The 13-minute gameplay video of “Black Myth Wu Kong,” an upcoming role-playing PC and console game by a relatively unknown Chinese indie studio, is taking the internet by storm.

Why it matters: While China’s mobile game developers have found global success with mass-market hits like Tencent’s “Honor of Kings,” its studios haven’t produced critically acclaimed premium games.

  • It could be the first China-made premium game to make it big globally, ushering in a new era for Chinese studios.
  • The global gaming industry has faced significant disruption from Covid-19, with major studios announcing production delays and cancelling the industry’s biggest events.

“I feel if this game got properly released, it would become the first genuine Chinese next gen game. It looks very good!”

—Top-voted comment from “dream208on gamers’ subreddit

Details: Game Science, the studio behind Black Myth, released the gameplay video on Youtube on Thursday morning. A day later, the video has gained 426,000 views. Including reposts by other Youtube channels, it has reached almost 3 million views. On Chinese streaming platform Bilibili, the video has been viewed more than 11 million times.

  • The response has been overwhelmingly positive, with commenters and major gaming outlets exclaiming, “It came out of nowhere” and describing it as “impressive” and “gorgeous.”
  • Black Myth is an action-RPG with martial arts and mystical elements that runs on Unreal Engine 4.
  • Black Myth Wu Kong is deeply rooted in Chinese culture, inspired by one of the four Chinese classics, “Journey to the West.”
  • It borrows the popular “Dark Souls” art style and format. It will be released on PC and consoles, the studio said.
  • The developers will need a lot of time to implement what they showed in the gameplay video on a full-length game. Game Science said on its site it will “not take 500 years” for the game to be released, referencing a story in Journey to the West.
  • It will be at least two years before it is released, Daniel Ahmad, senior analyst at research firm Niko Partners, wrote on Twitter. He said the game has been in the works for at least two years.
  • The Game Science team is looking to hire another 19 developers to ramp up development, according to its site.

Context: Game Science has previously released three other PC and mobile titles, the most acclaimed being 2016 multiplayer strategy game, “Art of War: Red Tides.” This is its first title to be released on consoles.

  • The studio was set up in 2014 by former Tencent developers, according to Ahmad. Some had worked on “Asura,” another Journey to the West-inspired game that was expected to be a big hit for Tencent but flopped.

READ MORE: INSIDER | The sun never sets on Tencent’s gaming empire

Eliza was TechNode's blockchain and fintech reporter until July 2021, when she moved to CoinDesk to cover crypto in Asia. Get in touch with her via email or Twitter.