Does anyone remember 7554? No, this is not the PIN for our company credit card, but the date of one of the most important events in Vietnam’s recent history; the Battle of Diên Biên Phu. With the subtitle “Glorious Memories Revived”, 7554 is also the title of the first game (2011) by Emobi Games from Vietnam. The Call of Duty-style 3D shooter was supposed to present a lesser-known chapter in the history of Vietnam to a broad world audience and at the same time emphasised PC game development in Vietnam. That didn’t work out as intended: Despite good approaches, 7554 was flawed technically and gameplay-wise and is widely considered a failure. Almost ten years after the release, the developers (now Hiker Games) want to try it again, returning with the announcement of another shooter game from a Vietnamese perspective, including a crowdfunding campaign. The name, however, is no less cryptic this time either: 300475.
Like its spiritual predecessor, 300475 aims to counterbalance the one-dimensional representation of Vietnam in pop culture, especially in video games. So instead of staging US soldiers and their war in Vietnam as a tragic, heroic epic, the game wants to tell the story of the victory over the US army and the “reunification” of Vietnam. With the Fall of Saigon, a historical date applies here again and explains the game’s odd title.
We don’t know much about 300475 yet, other than that Hiker Games claims to have learned from past mistakes. Around 12 years after the start of production of their first game, the studio presents itself as more experienced and better positioned in personnel. A clear production plan and a focus on gameplay and story should ensure the quality of 300475. At the same time, they want to be in constant exchange with the community and make the game more understandable for non-Vietnamese audiences.
The most important question, however, remains the budget, which for 7554 was too tight. And this is where crowdfunding comes into play, in which Hiker Games would like to collect a sum of 1 million US dollars by April 2022 (!). If following the production plan, the development of 300475 should then take three years and aim at a PC release, including possible console offshoots.
But be careful: unlike other game projects, crowdfunding is not carried out via an international or local crowdfunding provider (i.ex. Kickstarter) but directly via the Hiker Games website. Thus, the usual safeguarding mechanisms do not exist, but Hiker Games claims to refund the money if the crowdfunding goal is not achieved.
No matter how you twist and turn it: The 300475 project remains a risk for both the developers and the players. On the one hand, we could expect a solid FPS in an unfamiliar, not “westernised” setting, which expands the prequel’s solid basic concept in the right places and comes onto the market in a technically more elaborate way. Hiker Games is now an established studio that has grown a lot and has released several games. On the other hand, the market for such a title outside of Vietnam is unclear, and the competition from Call of Duty and Battlefield is miles ahead. We still don’t know enough to get a good impression of the game, with nothing more than a concept and some illustrations. Hiker Games may be more experienced, but most recently, the expertise was more in mobile games. The release of their last PC game, the moderately successful Toy Odyssey, was already five years ago. Last but not least, there is the financial uncertainty, which remains with the comparatively low amount of crowdfunding.
Still, if you have no concerns or just enjoy the risk, you should support 300475. All in all, despite the certain pathos and patriotism, the basic concept still sounds unique enough. In any case, we hope that Hiker Games will be successful with the project and that it will succeed at bringing Vietnam’s PC game development to the world stage with a technically excellent and unusual FPS.
If you want to support Hiker Games with the development, you can find the crowdfunding campaign for 300475 here. By the way: the predecessor 7554: Glorious Memories Revived has been available as a free download for quite some time now. The game is still worth a look – even if only from a purely nostalgic perspective!