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Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:22 pm

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Xuan-Yuan Sword (and other Chinese RPGs)

by RedSwirl » Thu Feb 25, 2016 11:32 pm

I don't know if I'll ever get around to these games but I think they're huge potential material for SOMEONE in the squad.

This game called Xuan-Yuan Sword: The Gate of Firmament just hit Steam. I was just thinking about these games a couple days ago, and they're pretty much an entire world of RPGs unknown to conventional western audiences. The Steam page hints that the series has 25 years of history but that's not quite the full story.

Apparently some companies in Taiwan have been making single-player RPGs on PC since the early 90's. They take the basic building blocks of JRPGs and apply them to a mix of Chinese history and mythology. I'm told that as a result these games have extremely dense storylines full of war and politics and such. The only even remotely similar JRPG might be Suikoden, itself based on a Chinese classical epic, and I'm told even those games aren't close to the narratives some of these "CRPGs" achieve. This post on GAF seems to have good information, but MobyGames seems to be the closest thing to a comprehensive English-language source on these games.

There seem to be two main popular franchises: Xuan-Yuan Sword, and Legend of Sword and Fairly. To my knowledge, this latest game on Steam is the first one to be officially released in English. It's a Xuan-Yuan side game that came out last year. Visually and mechanically these games all seem to have been rough around the edges compared to their Japanese contemporaries, but many still consider them to be great games. Xuan-Yuan in particular got popular enough to get a Chinese TV series based on it.

It's just really unusual in the game industry when countries output content extremely reflective of their national cultures. Most of the time it's pretty much just Japan vs the western Hollywood-esque coalition, where even Swedish developers are making games about American soldiers. The only other example you get is Eastern Europe -- Witcher III being the biggest example (largely based on Slavic mythology with some figures inspired by Polish history).

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