China goes after Japan in new game

Communist party hopes to facilitate patriotism among growing gaming community with Anti-Japan War Online.

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In many war games today, two sides are often at odds with each other, typically one seen as "good guys" and the other as "bad guys." World of Warcraft has the Alliance versus the Horde, Halo has humans versus the alien Covenant, and several World War II games allow players to pick sides, be it the Allied or Axis factions. These games, and several others, allow players to suit up on either side of the rift. WoW depends on gamers to play as orc characters, and Halo 2 allows gamers to suit up as a Covenant Elite in both the multiplayer and single-player modes.

It seems China's Communist Party, not historically known for showing the whole picture, has a different idea toward gaming. According to Interfax China, the not-so-subtly named Anti-Japan War Online, a new game from Chinese developer PowerNet Technology, is being sponsored by the China Communist Youth League to help create a sense of patriotism among China's exploding gaming community by allowing them to crush their offshore neighbors digitally.

In the game, players suit up as one of 17 Chinese characters from all walks of life, and defend their country from the invading Japanese during World War II. Looking to see it from the other side? Not going to happen. The game not only forbids gamers from playing as the Japanese, but also, according to The Guardian Unlimited, the developers made the Japanese side more ugly.

"Our developers hate Japan, so they want to make the game very provocative, but the team leaders have tried to tone down the violence," one project manager, Liu Junfeng of PowerNet Technology, told the Guardian.

The massively multiplayer online role-playing game is currently in beta testing and is expected to be available to the public by the end of the year.

The CCLY will also be working on future titles to help "educate" young players and generate a "national spirit."

There hasn't been any comment from Japanese officials yet, but don't expect to pick up a copy of the game in Tokyo. When Ubisoft revealed the plotline of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2 involved a warmongering North Korean military dictator, the North Korean government was quick to ban the game and denounce it as "propoganda." One newspaper barked, "This may be just a game to [America] now, but a war will not be a game for them later. In war, they will only face miserable defeat and gruesome deaths."

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