Chinese studio Tencent is using model Mei Yan’s likeness without her permission for a character in its game Ring of Elysium, the model says. Since Yan posted about it online, Tencent has removed images of the character from its social media, but she’s not satisfied.
Mei Yan is a Chinese-American model who has been modeling since around 2014, when she was around 17. Since then, she’s also started a beauty-oriented YouTube channel with over 400,000 subscribers. She’s not a gamer by any means, so about a month ago when a follower of hers reached out to tell her that her likeness was being used in the game Rings of Elysium, she was surprised, and a little concerned.
“He found that people were talking about it on a subreddit forum about the game,” Yan told Kotaku over the phone. “I guess a few of these people there noticed the similarity.” She said that people initially assumed it must be a collaboration between her and Tencent. Yan said that no collaboration between them had taken place. The image, she said, was taken from her first professional photoshoot, with the brand Omocat.
The character, Lynn, is extremely popular among Rings of Elysium players, to the point that Tencent has posted images of a fan-made mural of the character on its Twitter account.
“This is basically the most iconic character in the game, and I can see why, because her character design is very cute,” Yan said. “People love her.”
Since then, Yan has gotten in touch with people involved in Ring of Elysium. She did also say that some images of her, including the advertisement for an “Adventurer Pass,” which is a $10 season pass that included skins for Lynn, have been removed since she started talking about this publicly this week. The story was originally reported by USGamer.
Kotaku reached out to Tencent for comment, but it did not reply in time for publication.
Yan said that she isn’t sure what she’d like have happen to resolve this issue. She said that while she is no stranger to people stealing her content, “this is really the weirdest situation that has ever happened to me.” A cosplayer reached out to Yan once she was made aware of the situation to say that she’d cosplayed the character.
“She was like, ‘Oh my god, this is so weird, I’m so sorry this happened to you, but I cosplayed you, like, your body and your face,’” Yan said. “And she sent me photos and I was like, this is so bizarre.”
“My original goal was to just bring some awareness. If more people can know about this, I guess that’s all I can really ask for in this situation,” Yan said. “People have been paying for this Adventurer Pass, and are therefore paying to have access to this skin. I feel like, in a way, people have been deceived, and that’s really, really not okay.”