All China’s Gamers Want for Christmas Is an AAA Game To Call Their Own

Can the country’s studios transfer their mobile gaming success to the time-consuming, costly world of AAA game development?

Last month, miHoYo, the Shanghai-based developer of the hit cross-platform game “Genshin Impact,” announced plans for a new, 100-employee studio in Montreal. The news comes half a year after TiMi Studio Group, a subsidiary of Tencent, said it would open its own Montreal studio.

China’s gaming giants have been expanding overseas for years. TiMi, for example, already has studios in Seattle and Los Angeles. What makes these recent moves noteworthy, at least for Chinese gamers, is the new studio’s mission statement: to create and develop true “AAA” gaming properties.

There is no universally accepted definition for what constitutes a AAA game. Within China, players like to joke that AAA titles are defined as those that take “a lot of time, a lot of resources, and a lot of money” to make. Done right, they are blockbusters: titles like “The Last of Us,” “Red Dead Redemption,” and “Halo” — all characterized by elaborate single-player plots, complex gameplay, and high-end graphics that test the technical limits of consoles and PCs.

These qualities are not typically counted among the Chinese gaming industry’s strengths, which is one reason miHoYo’s announcement attracted such attention domestically. Although Chinese firms have produced or bought the rights to some of the world’s most popular mobile and multiplayer titles, including “League of Legends,” “Genshin Impact,” and “PUBG: Battlegrounds,” they have traditionally not been willing to invest the time and money needed to create original AAA titles.  Continue to read the full article here

– This article originally appeared on Sixth Tone.