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The second dimension, can it still be saved?

Game Grape 2024/06/27 18:52

Text/Nine Lotus Treasure Lantern & Yiguang Flow & Thomas's Skull

Recently, Grape Jun feels really a little "can't talk" the second dimension.

The reason why it is said that "chatting can't move" is also obvious: it's been a year and a half, and the two-dimensional track has still not been significantly boosted. Even for "Dust White Forbidden Zone" and "Singing Tide", which have become a topic this year, there are many voices on the Internet who think "it's just so", not to mention those small production products.

Game Grape, Two-dimensional, is there any salvation?

Looking through Grape Jun's reports on the two-dimensional track in the past few years, we found that many of the competition methods of the second game that were hotly discussed in previous years have been mentioned less and less often: art, world view, plot, differentiation...... Are these methods no longer effective? Or is it that after all these years, the track still can't make a breakthrough in these places?

Not long ago, Grape Jun organized an internal round table. The three discussants present have different two-dimensional concentrations, which may also represent the perspectives of different users to a certain extent. We believe that in the current post-Genshin Impact era, it is worth revisiting these issues.

Game Grape, Two-dimensional, is there any salvation?

Here's a collated discussion:


volume art,

It has lost its meaning

Nine Lotus Treasure Lantern: I would like to start by talking about art. I remember that two or three years ago, the involution of two-dimensional art was a hot topic, but now almost no one talks about it. So I'm curious to know, is art now losing its appeal?

I think maybe 2D art has really reached a bottleneck. My personal feeling is that some of the communities that traditional 2D games rely on to survive are changing. For example, in the past, there were many well-known artists in the two-dimensional user circle, who were both content producers and topic leaders, and they had a certain influence on the popularity of the game, but now there are almost fewer and fewer such things.

On the one hand, it may be that the current market is becoming more and more detailed, and the popularity of many illustrators may be limited to a smaller circle; On the other hand, I think that there are more and more 3D secondary games now, which has led many users to pay more attention to the quality of the model rather than the flat illustration, which eventually led to the decline of the old community to a certain extent.

Another point is the impact of AI on domestic user groups. Although most of the second games do not use AI to draw vertical paintings, when players surf the Internet by themselves, they will be exposed to a large number of AI pictures, which causes them to have a certain degree of aesthetic fatigue with two-dimensional illustrations.

Some people said before that "1999" may be the last successful 2D second game in China, but I also heard some teams say that in fact, players have similar perceptions of 2D/3D characters, and they will not look up to you just because you do 3D, so it is better to make a 2D with a lower cost.

Game Grape, Two-dimensional, is there any salvation?

I don't know what you guys think? Now as far as 2D games are concerned, is there still room for development?

Yiguangliu: I think the attraction of 2D art is really declining at present, because China is particularly good at doing homogeneous design.

Nowadays, 2D art tends to be more and more standardized, resulting in the content that everyone makes looks similar. For example, special emphasis will be placed on the matching of character clothing and body type, and there are more and more stockings, onesies, and tights.

Of course, players will love these things. However, manufacturers only make such art, and players only pay for this kind of art, and it is difficult to have new ideas in the long run, so how can art iterate and compete with other games? So this change is really slowly draining the player's interest.

Nowadays, if you want to attract users with simple 2D art, you may not be able to do it. But there is still an opportunity to use 2D art to carry better content and use content to make breakthroughs.

We are analogous to the traditional game industry, after the rise of 3D, there is also enough market space for 2D games. Not to mention popular models, such as casual games and mini-games, there are many new opportunities. But there are very few two-dimensional games that choose a similar direction, so it's not that 2D doesn't have to be done, but whether you can grasp certain opportunities.

Maybe now we can't think completely according to the original two-dimensional model, but jump out, but most people don't have the resources in their hands and don't have the confidence to do so.

Thomas's Skull: There's a very vague question here: what exactly are the content forms of the different products, and what are the needs that can be met?

A lot of people have given me Amway "Ark of Tomorrow". They say it's essentially a visual novel - the game may also have PV and quality 3D content, but text is always the most important medium for it to carry content.

Game Grape, Two-dimensional, is there any salvation?

But now the trend of head products is 3D film and television interaction, to present a brilliant performance. I guess this kind of product puts a lot more emphasis on the director's position than a 2D product.

These two forms also correspond to different scenarios. For example, I don't really watch the plot of "Genshin Impact" or "Star Iron" on my phone, I think it's a waste of the performance experience. But I would play 1999 on my phone. It's a difference between a native mobile game and a multi-platform game. If you want to focus on a more native mobile game market, maybe 2D is no problem.

Game Grape, Two-dimensional, is there any salvation?

Nine Lotus Treasure Lantern: What about 3D art?

At the moment, 3D art seems to be very lively, and everyone is trying it, but in fact, there seem to be a lot of hidden concerns. For example, I feel that most of the products may still be learning the style of miHoYo, and rarely see different content.

I think this logic is similar to the 2D ecology just mentioned. Sometimes it's not necessarily that the manufacturer doesn't want to do stylization, but after the player has accepted some cartoon rendering styles for a long time, they have formed a concept, "the second dimension should be card rendering", and some other rendering styles are not accepted.

More than one team has told me about this. At first, they wanted to do some pure PBR, or PBR+NPR rendering, but after taking it out, players generally criticized it, saying that it was not two-dimensional. In the end, they had to try to do it in the direction of pure card rendering.

Of course, there are also art that has successfully created a differentiated style that is accepted by players. For example, although "Young Ones 2" has a lot of criticism, everyone has a high degree of recognition for its art; From an overseas point of view, the style of the "Lyza" series is also very acceptable to domestic two-dimensional users.

Game Grape, Two-dimensional, is there any salvation?

Thomas's Skull: I think the appeal of art to players is twofold, one is style, and the other is quality, which is linked to technology.

But after Genshin Impact, it's commonplace for everyone to watch 3D. It's actually cruel: when many manufacturers have a hard time making 3D two-dimensional renderings, you still ask them to make 3D renderings with very different styles.

Yiguangliu: If you want to do style, I think there is still room for it. Cartoon rendering, which is popular in the country, it is just a branch of the rendering style. Looking at the ARPG and MMO tracks, differentiated rendering styles are not uncommon, but now card rendering is the mainstream in China, and everyone is studying various blooms, lighting, textures, and detail optimization within card rendering...... For example, grass, but you can't jump out of the frame of card rendering.

From the very beginning, we competed in a relatively narrow track, and the double success of "Honkai 3" and "Genshin Impact" also deified the card rendering, so that many new technicians were only good at this direction, and neither R&D nor players had a choice.

Game Grape, Two-dimensional, is there any salvation?

Nine Lotus Treasure Lantern: Then do you think that the current two-dimensional game art is still not a field worth continuing to roll in?

Thomas's Skull: From a business point of view, the essence of volume art is volume flow. Because the early stage of the game needs to have a high enough flow and potential energy, and art is often the best medium.

So whether it is 2D or 3D, in fact, the core is still in quality and volume. But after Genshin Impact, the value for money for this thing has become very low. You have to catch up with miHoYo's art, which in itself means a huge cost.

If I only talk about traffic, if my art is just beautiful and not so bad that people will lose it, but the subject matter is particularly absorbed, or the marketing and operation are particularly good, is it enough?

Yiguangliu: I agree with it too. Now no one can roll miHoYo, and it is difficult for you to eat the cake in their hands with a higher investment or higher technology than them, so there is no point in rolling 3D. It's the same with 2D, when you're looking at a cat or a tiger, the art loses its meaning.

The realistic consideration is to think about how to cut the cake in advance. If you use art to cut, it is best to do differentiated performance under the same art specifications. For example, "Dust White Forbidden Zone", with relatively qualified 3D art, to delineate a specific direction, and then strive to meet the needs of users.

Game Grape, Two-dimensional, is there any salvation?

Other than that, it's about flipping the table. For example, in "Cookie Man", you are all doing character painting, I don't want to be a person anymore, just make cookies. Does it have the ability to divide the cake? There must be some of them.


content quality,

Wait for the next stage

Nine Lotus Treasure Lantern: As a kind of content-based game, in addition to art, copywriting content such as world view and plot is also a topic that users care about.

I wrote an article "The Dilemma of Content Games" before, which made me feel the same way. Because when it comes to the content of the domestic second tour volume, I feel that everyone is rolling up things like "how many words are in the new plot" and "how long is the new process". But in terms of quality, more than one person mentioned to me that now everyone is actually stuck, and there is no feeling of going up a step.

So I wondered, if I could really "go to the next level", what would it look like?

Yiguangliu: Why is the content quality of the domestic second game still unable to enter the next stage, we must look at it from the core.

People have seven emotions and six desires, joys, angers, sorrows, and joys. Take "Bleach ", "Naruto" and "One Piece" as examples, and often mention "dreams", "adventure", "bonds" and so on.

Game Grape, Two-dimensional, is there any salvation?

But now the content coverage of the second tour in China is not large, and many products rely on sadness to move people's emotions, such as "one person first". From a content point of view, there is a lack of this market. A work that lacks a specific emotional core lacks the corresponding expression skills and content system. It is difficult to cross the threshold of the next stage. After all, even the pit is not full, the competition is not sufficient, and there are few classic works, how can we talk about going further?

Thomas's Skull: From a business point of view, many secondary games can't meet the needs of users more extremely.

Do users want to experience a story? Or do you want to develop some bonds with the characters? Or do you just want to collect and cultivate, and raise a certain character very well? The most head game, theoretically can meet everything. But as the threshold for users increases, it's hard to cover everything with a new product.

In the past, many people thought that the "Oto-male game" was unreliable, and then "It's Over" came out. Only then did everyone find out that men also have emotional needs. Including "there are men who don't play", does it also mean that there are still many users of the second game who have not taken care of it?

Game Grape, Two-dimensional, is there any salvation?

Another example is a skit. Many people say that if you don't do gacha, you won't be able to make money at all. But skits prove that many users can pay for pure content. It just relies on a simple but intense feeling of coolness that makes you unable to stop.

From the perspective of satisfying the needs of users more extremely, should there be more finishes in the field of secondary games, or even short dramas?

Nine Lotus Treasure Lantern: Actually, when it comes to skits, it reminds people of small games. Mini-games and skits are diametrically opposed, they usually don't have any plot or anything like that.

Some time ago, someone said that "content-based games are the current version trap". The reason is that content-based games used to seem to be better than numerical or gameplay-based games in terms of cost performance, but now content-based games are more complex and difficult to satisfy players than the other two types of games, and they may not be able to make more money in the end.

So I'm also a little curious, if we do the opposite and do a second tour with no content at all, is there a head?

Thomas's Skull: I think it's doable. Because from the perspective of supply and demand, the supply of content-based games is now oversupply, and everyone has to find a way to expand the demand.

A previous boss said that the ARPU of ACG is very low, far lower than that of MMO, not to mention numerical games - you have more supply than demand, and the number of users is not enough, but now the ARPU is still very low, and in the end things become very desperate.

So I think it's a fun discussion, and if it works, it might make a lot of people who haven't been exposed to a second tour before. The more people can accept it, the more demand will expand.

Yiguang Flow: Two-dimensional mini-games, which may require a real surplus of mobile games before they have a chance. I don't think content is a version trap, but "meaningless stuffing" is a version trap.

A lot of the time we talk about the content, in fact, in addition to art, is copywriting. But the content should not be just such a thing, audio-visual feelings, emotional guidance, and value resonance are all achieved by content. Those touching second games are not because of how many resources it has done right and how much research and development it has spent, but because it has comprehensive skills in place when portraying content.

For example, "Hatsune Miku: World Project" (PJSK), they use Hatsune's IP, plus several new characters, to form different bands and sing various tunes. How much copywriting is its lyrics and plot? How much money can be burned for a two-minute show in 3D? But just such a little thing has moved countless players, and they have also formed an identity with new characters other than Hatsune, and they are often promoted to the top of the best-sellers.

Game Grape, Two-dimensional, is there any salvation?

Therefore, the content of two-dimensional games is not blindly "piled up". Sometimes, it doesn't have to be a lot of storytelling, a lot of settings, a deep world view, a heavy bag, and then a little bit of hope in the difficult crawl to resonate. Clever and skillful expressions that save resources and move people.

Nine Lotus Treasure Lantern: The next topic is the highlight of the moment, the content subdivision. At present, the two topics of otome games and having men not play are very hot, and the demand for content segmentation on the Internet is very large. So I'd love to talk to you about it, are the days of gaming really gone?

According to the light flow: the content is subdivided, there must be a certain soil foundation and prerequisites. For example, everyone has indeed been playing in a game similar to Genshin Impact for too long, and there is a tendency to be a bit out of tune, which is an inevitable evolutionary process. But now that the matter of content segmentation is being hyped very opposite, is segmentation exclusive? I don't think so, after all, people's preferences are free.

Is there necessarily a market for content segmentation? I think there's a question mark. Although the topic of subdivision is hot, it is more like the stress reaction after the intensification of contradictions in different circles, how many users there are, whether they can support a product, and whether the silent majority want to subdivide or not, have not been fully verified. There are also male characters in many excellent second tours and pan second tours overseas, do you really not play? Not necessarily.

Game Grape, Two-dimensional, is there any salvation?

Nine Lotus Treasure Lantern: When I chatted with a second-game planner before, he also mentioned that when their project was announced for testing, some players said in the comment area that there were men who didn't play, but when the test ended, I found that there were players who had completed the test completely, and even the most trained characters were still male characters.

In the end, the player said that because the gameplay was really the type he wanted the most, and then the male character was very numerically strong, he played all the way. So I think there may be some users who are not as resolute as they claim.

I don't think it's that players don't accept the general orientation now, but that these self-proclaimed average-oriented games are not playing characters that everyone likes, but that they follow the male thinking when they are female characters, and when they are male characters, they follow the female thinking, and in the end, it will lead to disagreements among players.

Thomas's Skull: From the perspective of supply and demand, the reason why the topic of content segmentation is so popular is because of insufficient supply.

For example, I ask a question before I keep it for the long term: "Do you want to make this game a main game?" The premise of being able to become the main game may be that the quality is high enough, the update and operation are relatively stable, and the friends around you are discussing it.

Gradually, I will find that the products that meet these definitions are generally games, because they have a large user base and stable revenue. Actually, I really hope that I can play the same level of games in the subdivision track - unfortunately there are none.

Jiulian Treasure Lamp: I think for most manufacturers, in fact, it will be more difficult to do the general direction. Because the old ones have "Ark of Tomorrow" and the new ones have "Genshin Impact" and "Star Iron", they have already sucked up the general market. At this time, if you do the general direction, the probability of success is not necessarily higher than that of subdivided products.

Game Grape, Two-dimensional, is there any salvation?

Yiguangliu: I think for manufacturers with vested interests, they can still make this kind of general game, because they have basic disk and brand influence. But I don't think it's realistic for latecomers to do this kind of general-oriented game, and it is difficult to establish a new brand in a market that has been carved up.

So it's still that problem, first think about how to divide the cake, figure out where the traffic comes from, and then think about the positioning of the product. This may require you to narrow your horizons, research the people who are providing traffic, figure out how to meet their needs, and then build a solid relationship of trust, and then refine the art style, gameplay, and experience, as well as polish the details of the product.

In this regard, the team of the second tour lacks a lot of experience. Although the development of domestic second games has been at least 10 years,But most of the teams that can play start from the same club.,With a lot of fandom inertia,Resulting in a professional flaw in the company's operation.。

In the early days of doing a second game, as long as you have love, players will come to pay, and there is no professionalism, and players are also happy to hear about the same operation, such as Weibo office. But in the long run, operating with non-professional logic and attitude can easily evolve into an external manifestation of conceit: everyone is a person who talks about content and love, and since we have similar interests, then aesthetics should be the same, so "you should be able to understand me".

Thomas's Skull: Maybe it's also because many of the early second games came out of the community, so many second game teams will think of themselves as creators. And many developers of traditional games will think of themselves as service providers.

This creates a misalignment of identity: creators can have their own temper and can not care about the market; Unfortunately, games aren't anything like that, or rather, at least GaaS games aren't like that.

Nine Lotus Treasure Lantern: But what's interesting is that this situation is exclusive to China. Japanese and Korean manufacturers also make products with a service attitude, and they combine well with their own creative desires.

For example, in the previous conversation between "FGO" Nasu Mushroom and "Star Iron" Jiang David, Mushroom said that as a playwright, the most important thing for him is to bring happiness to everyone. Regardless of how well he is doing, he does combine his personal expression of purpose with the consciousness of serving the player.

Game Grape, Two-dimensional, is there any salvation?

Thomas's Skull: Education in the market is important. After this wave of market changes, we may see more mature creators emerge in the future.


rigid system,

Is there a solution?

Nine Lotus Treasure Lantern: Let's talk about the next topic. I think there is another reason why ACG users are so tired of games, which may be because the system and commercial design of the current batch of games are too rigid.

Now that a second game is out, you can imagine what content will be. For example, there are character collection and development, physical strength, gold dungeons and experience dungeons, and there are card pools with similar logic on the commercialization side, as well as token stores and so on. Everyone is almost the same system and commercial design.

So I suspect that because the players are familiar with what they need to do when they go in, and all that's left is to look at the story, the characters, and now the content is written in the same way, and the art is not rolled, so it's a very reasonable thing for them to get bored.

But if you really want to make these changes in the second game, I feel that it is indeed a big challenge. Because these are the real fundamentals, once they change and the player doesn't accept them, then it will have a life-or-death impact on the project.

Yiguangliu: The two-dimensional game has not changed much in terms of system and commercialization, and there must be many players who are tired of playing. Change can be discussed from two perspectives:

First, do two-dimensional games cover all the mainstream gameplay on the market? At present, there is definitely none, correspondingly, covering new gameplay, the most matching payment mechanism, and system design will change. It's just that the current second-game manufacturers have no accumulation in these directions, and there is no way to expand.

Second, can the product make the cured system play new by improving the detailed experience? This is an opportunity, although the slogan of the second tour is to pay for love, but with value, intensity, and the environment to promote payment, abound. How to make a character have reuse value in addition to the plot and cultivation is completely tryable.

Thomas's Skull: The idea of breaking the game may still need to start with the gameplay. For example, can pets or characters not only fight, but also play the role of infrastructure, as in "Palu"?

However, after "Genshin Impact", the idea of ascending dimensions may not work, and many times it can only be reduced. For example, can you only make a cool game that takes up very little time for players? Maybe this will be a chance to survive the second-tier game.

It's no longer the time to stake your ground, and you can't dominate the market with quality and complex gameplay. Maybe drop a few things and you'll be able to win more users.

Game Grape, Two-dimensional, is there any salvation?


A new environment,

Brand new people

Nine Lotus Treasure Lantern: The last topic is about the environment. Do you feel that the current two-dimensional environment is different from before?

Yiguangliu: My personal feeling is definitely that there are more new users and they are dominant.

As an old two-dimensional myself, I don't think there is any domestic second game that can satisfy my fantasy of the second game, which is a very cruel status quo. The set of ACG that I was looking for at the beginning has become another thing, and now the domestic ACG users have derived a set of their own language, and their communication methods and perception patterns of content are actually completely different from the old ACG users.

I think most players my age should have a similar experience. I've heard a point of view before, the main users of the current head second game are young people of the age group of college students, which is an obvious trend. Because they generally have both liver and krypton.

For social animals, it is difficult to find a second tour that is a little cooler and more in line with the rhythm of life. At the same time, their core values, expressions, and atmosphere experiences do not meet the demands of our age group. Old ACG users may not be able to feel the same fun as new users due to changes in life rhythm and entertainment habits, and they will slowly be marginalized in the future.

Now the second tour has been developing for 10 years, and every year a large number of young people are pouring into the second tour, slowly dominating the public opinion trend of the second tour in China.

As far as I'm concerned, I still hope that the second tour can have a very comfortable environment to play, so that people can have some touches and some experiences, just like the feeling I used to watch anime. However, the actual feeling is that I have more experience from reading Tomato novels now than from playing the second game. My ideal second game should be a state that can make users resonate and be willing to shout for it.

Thomas's Skull: There are definitely a lot of new users. Like me, I was a content-based player before, but I didn't have much contact with the second game, and it wasn't until I entered the pit "Genshin Impact" because of the goddess that I realized that the content of the second game had been done so well.

But here's one thing that's scary: this group of new users is growing fast, and every time they play a new second game, they compare it to all the games they've seen. In the future, it will be very difficult to find a second-game user who has not played "Genshin Impact" and "Star Iron". This creates a tremendous amount of stress.

Game Grape, Two-dimensional, is there any salvation?

Nine Lotus Treasure Lantern: So on the whole, I think we may still need to wait for more manufacturers to catch up before we can consider the next step in this track. Although many teams seem to have lost the confidence to chase now, I guess there will be no shortage of brave people who dare to challenge. Then we can only continue to wait and see if there will be some new changes in the future.

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