Despite China being a massive market for Western video games after the lifting of the console ban in 2014, there’s not a lot of traffic in the other direction. Local Chinese-developed games have struggled to make an impact in the West. Though it may be to do with a lack of unique IP and a lot of intellectual property theft, it’s also often cited as a perceived audience disinterest by publishers who have the reach necessary. Potentially successful games don’t get localised, or don’t find the support of major publishers.
However in the past few years, that seems to have changed. Suddenly, Chinese-developed games are turning up pride of place in online showcases, commanding foreign publisher interest, going the indie route, winning backing from Sony, and creating buzz all their own. We are on the cusp of a possible shifting of power in video games around the world – not only is China the biggest consumer base, but if these games sell well, it could also become the biggest development hub too.
At least one of these seven games is probably already on your radar, such has been their unprecedented level of penetration into the online hype centres. Get yourself covered by IGN, or published by Sony, perhaps you’ve got it made. Regardless of their future sales success, here are seven Chinese-developed games you should be psyched for.
Black Myth: Wukong
Taking the internet by storm with an impressive gameplay demonstration almost 3 years ago now, this ambitious soulslike action adventure RPG stars Monkey himself from the timeless ancient mythology of Journey to the West. It’s developed by Game Science which was founded right around the time of the console ban lift in 2014, and is based in two studios in Hangzhou and Shenzhen. Seemingly channelling the best of the Dark Souls/Sekiro formula, Black Myth Wukong is set to journey to western shores in Summer 2024 on PC and consoles.
Wuchang: Fallen Feathers
Coming from an indie outfit this time, another action adventure with a soulslike feel. WUCHANG: Fallen Feathers is set in a fictional fantasy version of the dying years of the Ming Dynasty and pits young female warrior Wuchang against mysterious forces that transform grim reality into supernatural horror. Developed by Leenzee Games, founded in 2016 and based out of Chengdu, but no release date or window yet.
Code: To Jin Yong
So this is potentially a big one. Coming from Lightspeed Studios, which is owned by Tencent, the third biggest publisher in the world at the time of writing, Code: To Jin Yong is a huge open-world MMORPG set in the world created in the wuxia novels of writer Jin Yong. Big in China, trust me. Wuxia to those in the West who may not be in the know, is the kind of flying martial arts that we saw in the films Hero and House of Flying Daggers. So far no release date or platforms.
Faith of Danschant: Hereafter
An action adventure RPG, Faith of Danschant: Hereafter is actually a sequel to Faith of Danschant, but I doubt you played that one. It never got translated into English. I did say these are just the first games gaining traction with Western audiences. Developed by Beijing Joyfun Games, this one looks to have a heavy narrative focus, tasking you with trying to protect your daughter in a world built around traditional Chinese mythology.
Where Winds Meet
Now this one has more of an Assassin’s Creed and Ghost of Tsushima feel mixed in with the action-heavy gameplay. Where Winds Meet is the first game from Everstone Studios, again based in China, and supported by massive Chinese publisher NetEase Games. Set in the Song dynasty and peppered with supernatural mythology, you’ve probably noticed a theme in these games trying to conquer the West.
Phantom Blade 0
Making a splash in an otherwise sedate Sony State of Play, Phantom Blade 0 is shaping up to be a stunning combat-centred action adventure. Being published by Sony and featured in their Chinajoy presentation has certainly got people talking, and probably gives Beijing-based developer S-Game’s first non-mobile game, the edge on this list. There is also a demo due in early 2024 and it’s clearly coming to Sony’s home console.
Lost Soul Aside
From the newest announcement, to possibly the oldest here, hack-and-slash adventure Lost Soul Aside was first announced back in 2016 – at the time an incredible internet sensation from a one-man developer. Over the years it’s lost a little of its Final Fantasy XV fan-project identity, gained a publisher in Sony, and increased from a one-man developer to a full-fledged 40-employee studio based in Shanghai. Featured recently in Sony’s ChinaJoy Showcase, Lost Soul Aside is on course to make a big splash with Final Fantasy fans. I may eat my words, but it’s set to release in 2024.
An incredible list by any reckoning, and full to the brim with action adventures set in China of the past. We hope there was something on this list that was new to you, and that you share our excitement for the coming few years as East meets West big time.