A new wave of Genshin Impact censorship has hit Mihoyo's open-world gacha RPG, and this time, it's all about the characters. Four characters are getting their outfits changed in China, presumably to match CCP regulations. The new outfits will also be available as extra costumes in the West.
What's changing in this new wave of Genshin Impact censorship?
In a post announcing the changes (which we're using DeepL to translate), Mihoyo announces the changes and apologizes for the short notice. Jean, Amber, Rosaria, and Mona have all been changed in order to have more modest, less revealing costumes. This change went live in Genshin Impact 2.4, which was released today. It's important to note that the change is only mandatory in China; in the West, the new costumes will be added as optional extras.
It's not just the costumes, either. Mihoyo has also made changes to character animations, with more to come in future updates. For now, the way in which the camera works while characters are in flight has changed. Angling the camera underneath some characters while they're flying now turns those characters transparent. The studio says it'll be making more changes in Genshin Impact 2.5 to "transitional animations" (per DeepL translation), although we don't know what that means just yet. Mihoyo says it's designing more permanent costume changes for 2.5, too, but in the meantime, here are the changes to the Chinese versions of the characters.
These aren't final outfits for the characters; rather, they're interim changes, with more final costumes to come in the future. Mihoyo doesn't give a reason for changing the outfits, but given the speed with which they were implemented, it's likely this has been done to comply with CCP censorship regulations. By way of compensation, Mihoyo is dishing out 1200 Primogems to Chinese players, which will be given out later today. Those Primogems naturally aren't being given to Western players, since these costumes will be entirely optional in the West.
Why has this change been made?
In September last year, the South China Morning Post detailed changes to the Chinese gaming regulator's approval process. According to the SCMP, review guidelines are getting stricter, with approval dependent on meeting much more stringent criteria. In fact, the Post points to a memo that specifically refers to Genshin Impact's Venti as an "effeminate man", something that would be unacceptable in the new guidelines. It's pretty clear Mihoyo has made these changes so as not to fall foul of punitive CCP restrictions. These new costumes are likely a goodwill stopgap, an assurance to the CCP that the studio is working as quickly as possible to implement more permanent changes.
It's all part of a crackdown on the gaming industry on the part of Beijing. Late last year, the CCP forced Tencent to stop updating or releasing apps for a period of time, with Tencent saying it was cooperating to "ensure regulatory compliance". This came after more than 200 Chinese gaming companies pledged to increase their self-regulation processes in order to comply with new CCP regulations. Again, it is important to stress that these Genshin Impact changes don't affect the West (apart from the distribution of free costumes), although future designs are likely to be constrained by the new requirements, and more changes may be coming. Nevertheless, it looks like the Chinese gaming industry is only going to have more hoops to jump through in future, so don't be surprised if Genshin Impact falls foul of these regulations again before too soon. We'll have more for you on this as soon as we get it.
How do you feel about these new Genshin Impact costumes? Let us know in the comments below!