PUBG Mobile has been pulled in China and replaced by a game that looks eerily similar, only when you kill someone they just hand you their loot and wave goodbye.
PUBG Mobile took over the Chinese gaming market when it went on sale last year. And by “sale”, we more mean an extended pre-release test as Tencent (PUBG’s Chinese publisher) hadn’t received approval yet from the Chinese government. The government even put a freeze on all new game approvals last year, which meant that Tencent was waiting for months expecting a huge pay-off when the game finally got the green light.
Only it never happened. The Chinese government lifted the freeze last December, but PUBG wasn’t approved. According to Reuters, the government had problems with PUBG’s graphic violence and “winner-take-all” nature.
Having spent over a year waiting, Tencent has resorted to plan B. They’ve pulled PUBG Mobile from the Chinese market and replaced it with another game called “Game for Peace” that’s almost exactly the same but with a few tweaks in order to appease Chinese regulators.
First, it’s a lot more patriotic. Players start by jumping out of a Chinese transport plane that’s guarded by cutting-edge Chinese fighter jets. The theme “pays tribute to the blue sky warriors that guard our country’s airspace,” which is a reference to the Chinese air force.
And second, it’s a lot less violent. There’s no blood, and when you “kill” someone they just sort of kneel down, hand over a box with all their equipment, and then wave goodbye.
They changed PUBG Mobile in China to comply with stricter game violence laws. Now when you 'kill' someone they give you a loot box and wave goodbye and honestly it's just so hilariously wholesome pic.twitter.com/Q5xkrtM0MA— Svend Joscelyne (@SvendJoscelyne) May 8, 2019
But otherwise, Game for Peace is exactly the same as PUBG. It has the same weapons, same equipment, same character models, and even the same map. Tencent says it was developed in-house and that “they are very different genres of games,” but footage of the game seems to indicate otherwise.
Chinese social media users are reporting that their profiles have been ported over to Game for Peace which even retains their character progression and unlockables from PUBG.
PUBG had originally been licensed for sale in China by Tencent, but so far there's been no word if that license extends to remaking the game to appease Chinese regulators.