The latest Doula Continent mobile game, Doula Continent: Soul Master Duel, is popular in China. It’s getting a big PR push, and Jackie Chan even stars in a live-action trailer that claims Soul Master Duel is “exactly the same as the animation.” But you know what also seems similar?
Via analyst Daniel Ahmad, you can see Square Enix’s trailer for Final Fantasy 14: Shadowbringers on the left and 37 Interactive’s trailer for Doula Continent: Soul Master Duel on the right.
As 4Gamers reports, these similarities have not been lots on gamers online in China.
Final Fantasy 14: Shadowbringers was released in July 2019, while Doula Continent: Soul Master Duel came out this year in China. (Currently, that game does not yet have English language support. Its TapTap page, however, is filled with requests for an English language version.)
While there are obvious similarities in the shots and the mise-en-scène, it’s hard to understate how influential Square Enix is in the fantasy RPG genre, both in Japan and internationally. Game makers borrow from Square Enix a lot, but are they releasing trailers with similar sequences and shots? Not really, no.
However, in movies it’s not uncommon for filmmakers to borrow shots and even entire sequences, writing off their actions as homages. Quentin Tarantino has made a career of this, starting with turning Hong Kong film City on Fire into Reservoir Dogs. With Soul Master Duel, these similarities could be just coincidences, or maybe they’re signs of respect. Or, it could be something else entirely, which might be the case.
Earlier this year, for example, the live-action Chinese series Douluo Continent, an adaptation of the fantasy novel, came under fire for lifting six shots from the British TV series His Dark Materials. In total, it was 15 seconds of footage. According to Global Times, the show’s visual production company issued an apology, writing, “We feel very sorry for our company’s mistake and the negative influence caused to the public… We will take it as a lesson and strengthen our staff copyright awareness.” The production company also promised that “all similar shots will be quickly modified and replaced overnight.”