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Chinese State-Backed AR Company Made a Game That Looks Suspiciously Like Splatoon

By Weilin Li
Jan. 18, 2023 updated 04:00

Update on 01/18/23: After publishing this article, freelance concept artist Alexis Rives(@_DeadSlug_) claimed on Twitter that one of the in-game characters looks very similar to their original character Mona.

On January 13th, a mobile game demo posted on the social media Weibo attracted the attention of many Chinese gamers and embarrassed them because the game in development was very similar to Nintendo’s Splatoon series in terms of art and gameplay.

It seems that the video’s author, Luo Wei (@罗巍Cyberverse), is a developer at Beijing Hereto, a state-backed company linked to the smartphone manufacturer Huawei, according to online information.

A screenshot of Luo Wei’s Weibo postA screenshot of Luo Wei’s Weibo post

We also found an article introducing this copycat game on the WeChat account of Beijing Hereto.

A screenshot of Beijing Hereto’s Wechat accountA screenshot of Beijing Hereto’s Wechat account

This introduction article said that this is an XR battle game developed by Beijing Hereto. “Every leaf in the game is rendered by ourselves.”

The game has two versions, one is the real-scene version that can be played in a real scene through AR technology, and players can experience it in a famous commercial building in the East Third Ring Road of Beijing. Another version can be played online in a virtual environment.

In addition, the article said that the game would soon be searchable in the app store and market, and it is expected to be available as early as February 2023.

According to a video on Beijing Hereto's WeChat, Beijing Hereto is related to Huawei.

On the enterprise data platform Tianyancha, Beijing Hereto has a registered capital of 300 million CNY and is a company controlled by Beijing Xicheng District State-owned Assets Sales Company.

A screenshot of Beijing Hereto’s info page on TianyanchaA screenshot of Beijing Hereto’s info page on Tianyancha

Mobile FPS game Crisis Action launched a Spray Frontline mode.Mobile FPS game Crisis Action launched a Spray Frontline mode.

This is not the first time that a Chinese game has copied Splatoon.

Some previous examples include Nine Tour’s Sepia Go in 2016 and the mobile game Paintman Go, which both had very similar art and gameplay compared with the Splatoon series.

In 2017, the mobile FPS game Crisis Action's also launched a Spray Frontline mode, which made players use special weapons to launch and spray paint all over the map.