Chinese gaming giant Tencent announced on Monday that it is working on an ambitious new AAA-level title based on the work of Chinese wuxia martial arts literature titan, Jin Yong, during its annual game release event.

Why it matters: The news that Tencent will attempt to adapt Jin Yong’s work as a video game shows the firm’s ambition to create popular AAA titles with original work. A legendary writer, Jin Yong (also known as Louis Cha) and his vast literary creation in martial arts fantasies have often been compared to J.R.R Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings. Jin was one of the world’s bestselling authors and is hugely popular in the Chinese-speaking world.

  • Tencent’s LightSpeed Studios will oversee the development of Code: To Jin Yong. The studio was behind the development of the successful global hit, PUBG Mobile.
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Details: Code: To Jin Yong is the first video game adaptation of the works of Chinese wuxia writer Jin Yong. The video game is authorized by Ming Ho Publications, which owns the rights to Jin Yong’s work, and will be based on popular stories like The Legend of the Condor Heroes.

  • Code: To Jin Yong will be an open-world game in which players will explore a China set in ancient times, with popular martial arts characters featured in Jin Yong’s books, such as Yang Guo and Qiao Feng. 
  • The title is powered by Unreal Engine 5, a highly-rated game engine that offers good render quality and will enable developers to recreate intricate martial arts movements. Tencent released a trailer demonstrating a fight scene with various visual effects and swordplay powered by Unreal Engine 5.
  • To build the immersive gameplay, the game studio recreated a digitized Mountain Hua, an attraction in real life known for its challenging hikes and a major game setting. The studio used a technology called photogrammetry to scan pictures and real-life scenes of the mountain.
  • Tencent said in the release event that the title will be available worldwide “in the near future.”

Context: The game may compete with Black Myth: Wukong, another promising upcoming new title based on ancient Chinese myths and characters and developed by Chinese game firm Game Science. The story is based on Sun Wukong (or The Monkey King), the protagonist in the Chinese classical novel Journey to the West.

  • Jin Yong’s novels present Chinese game developers an opportunity to create a video game universe that incorporates hundreds of popular fictional martial arts characters into serial projects. Previously, Chinese animators and movie makers have been bringing Chinese mythological stories to life in a sprawling universe, with the likes of Sun Wukong, Nezha, and others, with mixed results.

Ward Zhou is a tech reporter based in Shanghai. He covers stories about industry of digital content, hardware, and anything geek. Reach him via ward.zhou[a] or Twitter @zhounanyu.