Vietnamese developer Emobi Games is working on the country's first-ever videogame for worldwide audiences, the Call of Duty-style 7554.
Crash course in history: the 1954 battle of Dien Bien Phu, fought between the communist Viet Minh insurgents and the French Far East Expeditionary Corps, ended in a decisive defeat for the French and quite literally changed the course of Vietnamese history. It signaled the end of French Indochina and set the table for the Vietnam War, making it one of the most pivotal moments in Vietnamese history. Now Emobi games thinks it's time to share it with the rest of the world.
7554 will put players in the boots of a Viet Minh fighter, squaring off against the French forces in the climactic battle of the First Indochina War. The French are better equipped and have a more robust military tradition; the Viet Minh have superior numbers in both soldiers and, unexpectedly, heavy artillery. The title of the game refers to the date that the French surrendered to the Vietnamese: 7 May, 1954.
"We wanted to create a game worthy of the current generation," Emobi Games Director Huy Nguyen Tuan told Kotaku. "No one in our country has created a current generation title. It was a little bit daunting and also very exciting to be breaking new ground. And when we decide to do it, we choose context that we are proud of. We set out to create a game that pays homage to those who stood up and protected our country. We wanted to make a game about one of our greatest battles, Dien Bien Phu."
A battle between a South-East Asian nation and its former colonial overlord may seem a bit limiting as a videogame setting, not to mention the potentially sticky subject matter, but Huy doesn't think it will be an issue. "Normandy and D-Day are not familiar battles with Vietnamese people, but we really love to play Call of Duty. It's a good game that is fun and challenging to play," he said. "We believe that gamers are accepting of other races, religions and beliefs that are not their own. We set out to make a game that gamers will enjoy playing."
In fact, he claimed it was a French movie about the battle - I'm guessing the 1992 film Dien Bien Phu - that inspired him to make the game and that French "friends" worked on it. "We didn't set out to create a politically touchy game with the French or anyone else. We set out to create a game that we can be proud of," he continued. "It is similar to the first Call of Duty: a fun game set in a historical backdrop. We hope that fans of FPS and military shooters around the world will give 7554 a chance."
The bargain-priced [it will apparently go for $12 at launch] PC-exclusive 7554 comes out in Vietnam on December 16 and is slated for release in North America in February 2012.