Game On: 4 Made-in-China Console Games to Watch in 2016

Now that China’s ban on console games has been lifted, the first entirely made-in-China video games are entering the gaming market – finally giving domestic developers the time to come to the forefront and get their game on.

China has a booming gaming industry. Despite different market hurdles, such as rampant software piracy and governmental measures to control game content, China’s game industry is estimated to be worth approximately $22 billion – the largest in the world.

In 2000, China banned console games due to fears that the devices would have a negative effect on the mental and physical development of Chinese children. As stated by China’s Ministry of Culture in July last year, the ban on console game came to an official end, allowing systems such as PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Wii U into the Chinese market.

#1 SHIO: a glimpse of ancient China

One of the games that will be released on the Xbox One in the fourth quarter of 2016 is Shio (汐). Shio is a game developed by the Shanghai-based Coconut Island Studio.

shio

By the end of last year, Shio was put up on game distribution platform Steam, allowing netizens to vote on whether or not to give it the green light for development. The game was given a ‘go’ after only seven days. Many Chinese netizens on Steam have left comments to express their support for the game.

“I hope that the best independent games will become the foundation for the revival of domestic games in China,” commented Jeffcao1996.

Shio revolves around a mysterious warrior with a hidden past. Player use their gaming skills to work their way through a maze of ancient Chinese villages. Over time, the story unfolds and players find out more about the main character’s past, helping him to find a way out of the maze.

Shio is a challenging 2D platformer that features responsive, fluid and action-packed gameplay. The game has an atmospheric and unique design that gives a glimpse of the architecture found in ancient China. Shio uses a chain-jumping mechanic that reminds you of the martial arts that can only be seen in Wuxia films. As the game progresses, mechanics and elements from previous levels are combined to make each level more difficult.

#2 CANDLE MAN: relight your fire

Candle Man (蜡烛人) is another made-in-China console game for the Xbox One. In 2013, the game was first created by the independent game developer Spotlightor Interactive, which is based in Beijing. It was first released as a free-to-play web browser game, but it is now being developed for the Xbox One  and is expected to be released later in 2016.

candleman

Candle Man is a simple 3D platformer that uses the famous Unity game engine. In the game you play as a robot candle and you have to help navigate it out of dungeon-like levels. The idea of the game is that you can light yourself on fire to provide the needed light to be able to see the pitfalls and layout of the path ahead – but the light only burns for a total of 10 seconds per level. The levels have low lighting and are full of the typical obstacles like holes, fireballs and spinning saw blades.

“A lot of work went into this game, and it shows. I like the artistic approach of a low-light game. It definitely adds suspense,” said one of the netizens after having played the game.

#3 HIDDEN DRAGON: Chinese palaces and bamboo forests

Megafun Games is a relatively young company with their first game still in development. The Shenzhen-based company is hard at work developing Hidden Dragon: Shadow Trace (隐龙传:影踪). The game is set to be released in 2016 for the PS4.

hddendraqgon

Hidden Dragon is a 3D side-scrolling game with beautiful sceneries from ancient Chinese palaces and bamboo forests. The game is a beat ‘em up style game with a story of vengeance that takes place during China’s Tang Dynasty (唐朝). Like any other action game, in Hidden Dragon players will make use of combos to fight their way to the end of each level where they need to defeat the Boss. The game is expected to contain 20 hours’ worth of gameplay with eight main levels and also DLCs later on.

The development team of Hidden Dragon released a demo to the public last year. After playing the demo, many netizens had a lot of negative comments about the game. Some complained that the gameplay was too simple with too little combos available for use. Others pointed out that the movements in the game were too rigid. However, there is still time for the development team to improve the game seeing that the game is only scheduled to be released in the latter half of 2016.

#4 KOI: Purifying a koi fish pond

Another PS4 game to come out of China is Koi (鲤). The game is set to be released the Shanghai-based Oasis Games for the PlayStation Store at the end of March.

koi

The game is an intriguing and philosophical title that has you purifying a koi fish pond by solving puzzles, opening lotus flowers and dodging predators. It also appropriately makes use of a “hypnotic” Chinese piano score to soothe your mind as you guide your koi through the pond. When released, Koi will be the first ever console game to be entirely have been made in China (engadget.com).

As of now, there is not one single console game on the market that was entirely produced by Chinese game developers. Japan has since long been the dominant console game producer in the Asian-Pacific arena. But the release of these four games might just be the beginning of a new generation of made-in-China console games, finally giving Chinese developers a chance to get their game on the global market.

By Chi Wen

Images:
Shio – http://www.jianshu.com/p/739ebaf4f5f6
Koi – http://www.engadget.com/2016/03/05/first-chinese-made-ps4-game/
http://news.gao7.com/article/619546-20151228-1

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