A heroic story reaches out from a bygone era

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A heroic story reaches out from a bygone era


From left: Dynasty Warriors developed by Japan’s Koei, Changchun developed by the Korean company Wemade and Kingdom Warriors developed by Webzen’s studio in China. [JoongAng Ilbo]

In Asia there is an old saying, “Don’t discuss life with anyone who hasn’t read Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
This epic book has a large influence on the lives of many Asians. There are currently two movies being made based on the historical novel. One is directed by John Woo, the Hollywood director with credits including “Face/Off” and “Mission Impossible 2.” The other is being helmed by Daniel Lee, who directed “Moonlight Express.”
The same fierce competition can be seen in the game industry in China, Korea and Japan; the three main Asian countries that have been influenced by the book. All three countries are currently developing soon-to-be-released games based on the events depicted in Three Kingdoms.
Wemade, which received the development license for, “Changchun Online,” a Mmorpg (Massively multiplayer online role-playing game) from Shanda Entertainment, a Chinese media entertainment company, is planned for release next week.
Webzen, a Korean game developer, is currently developing Kingdom of Warriors, at the company’s studio in China and is planning to start a closed beta service this year.
The Japanese game company Koei is currently working on localizing its famous Dynasty Warrior’s online service for release in the Korean market next year.
Although many Korean game developers have tried to produce online games based on Three Kingdoms, many have failed.
Game experts believe that Wemade’s Changchun will be the first to have a significant impact on the market.
Changchun focuses on the different military strategies between kingdoms.
The best feature of the game is the massive battles that take place at the borderlines of the kingdoms.
Webzen’s Kingdom of Warriors has a specific goal, which is to unify a divided China, but it does not follow the two main characters of Three Kingdoms, Liu Bei and Cao Cao.
Instead the game focuses on the strategies that are used to gaining more land and fortresses. Therefore, this game places importance on the building of alliances.
Koei’s Dynasty Warriors was previously developed for console games.
The game features heroes who lived before and during the Three Kingdoms who combat with hosts of enemies while completing specific missions.
Therefore it is less macro than Wemade’s or Webzen’s game.
The similarity between the three games is that the battles have one hero versus many foot soldiers.
The game that employs this form of play to the greatest extent is the Japanese Dynasty Warriors.
Additionally, Dynasty Warriors is the game that hews most closely to the original storyline of the Three Kingdoms novel.
Changchun’s scenario is rewritten according to the player’s game-play, which at the end creates a new world.
The Kingdom of Warriors is closer to a fictional tale of Chinese chivalry.
So why has The Three Kingdoms won so much popularity in the gaming industry?
“As the saying from Three Kingdoms goes, heroes rise up during turbulent times,” said Ryu KI-deuk, an executive at Wemade. “The difficult economy help people get hooked on stories from a bygone era when it was easier to be a hero.”

By Park Myeong-ki Ilgan Sports [ojlee82@joongang.co.kr]
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