Creating an Oriental Fantasy: Transnational Game Production and New Nationalism in Honor of Kings

Zheng, Zhou and Negus, Keith. 2023. Creating an Oriental Fantasy: Transnational Game Production and New Nationalism in Honor of Kings. In: Kimi Kärki, ed. Popular Music Climates. Turku, Finland: Turku: International Insitute of Popular Culture,, pp. 105-110. ISBN 9789512994274 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

Honor of Kings has become one of the most mainstream mobile game products in China, attracting the attention of a huge number of active users and Chinese game regulators. Drawing from research on audio designers at TiMi Studios, a subsidiary of Tencent Games, this paper explores how Chinese based designers work with interna- tional collaborators, including major figures such as Hans Zimmer, Howard Shore, and US based Chinese composer Tan Dun. It discusses how the transnational production of game music incorporates traditional Chinese musical elements into an epic, international style, constructing a new national identity that encourages gamers to identify with Chinese traditional culture. The music produced by Chinese and overseas artists offers eclectic and hybrid musical motifs that are perceived domestically to communicate new types of Chinese identity. The paper provides insights into the transnational creative practices of game designers, and the commercial strategies of Tencent. It explores how designers make musical decisions in relation to the way gamers interact with game characters and events, the arrangement of the music for symphonic performance, and broader considerations about the sounds of commercial popular music.

Item Type:

Book Section

Additional Information:

Proceedings from the XXI Biennial Conference of IASPM, Daegu, South Korea, 5th – 9th July 2022.


transnational production, HOK music, oriental fantasy, domestic exoticism, new identity

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Music > Popular Music Research Unit


20 September 2023Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

20 Sep 2023 15:07

Last Modified:

23 Sep 2023 07:34


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