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A Hardcore Gaming World of Extreme Difficulty!

The first thing Zhao Youyue saw as she passed through “Two Dimensional Gate” was the title, “Tale of Wuxia 3 – Swords of the Future”. [1]

Zhao Youyue was ecstatic. Finally, the “Two Dimensional Gate” was doing its job!

This was a triple-A hardcore title, and had been entirely made in China. It was not as popular as Zhao Youyue had expected. The designers just had to make it too difficult for most. [2]

As a sandbox game, players enjoyed the freedom of doing anything they wanted in the game. They could be a courteous swordsman, a despicable thief, or even a filthy rapist! Zha Feng, the producer of “Tale Of Wuxia,” was widely-known throughout the industry. A lot of players cursed him for making highly tricky games. He must enjoy torturing players!

Most of the players could not finish the prequels of “Tale Of Wuxia.” Beating the mini-boss of some random scumbag faction was already nigh-impossible. How do they even move on from there?

That first mini-boss also doubled as the game spinmeister who persuaded incompetent players to quit. They were not worthy of playing “Tales of Wuxia”!

Players questioned the claims of the game which stated that it was simply telling the tale of a righteous swordsman. These questions were not without ground, as a great deal of the quests actually involved despicable acts

Zha Feng had clarified that the “swordsmen” in his game were meant to depict “poor souls trapped between good and bad.” Therefore, the characters they played in the game was struggling to survive by defending the innocent, while being the executioner of the devil at the same time.

That’s right, in the prequels of “Tale Of Wuxia,” mastery of a martial art did not affect the game much. The strongest martial art master in the game was almost beaten to death in a fight with twelve young men. He had better odds only in one versus one battles.

In other words, players should avoid fighting a crowd. The best method was to isolate them, defeating them one by one.

There were only a handful of iconic martial art masters in this reality. In people’s hearts, a master must be powerful regarding inner strength and the skill of light body. They could defend the weak and innocent while winning the war against an army of ten thousand soldiers, ripping off the head of its general.

Usually, a protagonist in a game gradually mastered different skills, and eventually became the undisputed hero.

Unfortunately, it was not Gu Long nor Jin Yong who wrote this novel. Even though some of them had been made into dramas, they could not leave a deep impression in the hearts of people.

This world produced new novels of fairy tales and fantasy almost on a daily basis!

In this reality, China was a leading country. It was a world leader in the gaming industry and movie industry. They consistently produced remarkable fairy tales and fantasy themed products. Martial Arts-themed franchises would only last a few years before being replaced.

On the contrary, in a parallel reality, the martial art novels of Liang Yusheng [3], Jin Yong and Gu Long were always the top choices of people – until the birth of the online novel platform.

This reality did not even host a single, influential martial artist!

Therefore, Zha Feng’s depiction of martial arts was that of a darker, despicable vein. His following sequels of “Tale of Wuxia” only intensified the tone.

He used an alternate history as the premise of his game. He told alternate histories of “Sixteen Kingdoms” [4] where Han Chinese citizens [5] were traded “goods” as slaves or even as a food source [6]

There were some random jokes on the internet, stating that cannibalism was one of the effective methods of “The Great Ethnic Fusion.” [7]

“Tales of Wuxia” contained various creatures, such as serial killers, monsters, demons, evil spirits, and zombies. Perhaps they all represented the various aspects of human’s dark nature. Players could choose to work as part-time exorcists, for these creatures were the source of valuable ingredients of rare potions.

A lot of people thought that this was an anti-hero swordsman sandbox, open-world, a book that one could read and understand instantly. Only after being tortured by the complexity of the game, players would just release their frustrations on its producer Zha Feng. When faced with some unbeatable boss or a stage which required skillful controller-work, they would screenshot it and upload it with the hashtag – “Malicious Contraption of Zha Feng”!

When you type “Zha Feng” on the google search bar, “Malicious Contraption of Zha Feng” often appeared as the second choice.

Nevertheless, it was one of the skilled players’ favorite genres. They enjoyed being tortured by countless failures for that one sweet moment of success. They could play it from night to dawn, from dawn to night. Open each victory, they craved for another challenge and started the torturing process all over again.

It had been a while since “Tale of Wuxia 3 – Swords of the Future” was released to the public. It was the least challenging sequel for fans of “Tale of Wuxia.” New technology in the market had simplified the mechanics of the game. Players could now perform a combo with ease, lowering the difficulty in the game.

Graded as a triple-A China-made product, its graphics were almost flawless. Zha Feng worked for a gaming company that was famous for its single-player games. He did not have to worry about the development costs, as Tencent announced its full support for the funding.

Zha Feng came from an established family, complete with the wealth and connection one might expect. Unlike those blood-sucking games that offered money-based, in-game solutions, he did not care about money. To him, the game was an art that required patience and would settle for nothing short of perfection on the little details.

“Tale of Wuxia 3 – Swords of the Future” had a distinguished reputation. However, only a handful of players bought it. After all, not many players were skillful enough for it, and not many players were patient enough to work their way through it.

Upon release, triple-A titles usually provided loads of expansion and updates. The base game would be as expansive as it was. Players could treat it as the Martial Arts version of “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” [8]. The controls were much more complicated than “The Witcher 3’s”, but its storyline and sudden plot twists were nothing lesser than “The Witcher 3”.

With the help of the “Two Dimensional Gate,” Zhao Youyue stepped into this world. Everything she did would appear as downloadable content.

Zhao Youyue did not rush into the search for a suitable female character.She had her priorities, and she intended to test the difficulty of the game before any decision was made.

After all, she knew very little of this reputable yet unpopular game.

Other than the high skill demand, a powerful computer was needed even to run it, or one could go for the optimized version on the console.

It had been a while since her last broadcast about a game. Now, she could kill two birds with a stone.


Translation Note:

[1] This game does not exist in reality; it is a hypothetical, future version of Tale of Wuxia: The Pre-Sequel. Tale of Wuxia: The Pre-Sequel is the official sequel of Tale of Wuxia which surpasses the latter in every way, is a CRPG developed by Fenghuang Game and Helio Studio. This U3D-based game includes a better story, funnier events, and enhanced gameplay. Tale of Wuxia: The Pre-Sequel enriched the character development in Martial Arts and skill variance. Your character can not only learn Arts itself but also invite multiple members into the squad and select their skills. The brand-new Squad-combat Mode and Jianghu Tales Mode randomize the gameplay, different squad-members and talents grant you various tactics.

[2] AAA (pronounced “triple-A”) is an informal classification used for video games produced and distributed by a mid-sized or significant publisher, typically having higher development and marketing budgets. AAA game development is associated with high economic risk and with high levels of sales required to obtain profitability.

In the mid-2010s the term AAA+ began to be used to describe AAA type games that generated additional revenue over time in a similar fashion to MMOs by using the software as a service (SaaS) methods, such as season passes or expansion packs.

[3] Chen Wentong (5 April 1926 22 January 2009), better known by his pen name Liang Yusheng, was a Chinese writer. Credited as the pioneer of the “New School” () of the wuxia genre in the 20th century, Chen was one of the best-known wuxia writers in the latter half of the century, alongside Jin Yong and Gu Long.

[4] The Sixteen Kingdoms, less commonly the Sixteen States, was a chaotic period in Chinese history from 304 CE to 439 CE when the political order of northern China fractured into a series of short-lived sovereign states, most of which were founded by the “Five Barbarians” who had settled in northern China during the preceding centuries and participated in the overthrow of the Western Jin dynasty in the early 4th century. The period ended with the unification of northern China by the Northern Wei in the early 5th century.

[5] The Han Chinese, Han people or simply Han(UK: /hn/; US: /hn/; Mandarin pronunciation: [xn]) (Chinese: , pinyin: Hnrn, literally “Han people”; or , pinyin: Hnz, literally “Han ethnicity” or “Han ethnic group”) are an East Asian ethnic group and nation. They constitute the world’s largest ethnic group, making up about 18% of the global population. The estimated 1.3 billion Han Chinese are mostly concentrated in Mainland China, where they make up about 92% of the total population.

[6] The practice of cannibalism () has a peculiarly detailed history in China.[1] According to Key Ray Chong, while the Chinese are not uniquely different from other cultures when it comes to the practice of “survival cannibalism,” they are utterly unique in their use of so-called “learned cannibalism.” Learned cannibalism, as termed by Key Ray Chong, is quite the opposite of its survival-orientated counterpart, and is widely considered to be “an expression of love and hatred, and a peculiar extension of Confucian doctrine.”[2]

[7] “Ethnic Fusion” is the integration of two equal ethnic groups by long-term common growth, and the national differences can eventually disappear and merge into a new nation. The product of migration is mixed with each other, and the various ethnic groups learn from each other and develop together.

[8] The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a 2015 action role-playing video game developed and published by CD Projekt. Based on The Witcher series of fantasy novels by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, it is the sequel to the 2011 game The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. Played in an open world with a third-person perspective, players control protagonist Geralt of Rivia, a monster hunter known as a Witcher, who is looking for his missing adopted daughter on the run from the Wild Hunt: an otherworldly force determined to capture and use her powers. Players battle the game’s many dangers with weapons and magic, interact with non-player characters, and complete main-story and side quests to acquire experience points and gold, which are used to increase Geralt’s abilities and purchase equipment. Its central story has several endings, determined by the player’s choices at specific points in the game.