Updated on September 13th, 2021, 3:58 pm

  • “Life is Strange – True Colors” is inundated with negative reviews from China.
  • The reason for the so-called “Review Bombing”: a flag.
  • The players see it as a political statement by the developers – but they are still silent.

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The international press largely agrees on “Life is Strange – True Colors”: Like the other parts of the series, the coming-of-age adventure offers sophisticated and intelligent entertainment with emotional depth.

In a small town, the young woman Alex Chen experiences her extraordinary empathy as a gift and a curse at the same time, while she clarifies the death of her brother. Quite a few game editors openly admit that they would have cried several times in the ten to twelve hours of playing time.

On Valve’s sales platform Steam and other feedback sites, however, “Life is Strange: True Colors”, which is available for PC and consoles, is showered with negative reviews – mainly from Chinese users.

Chinese players are bothered by the Tibetan flag

The reason for this is purely political: In the city of Haven Springs in the game there is a small shop called “Treasures of Tibet”, in which the Tibetan flag can also be seen.

The People’s Republic of China does not recognize Tibet as a sovereign state, but sees the country as an inseparable part of its national territory. The country’s flag is a symbol of the independence movement in the mountain region and is forbidden.

The majority of the Chinese reviews of “Life is Strange: True Colors” are therefore full of angry statements that Tibet – like Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau – belong to China and that the flag has no place in the game.

Whether or not Tibet is a sovereign state has long been a matter of dispute. In 1959 a Tibetan government in exile was established. Although this is supported by many countries, it is not officially recognized.

Neither developer Deck Nine Games nor publisher Square Enix have yet commented on the controversy.

“Review Bombing”: that’s behind it

The massive devaluation of games is also known as “review bombing” in the gaming industry and is no longer a rarity.

In most cases, however, the criticism expressed has little to do with the quality of the game. Instead, gamers often try to discredit games that are a thorn in their side because of political or socio-cultural views.

In 2020, for example, the game “The Last of Us 2” was deliberately devalued on various platforms such as Metacritic because, among other things, some of the gamblers were strongly disturbed by the fact that aspects such as trans or homosexuality were negotiated in the game.

However, there are also cases of “Review Bombing” in which the quality of the game is actually in the foreground. For example with the “Warcraft III: Reforged” published in January 2020.

China’s influence on the gaming industry is growing

The fact that the influence of the People’s Republic on the gaming sector has increased sharply in recent years is not a new phenomenon. China is considered an important sales market for video games.

Because of the strict censorship rules that apply there, it happens again and again that game developers make controversial decisions in order not to annoy the authorities of the communist country.

In October 2019, for example, the Hearthstone professional Ng Wai Chung alias “Blitzchung” was banned from participating in tournaments by the developer Blizzard Entertainment. Chung had previously called for solidarity with the demonstrators in Hong Kong as part of an esports tournament.

For Blizzard, the affair turned into a debacle. Many critics accused the studio of only making this decision because they feared financial losses on the Chinese market. (thp)
© 1 & 1 Mail & Media / teleschau

Teaserbild: © Square Enix


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