We’ve seen China grow rapidly as an international game development hub, and one of the most exciting things about that nations’ game development scene is that they seem to be every bit as enamoured with the RPG format as their neighbours in Japan. Codename: Wandering Sword is basically “what if Octopath Traveler was made in China,” and I am so here for it.
From the press release: “Codename: Wandering Sword is a Wuxia-style pixel RPG. Play as a young man from Liao City in the Outer Lands who is accidentally drawn into a feud between two rival sects. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time results in getting poisoned with the lethal Frozen Toad. However, you are fortunate enough to have Qingxu, Sect Leader of Wudang, come to your aid and save your life. This is your turning point: the moment you decide to become a great warrior and enter the land of the Central Plains.”
This game does have some quality behind it. It was developed in Unreal Engine 4, to blend pixel art and 3D environments, and that gives it this gorgeous art style. You’ll be able to play in either turn-based or action JRPG styles, according to your preferences and the AI is behavioural, meaning that NPCs will actually develop their own martial arts skills as they think they need to. I’m sure that’ll play into the games’ multiple endings and diverging narrative.
It might look like a relatively humble indie title, but Codename is clearly an ambitious project, and if it plays as well as it looks it could be a hidden gem. Unfortunately, it only has a Steam release on the cards right now (I mean, c’mon, this needs a Switch port), but who knows where it might go if people respond well to it. There is no release date at this point.