Xian Jiàn 六 – Thoughts, Speculation, Characters & Concerns

Now that it seems like all of the major revelations have been released, I’m going to compile some of my thoughts on the game. For the most part, I am absolutely, positively delighted about the game. On the other hand, this sudden shift in dynamics and direction worry me. Not because I’m a stickler for the ‘old’ way, though I don’t think I have any complaints about the prior releases, but because – and maybe this is just because I’m not able to play the games – these revelations seem incongruous to the series.

I’m most familiar with the series through it’s Tangren adaptations. Which, while fun and delightful until everyone i love dies is not the most loyal to its PC counterparts. Having said that, however, Tangren’s adaptation of Xuān Yuán Sword makes heavy use of technology easily recognizable in this modern age. I don’t know the games very well, but even I’m not going to claim that Tangren diverged that much from the source material.

So, where is all of this technology coming from?

As far as I’m aware, Xian Jiàn 五 and 五+ didn’t have huge mechanical beasts running around as battle buddies. Now, unless they’re going to skip a generation or two, that seems like a pretty huge mis-step. I mean, Li Xiāo Yáo is in his fifties in 五. You would expect to be seeing highly advanced – at least, for its time period – technology in the original game if you want to slot in this kind of stuff in 五’s sequel! The kind of technology required for creating a mechanical beast isn’t going to just spring up out of nowhere. It’s not Aphrodite. You need to give it background. And, frankly, even if they do, this still seems like an unrealistic leap in technology.

If they have the technology to make mecha beasts, what else has changed? You don’t just make mecha beasts. In most scenarios, you need a reason. Like war. A single crazy person could work, but making your audience believe that mecha beasts are suddenly up and functioning to that standard is probably about as much of a leap of faith as you could pull off in a single game.

And then we have the seemingly floating fortress.

I’m going to be honest with you here. I see absolutely no way of integrating this into the game without raising serious questions about continuity and canon. I don’t even know what it is. A fortress? A citadel? A city? A villain’s lair? A Howl’s Moving Castle?

There are few occasions where I curse my mono-lingual ability more than this. It makes no sense. With what I’ve gleamed from watching the games and scouring the websites, it makes no sense. None of this does. Where has it come from? How long has it been coming?

You can’t just chuck something into a series mid-way and expect it to stick! Especially if it isn’t feasible! And I can’t see how this is at all feasible. It contradicts so much of the narrative that’s been built up. It contradicts your entire understanding of the game! What, Xian Jiàn? The fantasy wǔxiá series set in ancient China?

Ancient China isn’t what I think of when I think of that kind of technology. Fantasy isn’t what I think of when I think of that kind of technology. Steampunk, maybe. Hell, go full sci-fi. But until this point Xian Jiàn has been neither a steampunk series, nor sci-fi.

Creating a good fictional world comes down to three main points.

An interesting premise.

A good cast.


Xian Jiàn 六 is so vastly different from its predecessors. Of course it’s premise sounds immediately interesting, if a little worrying. Xian Jiàn 六 has a good cast. We know this from previous installments. Cast is not a particular concern for this game. World-building… feels a little thrown out the window.

The thing about fiction is that there is always an element of suspension of belief. This is why world-building is important. You need reasons why the world is the way it is. You need history. You need people. Civilizations. An actual world. Politics. Gods. Or no Gods. Or one God. Mythology. Science. Technology. Racism. Sexism. Prejudice. Discrimination. Or not. But if not, why there is not, how there is not.

There is nothing in a fictional world that is there by accident.

There is nothing in a fictional world that is there by accident.

Creator accountability.

Someone, somewhere, made a decision. Is it a good decision? Is it a bad decision? Time, and personal preference, will shape your view. Magazines will publish an attempt at non-bias. To do so they will weigh up different features and judge by them their overall merit.

I adore the Xian Jiàn games, but I see no merit here.

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