China’s Nintendo Switch gets yet another Tencent game with Biped

Nintendo Switch players in China can rejoice: They’re getting another game.
Biped follows two cute robots trying to solve puzzles to complete their quest. The cooperative platformer comes from Next Studios owned by Tencent — Nintendo’s official partner in China. It’s the same game maker behind the puzzle game Iris.Fall, also available on China’s Switch, and the audio mystery Unheard. Biped now joins the slim pickings officially available on the local version of Nintendo’s console.
Next Studios is co-releasing Biped with video platform Bilibili. It was first launched on Steam and PlayStation earlier this year before finally making to the Nintendo Game Store on Thursday. Tencent announced the game’s arrival in China on Weibo.
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Normally a game like this wouldn’t generate so much buzz. But owners of the Chinese Switch spent months with only three games officially available in the country, all from the Mario franchise.
China has strict rules for game approvals, keeping out many titles already available on Switch elsewhere. Unable to buy unapproved games online, some gamers in China have resorted to purchasing gray market game cards imported from overseas. It was only in May that Tencent started to release more games for the Switch, starting with Iris.Fall.
The Chinese Switch will also eventually get the recently announced Pokemon Unite mobile game.
The anticipated title from Tencent’s TiMi Studios is a MOBA adaptation of the hit franchise better known for its role-playing games. It plays similar to League of Legends, which shouldn’t be surprising for anyone familiar with TiMi Studios’ blockbuster Honour of Kings. Known as Arena of Valor elsewhere, the game has been compared to a mobile League of Legends. It’s now one of the most popular and profitable games in China.
But one game Chinese Switch owners aren’t likely to get any time soon is Nintendo’s biggest hit of the year.
When Animal Crossing: New Horizons came out in March, players in China flocked to domestic e-commerce platforms to buy copies from gray market traders. However, listings for the game started disappearing in April, not long after it became a virtual space for Hong Kong protesters to meet up and display protest art. Chinese players also filled their own islands with content like Covid-19 quarantine jokes and communist propaganda. The game remains unlisted on e-commerce sites under the official name, leaving people who want to find sellers to figure out code names.
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