Some Genshin Impact fans have accused the game of racism based on their perception that characters from the game’s new Middle East inspired nation are ‘too white’.
This new locale, Sumeru, was first revealed in a teaser trailer shared by the official Japanese Genshin Impact account on July 2nd.
Set to launch with update 2.8 on July 13th, the nation appears to have been inspired by Middle Eastern and South Asian cultures.
— 原神（Genshin）公式 (@Genshin_7) July 2, 2022
While developer HoYoverse has kept details regarding the new area close to their chest, a recent leak, as shared by sports news outlet Sportskeeda, gave players an early look at four soon-to-arrive characters. These include Kusanali (The Dendro Archon), Tighnari, Dori, and Collei.
In light of simultaneous gameplay leaks, it seems very likely that the leaks as shared by Sportskeeda are legitimate.
However, rather than being excited about these new characters, it seems some fans are offended over the fact that the Sumeru characters are not as properly dark-skinned as they believe someone from the Middle East or South Asia should appear to be.
Many of the Tweets seem to be centered around a leaked image of Kusanali, as shared by Twitter users including @dendrosdaily and @genshinmains. The majority of complaints took issue with not only the character being too white for the culture her nation was inspired by, but also being another of the games few playable child characters.
“I’m not the type of person to complain much but why is the ARCHON not representative of her OWN nation?” questioned @LockwoodOnPC. “This feels so immersion breaking. The Elder Scrolls series can properly depict people from their respective nations. Why can’t Hoyoverse do the same?”
@akhielos insulted, “hoyoverse is brain dead because you named your archon KUSANALI and you made her look like the child of two white parents,”
Attempting to “fix” Kusalini’s design by making her darker, @owbix criticized, i feel like even if mihoyo are a bunch of p—–s and dont want like tan tan (the first pic) even the second pic wouldve been alright considering its the same tone or on par with kaeya anf [sic] xinyan.”
The other characters also caught their fair share of similar flak.
“Americans need to realise we aren’t offended cuz ‘[MiHoyo] racist’ we are offended cuz it’s our culture and the characters are pale af,” they critiqued. “Sure some can be pale like collei or dori but Tighnari looks very weird as a white furry boy.”
“Obligatory reminder that this is disrespectful and islamphobic as f–k,” condemned @godsgoldenglpyh in a now deleted tweet. “Genie’s are essentially the orientalist version of djinn, which are incredibly relevant in islamic religion and culture. not only is it reduced to a genie, but she’s riding it like an animal. it’s disgusting.”
Spreading particularly wide by fans who were in agreement with them, @godsgoldenglpyh’s tweet was one of several whose claims of Islamophobia drew a massive amount of corrections and criticisms.
“I woke up to my friend showing me this screenshot,” explained @CrimsonFenrir7. “We’re both Indonesian muslim and we find it weird that people call Dori Islamophobic. Djinn is just Islamic mythical creature, not holy or sacred. Just like faeries, nymphs, etc~ So why we would be offended by this anime Aladdin?”
@CrimsonFenrir7 continued, explaining how the representation was welcomed and honorable, seemingly referencing Solomon who (in Islamic scripture as a Prophet) was given power by God to command Djinn. Later, @godsgoldenglpyh apologized, saying they “got a little bit too emotional due to high fever and anxiety,” before subsequently deleting their entire account.
Other Twitter users also defended the characters having lighter skin, such as @misfit43933341 citing how north Indians have pale skin, and @AnisaVeronica6 claiming Tighnari was inspired by two Islamic scholars who had pale skin, Ibn al-Haytham and Ibn Khaldun.
While the outraged were certainly vocal with their complaints, their anger towards the new characters seems to be the minority opinion, as most players have reacted to the leaks with positivity and excitement.
For example, other leaked characters such as Collei, Nilou, and Dehya, have drawn near-universal praise from the fanbase.
In fact, many Genshin Impact fans responded to the outrage with mockery.
@DailyHI3Chibi noted in a meme that while Genshin Impact players seem to complain about the characters they get, Honkai Impact 3rd players are more than content to “serve you all my Queens.”
@KietTuanHong1 also highlighted the terms of service on Hoyoverse’s website, miHoYo’s global branch, wherein the developer warns, “We cannot guarantee that you will not encounter content that you consider offensive or otherwise inappropriate, and we accept no liability for any failure to remove (or delay in removing) any such content. You may, however, make complaints by accessing our support service.”
“mhy [miHoYo] don’t gaf about woke ppl,” they laughed.
“Genshin twitter is once again having what I like to call ‘a real one'”, saidd @Pettan_Enjoyer, showing off a compilation of angry tweets from Genshin Impact fans. “Can you f—–s ever behave? Like holy f–k man how do you guys manage to continuously be the worst fandom ever?”
What do you make of this reaction to the latest Genshin Impact leaks? Let us know on social media and in the comments below!