This PC-only RPG looks like Assassin’s Creed: China, except you can put your sword down and get a normal job

This PC-only RPG looks like Assassin's Creed: China, except you can put your sword down and get a normal job

Based on the Gamescom announcement trailer, Where Winds Meet looks like an Assassin’s Creed-sized undertaking, so it’s a little surprising that I’ve never heard of its developer, Everstone Studio. I have heard of the studio’s backer, though. Where Winds Meet is being published by NetEase, the second largest game publisher in China, which suggests that it is the big-budget production it appears to be.

It looks cool, too, and I almost didn’t notice it during Gamescom Opening Night Live. Although the trailer starts with a poem by Southern Tang ruler Li Yu, and I am fond of Chinese poetry (not joking), it’s all a bit sleepy, so I tuned out. At around 1.22, though, the trailer switches to gameplay, and we see a character strolling through a city. (To reiterate a take I probably last published in 2010: Down with cinematic trailers, up with gameplay trailers!) The footage looks a bit jaggy and artifacted, but ignoring that, it’s a subtly impressive scene, with around three dozen locals going about their business in a small area.

And then there’s horseback riding, mountain climbing, frigid wind walking-against, wuxia-style floating, and the most essential videogame activity, blowing up barrels. The combat looks like the dash-in, combo, roll-out-of-the-way stuff you’d expect.

“The player can counter enemy blows, use Tai Chi to reflect their attacks, or use acrobatics to slip through their guard and strike them from all angles,” says NetEase. “The player also has access to a number of martial arts skills and ranged weapons, allowing them to break free from one fighting style and use a mixture of abilities to defeat their enemies, creating their own approach to combat.”

There’s apparently quite a bit more to Where Winds Meet than combat, though. The open world RPG takes place in “the final days of the Ten Kingdoms era of Chinese history,” says NetEase. Li Yu was a better poet than ruler, and was captured by the Song dynasty that would go on to conquer the other kingdoms, so the trailer’s opening lyrics are relevant to the period. That choice perhaps reflects the studio’s desire to build something genuinely representative of history, despite the fantasy beasts.

According to the press release, you can wander away from the main storyline and become a merchant or doctor, and according to IGN (opens in new tab), there’s an online element, so you can heal other players, as well as NPCs. A studio representative also told the website that a player could become an “orator who uses the power of words to convince NPCs to follow their advice,” as well as a bodyguard or ferryman. There’s also a construction system with “over 600 authentic components that allow the player to build structures in the world and make it their own,” according to the press release.

(Image credit: Everstone Games)

It’s not clear how engaging these side jobs will be—little breaks from the main quest, fixations for novelty roleplayers, or something players will genuinely want to spend a lot of time doing—but it sure sounds like a lot of game to try to pull off. The building system was a surprise to me.

And there’s another little surprise here: Where Winds Meet is a PC-only game. It really is a trip to the past, eh?

There’s no release date set for Where Winds Meet, but a beta test is planned for this year. Regarding the mystery studio, Everstone, NetEase says it’s using “international game production techniques” to “reconstruct the distant past with cutting-edge technologies and bountiful detail.” I’ve asked NetEase where it’s based.

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