PANtopia, PANGU by Kenal's second original IP, recently debuted on The Sandbox metaverse platform in October. PANtopia is not only Asia's first LGBTQ+ metaverse, but also proudly stands among the few LGBTQ+ IPs that chose the Taiwan market for its initial launch.
Against the backdrop of the Taiwan Pride Parade, where an estimated 180,000 people took to the streets, PANtopia made its mark by joining forces with Durex for a groundbreaking collaboration, featuring creative marketing tactics executed in the metaverse, online and offline channels. Through actively initiating collaborations with over 15 other entities, including NGOs, hospitality and FMCG brands, creators, and media outlets, the campaign accumulated over 2.3 million impressions on social media, marking a new chapter for the LGBTQ+ community, like minded brands, andthe gaming community. This campaign also provides a model case study for those looking to leverage Web 3 technologies to enhance consumer experiences, marketing efforts, or even educational initiatives.
Exploring LGBTQ+ Topics Through Game Design
PANtopia, a name derived from "PAN" – meaning all-encompassing –and "utopia," aims to create a diverse ideal realm where everyone can choose their most comfortable identity and proudly express their true emotions. Upon entering PANtopia, players are greeted by a vibrant rainbow history gallery, where each LGBTQ+ worldwide movement and milestone is documented. The experience unfolds with a nostalgic tribute, symbolized by the six colors of the rainbow flag, representing themes of confidence, freedom, future, support, memories, and unity.
Thoughtful quests in game are meticulously designed to showcase the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community as much as possible, echoing the main theme #ProudTogether.
（Image Credit: PANtopia）
The Topic of “Coming Out”
The emergence of the "closet" is primarily attributed to one’s environmental factors, such as family, school, and the workplace. Whether or not to "come out" then becomes a significant life event for individuals in the LGBTQ+ community. However, what the LGBTQ+ community hopes for is a more open and inclusive society — where the “closet” becomes extinct and there no longer is a need to “come out.”
PANtopia seeks to address the various challenges – big and small – encountered by the LGBTQ+ community, and encourages multi angle reflection through gameplay. For example, in PANtopia, children are not confined to gender-specific toys, and adults can choose their partners freely without gender limitations. These thought provoking scenes are designed to make players reflect on how society can be better set up to promote equality, and how individuals can contribute to the cause through acceptance and open mindedness.
Promoting Inclusion with Main Characters PANPAN and MarshLEO
In the design and positioning of game characters and scripts, PANtopia does not focus on any specific cultural subgroup within the LGBTQ+ community; instead, it aims to include as many minorities as possible. In contrast to many current IPs where characters lack gender specifications and often conform to a binary gender setting, PANPAN and MarshLEO are the only two characters in PANtopia with gender assignments. PANPAN, a unicorn identifying as non-binary pansexual, and MarshLEO, a lion also identifying as genderless pansexual, escaped their oppressive hometown of Exclude Island due to their unique beauty and distinctive rainbow manes. These non-binary, pansexual characters serve as the finishing touch in PANtopia, offering comfort and solace to players.
（Image Credit: PANtopia）
Advocacy Through Game Creation
PANtopia is more than just a gaming experience; it is a compilation of unique and proud stories from individuals in the LGBTQ+ community. Kenny Ng, the founder of PANGU by Kenal, expresses, “PANtopia is a beautiful, impactful creation where creativity meets reality. It serves as an inspiration not only for those participating in these meaningful events but also for anyone navigating through life's challenges.” Ng hopes that PANtopia can help each person in understanding their uniqueness and embracing their true selves.
By incorporating the LGBTQ+ movement into the gaming community through the metaverse, fostering contemplation through gameplay, and drawing attention with the virtual city of equality in PANtopia, the game expands the horizons of advocacy. The LGBTQ+ movement has faced numerous challenges, and PANGU by Kenal, along with its advocates and NGOs, remains steadfast through various trials. PANGU by Kenal believes that its creation can contribute to progress, aspiring to build a more diverse and welcoming world in both online and offline realms.
For more information about PANtopia, visit our website.
Profile of PANtopia
Asia's first LGBTQ+ Metaverse
Game Language: English
Supported Platforms: Windows, macOS (laptops and desktops)
The first implementation of a social advocacy initiative spanning from the metaverse to offline, with social media engagement reaching 2 million people
Collaborative Partnerships: Brands, NGOs, LGBTQ+ bars, and KOL creators
Durex Taiwan, Unilever Taiwan, GagaOOLala, Taiwan Rainbow Civil Action Association, Taiwan Gender Equity Education Association, Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBTQ+) Hotline Association, Taiwan Equality Campaign, Wonderbar, Taboo, Abrazo bistro, Taihu Brewing