Immortals Fenyx Rising – Exploring the Chinese Myths of the Eastern Realm
Immortals Fenyx Rising is a game steeped in the myths and legends of Ancient Greece, inspired by the real stories passed down through Greek art and culture. With the launch of its second narrative DLC, Immortals Fenyx Rising – Myths of the Eastern Realms, the game introduces players to a world of Chinese mythology and a brand new player character, Ku, who is charged with aiding the gods in their quest to save the world from the brink of chaos and destruction.
The latest chapter builds upon the legends passed down through Chinese culture, and was conceived, written, and built by the team at Ubisoft Chengdu.
Can you give a brief overview of what the new chapter is about?
Robert Tsao : The story that we feature in the DLC is actually one of the more well-known Chinese myths, called Nuwa Mends the Heavens, or Nuwa Patches the Skies. It’s essentially a myth that takes place close to the creation of the world according to the Chinese mythos, so it’s a tale from early in the timeline of the mythos. This is because there’s less back-story to tell, and we can really focus more on the human versus nature aspect of the myth.
Why was this particular story chosen to adapt for the game?
RT: The entire concept actually came from Jiang. When we started diving into this as a concept, we found that it was a very well-established story, with well-established characters, and we felt it was more difficult to tell that story in the way that we perhaps wanted to.
Defining the concept
Are the gods featured in the game, Nuwa and Gong Gong, still quite well-known characters today?
One of the creative opportunities we had was that these stories, especially the early Chinese tales from around the same time period that Nuwa Mends the Heavens takes place, don’t really have a canonical version, and there are multiple different interpretations. For example, there are some versions which portray Gong Gong as more of a villainous character, almost like a demonic monster. Other versions of the story portray him as the equivalent of Poseidon, the god of the seas and water. It actually gave us a lot of room to navigate, because Gong Gong and Nuwa – especially Nuwa – are actually quite well-known, and if you travel to different parts of China you’ll find that there are lots of sculptures and statues erected in honor of Nuwa patching the sky, always holding that very iconic pose where she is lifting up the five colored stones to patch up the hole.
Was the main character, Ku, inspired by anyone from Chinese mythology?
RT: We did take Ku’s name from one of the fabled rulers of China in a time before it became known as China, from a period known as the Three August Ones and the Five Emperors – sānhuáng wǔdì in Chinese. For some eagle-eyed players who are not just familiar with Chinese myth, but also with Chinese historiography, they may recognize some hints that we’ve peppered throughout the game as to Ku’s namesake and inspiration.
What were the inspirations behind some of the creatures in the game?
RT: All of the monsters were based on creatures mentioned in a book called The Classic of Mountains and Seas. That book itself is really interesting, because it’s of undetermined origin, and we don’t know exactly who wrote it. But all of the monsters are based on creatures from that book.
Do you think there are lessons to be learned from Chinese mythology?
RT: I think that’s quite a universal concept of myths, that’s why they’re so resonant and why they stick with us generation after generation. From the oral tradition all the way up to now, they’re still celebrated and the stories are still told. With Chinese mythology, there is a lot to explore, and another strong reason we picked this story is because of the selflessness of the tale. What does it mean to really give it your all to ensure a better future for the generations that come after?” I think those concepts are really universal, and for anyone who wants to dig into Chinese myths, I’m sure they will see those common threads through a lot of the stories.
Apr 07, 2021 at 19:08