Game-Time report/Wang Xiaobo said: “It’s easy for a person to become romantic when writing about things he doesn’t understand.” Martial arts, which Chinese people are extremely familiar with, may be the most “wretched” subject in creation. However, “The Condor”, which has been in paid testing for nearly a month, has obviously overcome this most difficult hurdle.
In the past month, the game has gained favor from a large number of test users and even martial arts fans, with positive comments such as “exquisite, unique, and full of content” pouring in. Even before it is launched, “The Condor” has already sparked heated discussions and re-creations on Bilibili, TapTap, Weibo and other platforms.
Not long ago, with the opening of Mu Nianci’s card pool “Red Shirt”, the popularity of the officially released “Xia Shi PV” has soared. With high-quality Live 2D and character illustrations that are comparable to the protagonists of the second game, PV’s B station has quickly exceeded one million views, triggering heated discussions among players about Mu Nianci and the game.
A highly active community ecology has always been the most important prerequisite for the birth of popular products. It became a hit before it was released online, and it is becoming more and more people’s first impression of “The Condor”. The resulting snowball effect has not only gained a good reputation among players, but the number of reservations for the game across the entire network has also soared to 6.1 million.
Perhaps it means that this possibly “the best Jin Yong game ever” is expected to be on the player’s desktop. Game-Time would like to discuss further: How did “The Condor” gain such high popularity and become so different from other martial arts games even before it was launched?
The ultimate version of Chinese RPG answers
This is not the first time Game-Time has paid attention to “The Condor”. In previous reports, we have thought: After the test of time and the market, “Chivalry” has become the antidote to Chinese RPGs. Now Game-Time wants to further explore – what is the ultimate answer to Chinese RPG. One month after “The Condor” started testing, the answer seems to have become increasingly clear:
On the premise of creating a cultural heritage and inner temperament based on the details of historical facts, and using a huge amount of content to create a free and real virtual world, this is the answer that “The Condor” delivers.
In terms of plot, “The Condor” adopts the AVG multi-branch narrative method. Different choices will lead to different branch directions. For example, Guo Jing and Yang Kang are given two completely different paths at the beginning. Although each choice will have a permanent impact on the world and story, players can also experience the complete plot and experience content by repeatedly pushing back the timeline.
This design effectively solves the problem of “old wine in new bottles” and brings players a more dimensional experience. During the advancement of the plot, hidden plots can be unlocked by talking to the characters. Even if the story is the same as the original work, it can bring a different experience. Freshness and immersion; at the same time, this multi-threaded narrative mode can also provide more perspectives for players who have never been exposed to Jin Yong’s stories.
The addition of the original protagonist camp “Wuchan Yuan” provides players with a zero-degree perspective that is different from the original work, allowing players to truly become participants in the story and have the opportunity to rewrite some difficult sections.
It is reported that the entire timeline of the game covers 19 Jianghu eras and lasts for 150 years. For a long period of time, players with “Eternal Life” will grow up with the characters, not just being spectators, but participating in the ups and downs of the century-old epic.
Many other aspects of the design also fully demonstrate the “freedom and realism” unique to the martial arts world.
For example, in terms of gameplay, although there are sects such as Peach Blossom Island, Beggar Clan, and Quanzhen Sect, there are no career settings. Players can choose different combinations of weapons, moves, mental techniques, skills, and secrets according to their own styles. Different players can play Diverse moves of your own.
This kind of design that breaks the traditional martial arts RPG is not only highly consistent with the realistic world that fans expect, but also helps players freely explore the in-game world and spend more time on their favorite leisure gameplay.
For players who like to explore, there are a large number of puzzle-solving mechanisms, martial arts secrets and other collectibles and rewards in the open world waiting to be explored, immersing themselves in this beautiful ancient world like a picture book; while casual users who love business can purchase real estate in the city , the game has created an industry system for the first time, allowing players to play craftsmen, refiners, farmers and other professions, and experience this real world that is constantly operating.
Play the cultural card well and condense the real and dream-like “Song Ciyuan”
In the past two years, the trend of quality production has led to the emergence of more and more large-scale productions. Market competition is getting higher and higher, and game quality is no longer the only indicator that captures the minds of users. There are more and more signs that show that only by taking the lead in playing the cultural card can we better occupy the high ground of future head competition. Among them, the foothold of Chinese RPG has always been national culture.
So, how to make the entire open world more realistic and at the same time make players’ eyes brighter, “The Condor” chose to create a “Song Ciyuan” full of fireworks.
“The Condor Shooting” has researched a large number of historical materials and invited well-known experts as consultants to ensure that the game’s costumes, architecture, weapons, music and other contents not only retain the sense of the Southern Song Dynasty, but also conform to modern people’s aesthetics. Whether it is scenic spots, people’s clothing, architectural design or carriages, horses and sedans, it makes people dream back to the Southern Song Dynasty.
Not only is the time in the game completely synchronized with the real world, but each character also has his own independent rhythm of life, working at sunrise and resting at sunset. Players can only unlock side plots unique to that time by interacting with NPCs within a specified time. For example, if you come to Lingshui Courtyard at Mao or Xu, you can hear the sound of morning bells and evening drums; if you come to Zhongdu Restaurant during the day, you can listen to Liu Yong’s poem “Looking at the Sea Tide”, and even cheer for the performer and interact with other “music friends” .
Of course, players can also experience the rich and varied delicacies and tea drinks of the Song and Jin Dynasties while advancing the plot or wandering around. Referring to ancient books such as “Tokyo Meng Hua Lu”, “Meng Liang Lu”, “Old Martial Arts” and so on, “The Condor Shooting” reproduces the Song people’s exquisite pursuit of food in the game.
For example, in the plot of “Deal or No Deal”, Huang Rong and Guo Jingchu met and ordered snacks of “four dried fruits”, “four fresh fruits”, “two salty and sour fruits”, and “four preserved fruits”, as well as flower-cooked quail, fried duck feet, and chicken tongue soup Waiting for eight drinks and dishes. It also shows players the table manners of the Song Dynasty and allows them to immerse themselves in the food culture of the Song and Jin Dynasties.
From the Zen-style freehand world scenery, to the architectural landscapes such as the Eight Scenic Spots of Yanjing and the Eight Great Water Courtyards, to the rich exploration gameplay experience, we restore the massive details of the Song Dynasty’s clothing, food, housing and transportation culture… Whether it is the overall atmosphere creation or the details that can be seen everywhere, “Shooting the Condor” all reveals its exquisite study of traditional culture and its ingenuity in reviving the history of the Southern Song Dynasty. And through entertaining and educational methods, it subtly conveys the unique poetry and delicacy of traditional culture to players.
In my impression, this is the first time that a game has presented the life and elegance of the Song Dynasty people in such a large, detailed and vivid way before the players’ eyes. It has gained so much popularity even before it is launched, which will not only help future first-timers break through, but is also expected to become an important window for young players to fall in love with traditional culture and Chinese aesthetics.
Martial arts is ushering in its third expansion. What role does “The Condor” play?
Martial arts was born in “chivalrous literature” such as “Historical Records: Biographies of Rangers” and “The Biography of the Qiu Bearded Guest”. It was not until the rise of popular literature in the late Qing Dynasty that it gradually took shape, but the “xia” element was gradually weakened and the “martial arts” element was continuously highlighted. Until Jin Yong came out, he used fourteen novels to construct the framework of “new martial arts”, which transformed martial arts into “chivalrous novels”, completed the second self-sublimation, and entered the larger Chinese cultural circle.
In Jin Yong’s view, martial arts novels should be renamed chivalrous novels. “The most important thing is not martial arts, but chivalry – the chivalrous spirit in the characters, chivalrous and righteous.” Indeed, in Jin Yong’s novels that “exhaust the spirit of chivalry”, no matter what the subject matter or what character appears, the core content of “chivalry” is its greatest charm.
And this may just explain the rare popularity of “The Condor” during the testing period.
Different from traditional martial arts games that focus on tasks, activities, and rankings, “Condor Shooting” pays more attention to “content” such as gameplay, characters, and plot, that is, using a huge volume to build a “rotating” real world. This content-driven model is easily reminiscent of the “hot and popular” two-dimensional games in the eyes of young people.
With the explosion of second-tier games in the past two years, not only the new generation of users, but also a large number of players who are willing to try other content-based games have been cultivated. Now that the second dimension is in the cold, “The Condor”, which has the same temperament, is ushering in an excellent opportunity. It is expected to connect young players through enduring martial arts themes and high-quality content, and even connect with a larger scale of users.
From another perspective, the emergence of more and more AAA and console-based large-scale productions means that martial arts games are no longer simply copying novels, but have truly taken over the banner of inheritance, and martial arts culture has begun to usher in its third phase. opportunity for expansion. Judging from the performance of this test, “The Condor”, which innovates the martial arts RPG experience, plays an important role that cannot be ignored.
On the one hand, the game has created a free and real world of the Southern Song Dynasty through massive content, showing the charm of martial arts to more and more young users. On the other hand, innovations such as “One World Server” and “Three Terminal Interoperability” reveal the game’s greater ambition – to create a long-term and complete rotating open world and make Jin Yong’s martial arts great again.
Of course, innovation does not equal success, but “The Condor” has never given up on upward breakthroughs. In the 2023 year-end summary, the production team mentioned that they experienced many “firsts.” Although this road is full of thorns and steps are faltering, we still stick to our hearts and keep persevering. Only in this way can it be possible to secure the title of “the best Jin Yong game in history” and achieve a new level of martial arts games.
“The Condor” has already shown a very high quality and future development limit during the beta period. If the public beta maintains the same level, the game is likely to become a landmark product in the gaming circle and even the entire martial arts culture. As for the answer? With new actions happening frequently, everything will be revealed soon.