You probably haven’t heard of Glorious Mission, yet its one of the biggest games out there. Glorious Mission is the Chinese army funded video game to rival the Battlefields and Call Of Dutys put out by American developers. An online focus, similar to its western counter-parts, has made headlines recently with a DLC due for release in August which will introduce a mission where players battle over the real-life disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands. I thought I’d dive right in to the political minefield and take a look at the recent waves Glorious Mission has been causing.
Glorious Mission is a hugely popular game, and similar to the US Army’s “America’s Army” that was developed by the Army, for the Army. The idea is to encourage recruits, and also as a related relaxation activity for soldiers to do in their spare time. Not that either developer would say it, of course, but video games are also a fantastic PR tool – projecting quite literally a “Glorious” image of the armed forces for an impressionable public to consume.
Glorious Mission might be a big game, but its unlike you’ll ever hear or see it outside of China. The same goes for America’s Army, which hardly dented markets even in the UK. That’s not really the point of these types of games though, they’re all about national pride.
So why the media frenzy?
It’s all about some small islands of just a few thousand acres and entirely uninhabited. It just so happens that these unsuspecting islands have some nice oil reserves under them, and lie right between Chinese and Japanese waters. That’s the sum of the decades old tension over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands (which name depends on your point of view). This being politics, the US supports the Japanese claim and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
So, politics is business as usual, potentially fighting the next world war over an island of not much at all. Whats that got to do with gaming?
Well, the latest DLC for Glorious Mission will see players fighting over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands as the Chinese (see the screenshot above), killing the defending forces of Japan and the USA. That, needless to say, hasn’t gone down too well in Japan or the USA.
That said, have you seen the trailer for the latest Battlefield 4 DLC – China Rising?
Not a word has been said by the same media outlets that have ran stories about Glorious Mission’s upcoming DLC. But are these two DLCs all that different? Surely they are just different sides of the same coin.
Western gamers have been killing imaginary Russians and Chinese for decades, from the first Call Of Duties and Battlefields to break out of the WW2 mold and into the modern day. It can’t be all that shocking that the fledgling Chinese games industry is beginning to develop games from their perspective on the world.
Glorious Mission and it’s latest DLC is no threat, just as America’s Army is no threat to anyone. These games are designed as recruitment and PR tools domestically, nothing more. Many gamers play them, as with such large budgets they turn out as fairly decent offerings.
Glorious Mission has been an interesting new horizon for gaming. There have often been stories about how GTAs, etc, have inspired violence in countries. That is the start of politicising gaming. Glorious Mission’s DLC, and the outrage it caused in the west (legitimate or not), is one of the first games to be politicised internationally. Glorious Mission has become embroiled in international relations, something that games have rarely ever done so before. Whether that’s a good development or not remains to be seen!
Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com