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Tencent targets AAA with TiMi Studios' Honor of Kings: World

Chinese games giant bringing open-world Unreal-powered spin-off to flagship franchise

Tencent-owned TiMi Studio Group has unveiled its first entry into the AAA games space as it attempts to reach a more global audience.

Honor of Kings: World is a open-world game for multiple platforms; TiMi has yet to specify which, but the gameplay trailer and the high-end graphics powered by Unreal Engine, suggest PC and consoles.

It is a spin-off from Tencent's hugely popular MOBA for mobile, which recently became the first mobile game to pass over $10 billion in player spending. According to Sensor Tower, Honor of Kings has generated $2 billion so far in 2021.

In addition to Honor of Kings, TiMi Studios Group is best known for mobile games such as Call of Duty and Pokémon Unite, the latter of which is also available for Switch.

The company has been gearing up for AAA console and PC development for some time, and is particularly targeting both Western developers and players with studios in Montreal, Los Angeles and Seattle.

While it's not clear which studio is making Honor of Kings: World, the LA and Seattle branches are part of Team Kaiju, a new studio headed up by Halo 4 lead designer Scott Warner. The company is creating a new multiplayer first-person shooter -- you can read more in our full interview here.

Tencent has previously attempted to bring Honor of Kings to the West, rebranding it as Arena of Valor. However, the game struggled to find an audience, taking a full six months to reach one million installs. In the same timeframe, it generated $3 million -- less than Honor of Kings was making on a daily basis at the time.

Repurposing its flagship franchise into a structure that has proven to be more popular over here may well give Tencent a better chance of establishing the Honor of Kings brand in the West.

The trailer is evocative of Monster Hunter: World, the title that finally cracked the West for Capcom's long-running series, as well as Genshin Impact, the hit China-developed open-world RPG that has generated more than $2 billion on mobile in its first year.

No release date has been given for Honor of Kings: World.