Fill Me In
How do you re-skin a social deduction game mechanism that has taken the world by storm? Simple. Make the characters werewolves, because who doesn’t love werewolves, am I right? Werewolf Among Us is the name of a game that has shot to the top of the free games market in the China App Store. The game is a rip-off of its American predecessor, Among Us by developer Innersloth.
Werewolf Among Us is just one of the many Chinese copies of Among Us that have been seen in the mobile games market, undoubtedly triggered by the uproarious success that Among Us has seen. Government bodies have notoriously and shamelessly missed their mark on the use of Among Us memes. If that isn’t enough proof that the game has had phenomenal success, its six million strong player-base says it all.
Among Us is a free-to-play game available on both PC and mobile. The game sees players playing the roles of “crewmates” and “impostors” while in a spaceship. Impostors spend their time trying to kill crewmates and sabotage the spaceship, while crewmates do their best to deduce who the impostors are.
First things first: Werewolf Among Us… What?
If outer-space travel isn’t really your thing, a werewolf version might be what gets you off your rockers. Werewolf Among Us boasts graphics that are similar to those of Among Us but hold a much more cutesy sense of aesthetic appeal. This version of the game is also set in a medieval castle as opposed to a spaceship.
The game has caught on notably well in China, having racked up more than a whopping 487,000 downloads in the short time since it was launched on 28 October this year. Typically, the games that are seen amongst these ranks are developed by large-scale producers like Tencent.
According to tracking firm Qimai Data, the game shot to be the top free game on the Apple App Store, claiming the top spot with 16,000 downloads on Apple’s App Store in the country on 2 November. This is compared with Honour of Kings’ and Peacekeeper Elite’s 112,000 and 111,000 downloads respectively.
Why you gotta do that, China?
It goes without saying that China has got one of the largest digital and physical manufacturing spheres. A lot of times, the products that we see in these spheres are said to be counterfeits or dupes of other popular product versions. Well… in this case, Werewolf Among Us isn’t doing quite the same thing.
A game like Werewolf Among Us is able to pull off skating by on reskinning the popular game mechanics of Among Us because of the intellectual property laws in most countries, not just China. These laws typically protect against the unauthorised use of art, characters, and story of a game. However, gameplay mechanics don’t fall into this purview. That’s exactly how reskinned games eventually become successful, time and time again.
This is even the case with tech and games giant Tencent, whose most successful mobile game Honour of Kings is deemed to be unoriginal in its own right. It is supposedly a knock-off of Riot Games’ League of Legends, which is one of the world’s most popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games.
Most of the time, this happens because people in China can’t wait to get in on the good fun. Many Western games are often delayed in China for large durations. That is if they’re available, to begin with. The immense profits that these knock-off game developers make from tapping into one of the globe’s largest native markets is likely unparalleled.
But it’s nothing that consumers can do much about. Here’s another thing that’s worth noting: the country’s blockade of social media means that local applications service the population. There’s a high chance that a handful of consumers have heard of Werewolf Among Us, but not Among Us.
Among Us is going to get bigger and better
The Among Us game had stunted popularity, only seeming to burst into mainstream consumers’ gaming habits in COVID-laden 2020, although it had been made in 2018. But in its time since gaining popularity, it has achieved more than many games have in years. Just last month, US congress superstar Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attracted more than 435,000 viewers around the world in just a single Twitch stream. She did so in order to encourage young Americans to vote during the 2020 US elections. The woman is the furthest thing from a poser gamer, with a Silver III rank in League of Legends. Her seal of approval has only brought more global eyes on the Among Us game.
Innersloth’s new development roadmap for Among Us reveals plans for additional localisation. But at the moment, it’s unclear what languages are on the production slate. Even if Chinese is one of them, it’s unclear whether the game stands a chance against its clone competitors, which are well on their way toward cornering the Chinese-speaking market.