This weekend, Pokémon Unite and Call of Duty: Mobile developer TiMi Studio announced the development of Honor of Kings: World. It’s to be an “AAA” open-world game based on its smash-hit mobile MOBA, Honor of Kings.
It’s hard to overstate how big Honor of Kings is as an IP. This mobile MOBA game is the most popular game in the world, surpassing 100m daily players last year, and recently it ranks neck-and-neck with Genshin Impact in terms of revenue (Honor has grossed higher amounts overall due to being released in 2015). It’s not apples to apples, but League of Legends reported 8 million concurrent, daily players in 2019.
Honor of Kings was conceived after Chinese tech giant Tencent failed to convince Riot Games to adapt League of Legends for mobile devices. Initially it caused controversy for being too similar to League, but went on to set a record for the first game to reach 100 million daily players. Honor’s matches are shorter and simpler than League’s, which helped to ease casual players into MOBA gaming. However, Honor has drawn considerable public criticism for being perceived as the cause of gaming addiction in Chinese youths.
From the looks of the trailer, World is an action-RPG that takes place in a fantasy world. The official trailer is subtitled in English, and the game is slated for a global release. It’s very likely being developed by TiMi Montreal, as earlier this year, the studio stated that it would be developing an “ambitious AAA, service-driven open-world game across multiple platforms.”
(Update, 11/02/2021 18:25 p.m. ET: A consultant who works with TiMi Studio Group reached out to note that the developer is not, in fact, TiMi Montreal.)
The official Chinese Weibo account states that the award-winning novelist Liu Cixin will be contributing to the worldbuilding. Cixin is most widely known for the much-acclaimed sci-fi novel The Three-Body Problem, which is currently being adapted by Netflix, and is less widely known for his controversial beliefs about internment camps. The Honor of Kings developer intends to collaborate with him on more gaming projects in the future.
As an attempt at an open-world “AAA” game, Honor of Kings: World looks to be following the path laid by Genshin Impact. Both have live service components, both were planned for concurrent global launches, and both have story elements that are based on Chinese mythology.
There is currently no release date, but the official Chinese Weibo account stated that World would be released globally on multiple platforms.