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The Aspiration of AFK Journey: Globalizing Anime as an Artistic Genre

AFK Journey, anime, global art style



Lilith Games and Farlight Games, two Chinese game developers, have recently released the Song of Strife update for their game AFK Journey. To dive deeper into the development process and the game itself, I had the opportunity to speak with Xiaodong Tian, the chief product officer of both companies.

Tian has been with Lilith Games since 2013 and has played a key role in the development of games like AFK Journey, AFK Arena, and Soul Hunter. With his extensive experience in the industry, Tian provided valuable insights into the game development process and how the team approached creating a global game.

One of the first things I asked Tian was about the size of the team working on AFK Journey. He mentioned that currently, there are about 190 full-time employees dedicated to the project team, with additional support from other departments within the company. This large team demonstrates the scale of the project and the level of effort that goes into creating a game of this magnitude.

Tian also shared the inspiration behind AFK Journey. The team was motivated to create the game after receiving feedback from players of their previous title, AFK Arena. These players expressed confusion and a lack of direction in the late game, which prompted the team to create a game that would provide compelling storylines and rich character backgrounds. By infusing the world of Esperia with vitality and depth, the team aimed to give players a sense of purpose and motivation in their gameplay.

When describing the target audience for AFK Journey, Tian mentioned that they cater to players who have a passion for RPGs and a preference for the fantasy adventure genre. These players are interested in collecting unique heroes with diverse personalities and enjoy strategic and tactical gameplay. The team aims to provide a diverse range of gameplay experiences to accommodate different player preferences, ensuring that the world of Esperia remains engaging and dynamic.

In terms of the game’s art style, Tian referred to it as the “Magical Storybook” style. The art team focused on creating a visual style that conveys a sense of casualness and leisure, aligning with the gameplay experience. The team put a lot of effort into refining the art and design, taking player feedback into account and continuously optimizing the visuals. The result is a visually appealing and immersive game world that complements the gameplay experience.

Maintaining high quality in the game is a priority for the team at Lilith Games and Farlight Games. Tian explained that they achieve this by focusing on consistency, both in terms of visual coherence and gameplay mechanics. The team emphasizes collaboration and communication among different departments, ensuring that everyone understands the design intentions and contributes their expertise to create a cohesive and unified experience for players.

Player feedback plays a crucial role in maintaining quality as well. The development team actively engages with the community and listens to players’ voices. They hold regular community meetings, collect and organize player opinions, and involve core project designers in discussions on high-interest topics raised by players. This collaborative approach allows the team to address player pain points and translate them into innovative designs that meet the majority of players’ needs.

To keep the game fresh and engaging, the team has designed a unique seasonal update mechanism. Each season introduces new maps, stories, characters, and enemies, providing players with new goals and challenges to enjoy. The team aims to continually release new content throughout each season, ensuring that players always have something new to explore and experience. This commitment to regular updates and improvements demonstrates the team’s dedication to creating a long-term live service game.

In terms of appealing to the Western market, Tian shared his belief that a blend of familiarity and novelty is key. While the game is based on a Western fantasy worldview and cartoon style, the team adds their own interpretations and innovations to create a balance between familiarity and surprise. This approach resonates with players around the globe, as it allows them to find something familiar and something new in the game.

Overall, my conversation with Xiaodong Tian provided valuable insights into the development process of AFK Journey and the team’s approach to creating a global game. With a dedicated team, a focus on quality, and a commitment to player feedback, Lilith Games and Farlight Games have crafted a game that offers a captivating and engaging experience for players worldwide.



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