Today, a Chinese AAA studio announced that it would be adapting a famous wuxia novel series into a martial arts game. The demo trailer showed off stylish combat that heavily incorporates exaggerated aerial movements, which are a common hallmark of wuxia cinema but which I’ve rarely seen so gracefully replicated in games! In most action games, characters dodge and block attacks with both feet on the ground. Code: To Jin Yong lets you jump impractical distances simply because it’s cool.
The game is being developed by Lightspeed Studios, which is owned by Tencent and previously worked on the mobile ports for Apex Legends and PUBG. Code: To Jin Tong will be developed in Unreal Engine 5, which Tencent says will allow the developers to realise fantastical martial arts movements through the engine’s advanced physics system. From what the reveal trailer indicates, even the environment seems very responsive to the player’s actions. The individual leaves move according to the characters’ attacks, rather than being a canned special effect that plays whenever a specific move is executed. And I’ll be very happy if the camera movements seen in the trailer remain just as dynamic when the game finally launches.
And that’s a big if. The developers have only released AAA games for mobile, and the trailer acknowledges that the trailer “does not reflect the quality of the final product.” Tencent has not announced a release date, so we might still be several years away from being able to play the first wuxia game developed in Unreal Engine 5.
As previously reported, the Chinese game development scene is moving again as regulatory agencies start to approve more projects for domestic releases. But licenses are difficult to obtain even for gaming behemoths like Tencent, so AAA studios have started to focus on more premium experiences. Moreover, publishers are also looking to release games beyond just the domestic market. Wuchang: Fallen Feathers and Black Myth: Wukong are two other examples of premium Chinese games that have been announced during this push.