David Blecken
Jun 1, 2018

Tencent uses dramatic live action for global KOF relaunch

Arcade legend King of Fighters gets a contemporary feel in a short film by the director of 'Gravity Cat'.

To promote The King of Fighters (KOF), a popular game franchise that it recently acquired the licence to, Tencent looked to the game’s cultural homeland of Japan.

A short film called ‘Absurd Reality’ presents three scenarios of people rising up to take on their oppressors. Developed by Goodzilla Shanghai, it was shot entirely in Japan, directed by Show Yanagisawa (of ‘Gravity Cat’ fame) and produced by Dictionary Films in Tokyo. Post-production was by Cutters Tokyo.

Tencent is currently relaunching the game for mobile worldwide. It first came out in 1994 as an arcade game under SNK, with the most recent version appearing in 2016.

Peter Grasse, who worked as executive producer on the film but has since left Dictionary to pursue his own venture, noted that the game was an important part of Japan’s modern cultural heritage.

Grasse said it was commendable that Tencent did not simply try to “fake Japan in China”. He said that Tencent and its agency Goodzilla took a very “hands-off” approach and essentially left Yanagisawa to his own devices. He added that the film had been shot under physically challenging conditions, “in the middle of a typhoon”.

Campaign’s view: The film is visually arresting and atmospheric, as befits a legacy game that ranks alongside the likes of arcade favourites Street Fighter and Tekken. The use of live action helps modernise something that people have come to associate with exaggerated anime aesthetics. Tencent no doubt recognises the importance of paying respect to a property that is a source of pride for Asia and still has a considerable following, and the film benefited from the creativity of a highly accomplished director and Japan's generally high production values.

Campaign Japan

Related Articles

Just Published

1 hour ago

Sharlene Wu replaces Jeff Kwek as CEO of Grey China

Former Proximity China CEO replaces Jeff Kwek, whose stint lasted only 18 months, due to family reasons, Campaign understands.

1 hour ago

Initiative appointed lead media agency for PT ...

The agency will service the full portfolio of brands across the coffee and powdered choco categories including Kopiko 3in1 coffee mixes, Energen Champion and Energen Pandesal Mate.

1 hour ago

Here are your 2021 Spikes Asia Awards winners

Find out who won 293 gold, silver and bronze awards across 23 categories.

1 hour ago

Tangrams Strategy and Effectiveness award winners ...

Mindshare and The Monkeys scoop up the most metal, with BMF taking the sole platinum.