Eren Yeager looks a bit like this new promotional material.
It’s because it’s not really him. There’s another character, in Yeager’s outfit, part of a collaboration between Attack on Titan and the multiplayer horror game Death by daylight. And Yeager and the rest of his friends are hardly the only anime content that comes to popular games in the state.
Tuesday, Fortnite announced a new Anime Legends package that brings a set of shells to the game. Apex Legends also gets an anime-like Gaiden Event. All three announcements came in one day. It’s part of a larger trend where Western video game producers are leaning heavily into fans’ interest in anime.
All three live service games are adding anime-inspired content to their games in different ways this summer. Death by daylight Behavior Interactive reimaginer develops its characters in Attack on Titantheir most popular roles. Apex Legends‘Gaiden Event’s will bring more than 40 new cosmetic items to the game – four of them clearly inspired by popular anime series such as One Piece, Naruto, My Hero Academiaand Neon Genesis Evangelion. And in FortniteEpic Games goes so far as to give the game’s Anime Legends Pack a physical release at select retailers, along with generic anime-inspired shells.
This is far from the first time a popular Western multiplayer game has seen anime connections or anime-inspired events. Another big brand, PUBG mobilerecently cooperation with Neon Genesis Evangelion to bring the series’ characters – including its iconic mechanisms – to Battle Royale. Hell, even Fortnite got a load off Naruto sign last month.
But three announcements for popular multiplayer games are remarkable since they signal consumer trends and preferences as the developers understand them.
Why are there so many anime connections?
Anime and manga have always played a major role in shaping the tastes of Western audiences. (Remember Cartoon Networks Toonami in the late 90s and early 2000s?) But around the time of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, interest in anime increased again. Paperback sales of manga exploded during the quarantine era, and movies for anime series such as Demon butcher became a huge hit. In addition, anime fandoms flourished across social media, where TikTok dances and other anime-inspired content regularly shaped popular trends from 2020 onwards.
The last one Apex Legends The announcement also highlights another growing trend: VTubers. As part of Apex LegendsAt the last event, the developers said that three heroes would be available as VTuber avatars, so that streamers could embody their favorite characters as their anime incarnations. It’s a meaningful recognition from Respawn Entertainment, as VTubers like Ironmouse are breaking Twitch records and the general fandom around them is growing worldwide.