Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, before internet streaming and before anime, Chinese youth had a different form of animated hero; they had The Black Cat Detective. And now, he will be reborn in a new mobile game.
The top image, published on Sina Games, shows the new "updated" look of the Black Cat Detective -- it's a publicity shot for Giant Game's new mobile game based on the Black Cat Detective series.
Not much information is provided about the new game, apart from the fact that it's a mobile game and that it will be based on the 2010 Black Cat Detective II movie.
Created in 1984 by the Shanghai Animation Film Studio, Black Cat Detective was very popular in China. Many of my colleagues at China Daily grew up watching Black Cat Detective. To them, he was known as Mr. Black.
The original show was a series of short 10 minute cartoon shorts in the vein of old Looney Tunes cartoons. Almost all of the episodes were self contained stories where Mr. Black solved a mystery or dealt with criminals.
The best western example of the show would be Tom and Jerry meets a very simple crime mystery show, filled with gratuitous violence. Guns and blades pop up frequently throughout the show.
When I interviewed Hollywood mega producer Avi Arad of Spider-man fame, Arad touched on plans about a Black Cat Detective project for western audiences.
While the intellectual property is purely Chinese and well received by domestic audiences, there is no guarantee the new game will be a success. When the Black Cat Detective movie was released in 2010, it was met with lackluster sales and reviews. Chinese State media blamed the poor reception on changing times and a saturated market filled with foreign films. China allows only 34 foreign films into the country every year (co-productions do not count).
Chinese netizens have been keen to comment on the topic of revitalising the series into a video game:
A classic and a memory for the post 80's generation!
Domestic mobile games have a history of cheating the consumer (in reality, online games do too)
I want to play as One-ear! (Ed.: The Jerry Mouse to the Tom Cat that is Mr. Black)
This game deserves a chance, it's filled with our memories!
There's still a bit of time before the game is released (if it's ever released), so only time will tell if it lives up to the history and nostalgia Chinese gamers have for the IP. Hopefully, this will be a product worthy of the Black Cat Detective, and not just a cash grab that tugs at gamers' heartstrings. I, for one, hope it retains the original's crazy violence.
《黑猫警长》宣布改编手游 角色形象曝光 [Sina Games]