Unnecessary revamping of graphics leads some to view it as a case of anime-ization gone too far

Golden Voyage Age, or Daikoukai Utopia (“Great Voyage Utopia”) in Japanese, is a mobile phone action RPG released in Japan on November 29 by publisher BBGame (with development by China’s NetEase Games). The game sets your playable character as a seafarer charged with the remodeling and battling of ships, conducting of trade, and exploration of ruins in Europe during the Age of Exploration (roughly the 15th-18th centuries).

Such a spirit of adventure calls for some equally enthralling visuals, which the development team teased in pre-release introductory video clips of the game such as the following:

However, just two days before the game’s eventual Japanese release, Golden Voyage Age’s official Japanese-language Twitter account posted the following announcement that they were in the midst of tweaking the character art.

“We are planning to change the game’s graphics to better meet the tastes of Japanese players! The new illustrations will be done primarily by @dhl1992113. He has already completed approximately 40 character still images.”

That’s good and all…but was it really necessary to spend the time and resources to effect such a change? The side-by-side comparisons of the original character design (above left) versus the revamped design (above right) both have their merits, but the revised version definitely draws its inspiration from moe anime-style artwork–which ultimately left a bad taste in some net users’ mouths.

The account posted a follow-up message shortly after announcing the artwork change, saying:

“We are aiming to illustrate the remaining characters’ images with the utmost quality as well, so replacing them may take a little more time. Please look forward to the finished work. There will be several updates after the game is released, so please expect great things from this game!”

▼ A few more examples of the game’s new “Japan-oriented” character art, as seen on the game’s official Japanese Twitter account.

On the whole, net users reacted negatively to the artwork change:

“The original images are of a higher quality.”
“The former illustrations are better suited to the atmosphere of the European Age of Exploration, and I happen to like them better personally. Please don’t simply assume that all Japanese people are into the moe-look.”“This is a ‘Great Disappointment.'”“I laughed, and then I laughed again when I saw the difference in the boobs.”
“They both have their merits. It would be great if users could choose which style they wanted.”

One net user even poked fun at the obvious marketing tactic with a humorous “Japanizing” meme:

Regardless of which style you prefer, the game can be downloaded for both Android or iPhone in Japanese via its official Japanese site. Happy sailing!

Source: Twitter/@daitopi via Itai News
Featured image: Twitter/@daitopi
Insert image: Twitter/@daitopi