Call it a reflection of China’s growing soft power. Call it a response to gamers getting tired of playing through the same brown middle eastern environments over and over again. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that Western game developers are increasingly sending their players into China (or China-inspired virtual environments) to kill the bad guy, find the treasure, or save the princess. Here are just some of the recent games that have let gamers into the Middle Kingdom:
Call of Duty: Black Ops
The first Black Ops game features a major mission in Hong Kong, which tasks players with sprinting through the city’s cramped hallways and across roofs during a rainstorm. It’s all very reminiscent of the real thing (except for all the gunplay, of course). And China also plays a big role in Black Ops II as a major antagonist in a new cold war.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Set in a future where humans can augment themselves with technology — a future that’s looking a lot closer these days, by the way — about half of Deux Ex takes place in a futuristic Chinese city. Sure, there’s a lot of dramatic license happening, but the developers did their homework, and the place does actually feel quite a bit like China even if it’s full of Blade Runner-esque sci-fi squalor. You’ll even get people shouting “Laowai!” at you on the street, just like real foreign visitors to China do!
Sleeping Dogs puts players in the shoes of an undercover cop in Hong Kong as he worms his way into one of the city’s most powerful triad gangs. It’s a lot like a Chinese Grand Theft Auto, and wandering around a fully-realized and completely alive Hong Kong in the game is a pretty cool way to do some traveling if you can’t afford the plane tickets. I’ve never been a triad, of course, but speeding around the city on a bike and slamming into buses because I keep forgetting Hong Kongers drive on the left side of the road is some of the most fun I’ve had in a China-based game. (I don’t have much time for gaming these days, but I’ve been slowly working my way through Sleeping Dogs over the last few months and so far it has been great).
Resident Evil 6
The latest entry in the Resident Evil series takes players to China for some of the series’ typical zombie-slaying. Sure, it’s not the best resident evil game — not even close, really — but if you want to fight zombies in China, this is probably your best bet. (Though of course there’s always Plants vs. Zombies: Great Wall Edition to consider as well).
Cursed Mountain is a spooky survival horror game that takes place in Tibet’s Himalayan heights. Sure, it’s a Wii title so it’s not nearly as nice looking as most of the other games on this list, but in what other game will you get a chance to visit Tibet?
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Oh right, adventurers also get a chance to traipse to Tibet in Uncharted 2 when the game’s protagonist wakes up in a Tibetan village. If you ever wished that Indiana Jones had taken a trip to Tibet, this is the game to fulfill your fantasy.
Whore of the Orient
This one isn’t even out yet, but when it does drop sometime in 2015, it will allow players to explore early 20th century Shanghai. And given that the team behind it is the same folks who made L.A. Noire, expect a lot of attention to detail. This is one virtual China trip I’m definitely looking forward to.
Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days
Dog Days was, by all accounts, a pretty bad game, but it was set in Shanghai and the whole game takes place in the dirty back alleys and buildings of that city. In fact, it even ends — spoiler alert — with a raucous crime spree in Shanghai’s Pudong international airport.
Army of Two: The 40th Day
The 40th Day is another China-based game that didn’t do too well with the critics. It features a masked duo of burly dudes blasting and bro-fisting their way through Shanghai. Along the way they even visit some landmarks like the Shanghai Zoo, the Bund, and a traditional temple that’s probably based on some real Shanghai location (it looks a bit like the City God temple).
And of course, these aren’t the only games with a strong Chinese influence. The latest World of Warcraft expansion, for example, is pretty obviously inspired by China, and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is a fanciful take on one of China’s literary classics: Journey to the West. Since China doesn’t seem likely to disappear from the world stage anytime soon, expect to see more games set in China as time goes by. And, hopefully, expect to see more games developed in China making it big on the global stage!
(This post was inspired by a similar list on QQ Games)
The post Travel China in Video Games: Western Developers Increasingly Looking to China for Game Settings appeared first on Tech in Asia.
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