As China’s economic might has grown, it has been popping up more often as the new bogeyman threatening world peace in games like Army of Two, Frontlines: Fuel of War and others. In Battlefield’s latest scenario, the year is 2020; US-Russia tensions are at an all-time high and the Chinese government is about to be overthrown by a man named General Zhang, who will side with the Russia in a war against the US. The storyline isn’t that far off from worst-case scenario fears in some parts of the US over China’s expanding global influence; it even features China’s actual new fighter jet, the J-20. Even its title, “China Rising,” is a term often used in international security circles.

Using Chinese landscapes could eventually help EA in China. The country is home to a video game industry worth 60 billion yuan (about $10 billion), but console games have been losing in popularity to simpler mobile and PC games—in part because of a longtime ban on consoles. (Authorities announced that the ban will be lifted in a free trade zone in Shanghai.)

Chinese bloggers who have gotten pirated copies of the game that’s not officially released in China say they appreciate the scenes of modern-day Shanghai, idyllic landscapes of Guilin province, and other recognizable images of China. Most importantly, the multi-player version of the game lets players fight as Chinese soldiers against invading US forces. After all, that’s a popular geopolitical narrative as well.

Attacking Shanghai.
Attacking Shanghai.
Image: Sina Weibo

Gang Yang contributed additional reporting.

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