A new Xian Xia drama has just announced its project launch in China. It is another Chinese Paladin drama, based on the fourth edition of the Chinese Paladin games. If you're familiar with the C-Drama land and familiar with the actors/actresses such as Hu Ge, Wallace Huo, Liu Yifei, Liu Shishi, Yang Mi, Tiffany Tang, it's unlikely that you've never heard of this series.
Allow me to ramble a bit about the background story of these PC games and the Dramas based on them. Back in the 1990s, the first Chinese Paladin game was released and became an instant hit. It was literally played by everyone who had a computer in China. Obviously by today's standard it was unbelievably archaic and crude; the first version runs on DOS for your information!
It was the story that captured people's imagination - the story of Li Xiaoyao, Zhao Linger, Lin Yueru and A Nu. It was the creation of the game developer who was like any programmer back then, working away in a small room in front of a computer, yet day dreaming about a world of adventure, swords, creatures and most importantly pretty girls! He realized his fantasy in his game, and that fantasy infected a generation of Chinese young people.
In 2005, the original game was made into a TV drama, starring then the still new and young Hu Ge and Liu Yifei. By today's standard the drama was very roughly made, but it mattered not as it swept China and made its two leads the faces for Xian Xia 仙侠 drama.
That was when broadband internet was still in its infancy and streaming sites non-existent. I was in London and I watched the series by getting a friend to burn the series onto CDs! The theme song from this drama oversaturated my existence during the early months of 2005. Now whenever I listen to it I am right back living the days when I rode the tube daily to work in Wandsworth!
After its wild success, in 2009, they made another drama series based on the third game in the game series – Chinese Paladin III. This time Hu Ge is still the lead, and we have another male lead Wallace Huo, with Yang Mi, Liu Shishi and Tang Yan; it was another huge success! Considering all these actors and actresses are now first tier performers in China, you got to give credit to the casting people of these dramas.
I have personally played the original and the fourth Chinese Paladin games. In my opinion, storywise the fourth game is the best out of all CP games. As I am a story lover, I loved the game dearly because of this. The game consists of a lot of characters' dialogue and many many mazes to walk through, killing all sorts of monsters, level up, getting cool weapons and obviously beating the boss in the end. The only reason that I sat through the endless slaughter of digital creatures is the story. The game has four main characters, Yun Tianhe, Han Lingsha, Murong Ziying and Liu Mengli. They are all very well written, distinctive and lovable in their own ways. The theme of this game is "My fate is up to me, not heaven (destiny)", which is really well illustrated through the main characters experience in this game. It has such a strong dramatic nature that I couldn't help imagine my ideal cast after playing this game.
Another thing this game excels at is its music. Oh, where shall I begin? There are a few tunes in this game that just break my heart. I would say you can pluck them out and use them straight for TV dramas. The full OST is linked below, on the play list, the best in my opinion are No.1,4,25,42,43,54,77. Do check them out and you won't be disappointed.
This brings me to the reasons why I'm NOT looking forward to the drama adaptation. As the announcement suggested, the script writer is the lady who wrote Princess Agent (novel and script). That... sounds like a death sentence to this new Chinese Paladin drama. Because frankly, the writer did a terrible job for adapting Princess Agent from novel to the screen, and just imagining the same level of butchering to CP IV can make me sad for a whole day. Although she also wrote the original novels, she has no grasp of how visual story-telling works (fiction writing and script writing are VERY different!). For many CP player, CP IV was considered the best among all CP games, and its characters and story are extremely well loved. I just have no confidence in this writer to do this game justice.
But there's little we can do, the casting process probably has started already, although the leaks won't come out until later. I truly have no expectation from the current actor/actress pool in C-Drama land. Back then I wanted Vic Chou to play Yun Tianhe as the male lead, but now so many years have passed I don't think that's realistic any more.
And I pray for the actors who ended up in this drama, because if the writer keeps at her track record, they are all heading towards a train wreck.