Chinese game development is often associated with mobile platforms and free-to-play titles, but things have changed in recent years. China-based studios have increasingly stepped with confidence into the “premium” console and PC spaces typically associated with the output of western and Japan-based outfits. Black Myth: Wu Kong, a new action game from Game Science, a studio based in Hangzhou, aims to be another leap in that direction.
Check out a lengthy 13-minute trailer comprised of “pre-alpha” gameplay:
Black Myth: Wu Kong is inspired by Journey to the West, the legendary Chinese novel. Wu Kong (also known as Sun Wukong, The Monkey King, or Son Goku) is traditionally portrayed as a companion of Monk Sanzang, protecting him on a quest to India to recover Buddhist Sutra. Journey to the West characters have appeared all across pop culture, including major game titles like Fate/Grand Order and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. Black Myth: Wu Kong, however, appears to be telling a different story, leading with an introduction from a grizzled old monkey-man raising doubts about the veracity of the original account.
The trailer then transitions to a lengthy gameplay sequence, where Wu Kong (presumably) maneuvers around various enemies in the form of an insect. He tackles several bosses, fighting them with an iron-tipped staff. He defeats one, claiming its flaming spear, and stores it by using magic to store it as a hair on his head. Wu Kong also turns into a giant demonic ape to take down a large group of enemies, and ends the demo with a fight against a massive wolf-like beast. During that fight Wu Kong employs magic, turning his hairs into clones of himself, and wielding the flaming spear to transform into the enemy he defeated earlier. The mechanics of Black Myth: Wu Kong appear to be inspired in part by From Software games like Demon’s Souls and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Combat is conducted from a third-person camera angle, using dodge rolls to move away from danger. Management of stamina and health also seems to be a key concern. A montage at the end of the trailer teases more environments, large enemies and a sort of “dark fantasy” aesthetic drawing heavily from Chinese legend. The official site (in Chinese) promises many more characters, 72 character abilities, and a high-quality “action RPG” experience.
Game Science, which was founded in 2014 and includes former Tencent staff in its roster, is using Unreal Engine 4 in Black Myth: Wu Kong‘s development. The game has no release date as yet, and appears to be a long way from final release, considering the studio is still staffing up for it. They do plan a release on PC and “major platforms”. Release on streaming-based game services will be also be considered provided performance is acceptable.