what will it do?

In the screen that expresses the game, we use AIGC technology. Because at that time, we were thinking, what should the game be described in terms of graphics? It doesn't seem like anything fits, because what we use makes people feel like we want to customize that kind of game. So we used a lot of different graphics to present the possibilities, it could be 2D/3D, it could be VR, it could be RPG or all kinds of genres, and it could even be all kinds of different platforms......

Game Grape, "The Wandering Earth" IP recruits R&D team: you don't have to get kryptonite, independent games are also welcome

Game Grape, "The Wandering Earth" IP recruits R&D team: you don't have to get kryptonite, independent games are also welcome

Game Grape, "The Wandering Earth" IP recruits R&D team: you don't have to get kryptonite, independent games are also welcome

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Grape: But it has to be particularly profitable?

Black Bubble: Of course, we hope that it can have a certain commercial scale, but more importantly, it is applauded, and it is sustainable development, not a wave, which is the consensus of everyone within us. If you really want to pursue a wave, can't you just sell the IP?


There is genuine understanding and respect,

to make good things

Grape-kun: So what exactly do you want to do?

Black Bubble: This is the most important message we want to express: in terms of the company's development rights, we not only have the development rights of one game, but the development rights of multiple games + multiple genres + multiple platforms. The essence of what we do is that we hope to have products that meet the expectations of users.

We would like to express an attitude: skinning and customization may be reasonable in terms of real business models, but in the standpoint of real Chinese sci-fi games, it may not be the optimal solution. So in this picture, games of various genres and platforms have appeared, but our original intention is to hope that you have enough understanding and love for "The Wandering Earth" and science fiction.

Game Grape, "The Wandering Earth" IP recruits R&D team: you don't have to get kryptonite, independent games are also welcome

Grape: How can we have enough understanding and love?

Black Bubble: For example, if we want to make a game around the dungeon in the story, its economic system, circulation system, industrial system, entertainment system, living quarters, ...... These contents are not covered in the novel. But does it have room to create? Yes. This part of the creation may not only rely on one or two people, and the knowledge in it has involved various disciplines and is very complex. But if you want to meet the expectations of users, you have to think deeply and let users understand your sincerity and ideas.

Do you think it's interesting to make a pet system and raise a dog, can you do it? Maybe. But in the dungeon, will dogs be a scarce resource? What is the trade-off between this kind of problem? Director Guo once mentioned similar concerns: he felt that the understanding of the first part of the movie "The Wandering Earth" was relatively shallow, and the dungeons in it were even wrong. Because he thought about it later, in that apocalyptic state, the dungeon should be like a bomb shelter, not a glittering appearance.

Of course, this is just one of his understandings. In all understandings, what we pursue is not absolute science and rigor, but after in-depth thinking, we can be self-justifying, just like the laws of the dark forest can not be verified, but when you watch it, you just don't feel like a play.

Grape: If there really is a team that wants to play such a dungeon game, how do you test their thinking? For example, do you want a complete plan or a demo?

Black Bubble: Think about it from another perspective, it's actually not reasonable to ask for a demo when you come up, isn't this an empty glove white wolf? Asking someone to make a demo for me right away is actually consuming other people's love. Therefore, we only need the creator to provide a presentation of the idea, such as a plan. On the basis of recognition, we will work together to find a way to make it, which is called empowerment.

Game Grape, "The Wandering Earth" IP recruits R&D team: you don't have to get kryptonite, independent games are also welcome

Grape Jun: Is there a strict standard for this presentation?

Black Bubble: We can't limit it to death at the moment. For example, someone may have made a beautiful PPT of 5,000 words and a plan of tens of thousands of words for us, which is high in terms of standards, but it can't convince the public; It is also possible that someone has only written us a 500-word piece of content, but it makes us feel that his standard is very high. So this thing is not easy to quantify, and to be honest, once we make objective standards, it will limit the performance of many creators, which is not reasonable.

Grape Jun: So what kind of support can you provide, such as funding? I don't think it's specifically described in the PV.

Black Bubble: If we write about a very common "100 million yuan recruitment producer" in the industry, it will seem very empty. I think that sincere logic doesn't have to write this kind of pompous copywriting, marketing gimmicks can sometimes make things sour, and the creators we want to attract are not people who are just here to make money.

In addition, let me give you an example, if we are facing a team of less than 10 people who want to make an independent game of "The Wandering Earth", and they want to present the story of a transporter driver, they may not need a relatively large amount of money, but they will need the support of science fiction music, science fiction literature, etc., which we can give.

Grape Jun: As a supporter, what special resources do you have in the IP and sci-fi track?

Black Bubble: We have a lot of partners, for example, the music in the PV was made for us by Kun, the original music teacher of the two films "The Wandering Earth". There are also Mr. Sun Shiqian, the first mecha teacher of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, an artist teacher who has won the Hugo Award, and the editorial team of "Science Fiction World...... We have all worked with us. We have such an advisory group, and when we communicate with the producers, we can have a multi-dimensional voice, and we can also help the production team to continuously optimize and improve understanding.


What the hell is counting?

"Chinese sci-fi"?

Grape Jun: I found that you always emphasize Chinese or Chinese sci-fi, what is Chinese?

Black Bubble: In terms of technology and industrialization, our level is already very high. However, if there is a Western shell in the content and a lack of understanding of the core, it is not a Chinese science fiction.

Why did I always feel that we needed to find a navigator in the gaming world? Because before the movie The Wandering Earth appeared, there were countless movies with top-level special effects, but only the movies were so stylized and Chinese.

The director once mentioned that his demand for art is to remove all Western expressions first, such as the fluorescent green in American science fiction and the silver blue in Japanese Gundam. His films are mostly black, white and grey, with only one place being blue: the United Nations hat – which is the case in real life.

So if you want to navigate these industrial setups, you have to have such a person who has a deep understanding of IP and culture. What we lack now is not the production line, but the people who know what kind of product should appear at the end of the production line.

Grape: Do you have any more concrete examples?

Black Bubble: A lot of science fiction games or movies and television want to make robots, and the planning will be very confusing - he doesn't know what a Chinese robot is, does it count to paint Gundam with Chinese red? Isn't there a Storm Red in "Pacific Rim", but it's still too superficial to learn from the West and use it in the East. The answer given by the movie "The Wandering Earth" is that the most Chinese-style is the door frame robot.

Later, we also chatted with Mr. Sun Shiqian, and he also mentioned that in the entire robot design language, the last representative content is Pixar's white. They de-mechaized the robots and made them very soft. The door frame robot has created a new language - the prototype of the door frame, which is the traditional "door" character, which is done with the logic of hieroglyphs, and the understanding is very different.

Game Grape, "The Wandering Earth" IP recruits R&D team: you don't have to get kryptonite, independent games are also welcome

Grape: But is it just an isolated case? Can this design logic extend more good content?

Black Bubble: We've discussed this question many times. In the game, your design language is not just about individual robots, but about systems. Doorframe robots are fun, but if the game is full of doorframes, it can also be monotonous.

So what is a system? It is to understand his design language and creative logic, and to think and study under this standard. For example, Director Guo's understanding is that it can be manufactured, and second, it must be functional - it does not exist for the sake of good looks, but to bring some convenience to human beings in the current social environment.

In the previous project, there was a robot called the Silver Guard, which had a protective gear on its chest, and its function was to transport heavy objects and fight. Later, we also demonstrated to the professional robot design team that it is indeed an achievable robot, which is a reasonable extension. We have stepped on such pitfalls, and we can also help the later team to avoid many detours.

Grape: Although you said a lot, I still wonder if it would be too extreme to find such a navigator in the game world, who should be an extremely pure creator and very talented, such a person is really rare.

Black Bubble: We believe that such creators exist, which is also the original intention of our Navigator Program. But that's not to say it has to be a huge work, small and beautiful and big and all are worth looking forward to, the key is valuable self-expression. Let's take science fiction movies as an example, "The Wandering Earth" is undoubtedly very good, and "Space Exploration Editorial Department" directed by Kong Dashan is also a great work, which is another way of expression entirely.

Grape: Many people say that Chinese science fiction has ushered in a golden age, do you think it is also an opportunity for science fiction games?

Black Bubble: Yes, we firmly believe that we need spiritual food like science fiction in this era, and the soil of Chinese science fiction determines that we need excellent works, and they have even appeared preliminarily, but the awareness is not high.

Sometimes it's not that creators can't do it, but they need a platform and an opportunity to play. It's a bit like "China's New Rap" - many rappers may survive in bars, it's not that they don't have strength, they just need such an opportunity for them to show themselves, and also make rap culture widely liked and recognized among young people.

So on the contrary, I think that Chinese science fiction games have reached a point where some works should pop up. We hope that the game "The Wandering Earth" can carry this banner and make Chinese science fiction games take a step forward! After all, the continuous exploration and exploration of the unknown is the true soul of science fiction!

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