BEIJING – A video game backed by the Chinese military and set for release Thursday lets players fight enemy forces on the Senkaku Islands, which are under Japan’s control.
“Glorious Mission Online,” China’s answer to “Call of Duty,” marks the 86th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army.
An online version of an earlier first-person shooter used by the PLA to train troops, the game features the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. They are controlled by Japan but claimed by China, which calls them the Diaoyu.
Tensions have been mounting over the dispute, and a press release for the game says “Players . . . will fight alongside Chinese armed forces and use weapons to tell the Japanese that ‘Japan must return our stolen territory!’ “
Images from the game’s website are labelled “Guard the Diaoyu islands,” and a trailer posted online has shots of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
It also shows planes taking off from a simulated version of China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, which went into service last year.
The game was due to be released Thursday evening, but the designer, Giant Interactive Group, which developed it jointly with the PLA, said millions had already registered to play.
Giant cooperated closely with the PLA on the game to ensure the guns and soldiers’ voices were accurate, Vice President Gu Wen said.
“Our relationship with the military is like the relationship between the U.S. Army and Hollywood,” he said.
“In Western games, the People’s Liberation Army is always the enemy. This is the first game where it is on the good side.”
It will also boost recruitment, he added.
“On one hand it’s a training tool, on the other hand it’s about army recruitment,” Gu said. “The army aims at recruiting university graduates, and gaming is the most popular culture among students.”