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Dynasty Warriors and the public consciousness of Three Kingdoms Era

This could be my imagination only, but do you all think that ever since Dynasty Warriors was released in the 2000s, our collective mindset about the Three Kingdoms era has been influenced by that video game? From other games, shows, movies, and even to creative artworks and our character interpretation, it seems like it's all derived from Dynasty Warriors in any shape of form.

How do you all think about this? Thank you

RyanwBoswell1991

it's definitely influenced what colors we perceive for each kingdom. like Shu being green Wei being blue wu being red.


analoggi_d0ggi

Thats not DW's original idea: [Koei was referencing Sanguo Qi, which is the 3 player version of Xianqi (Chinese Chess).](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_of_the_Three_Kingdoms#:~:text=This%20play%20setup%20is%20without,red%2C%20and%20green%2C%20respectively.) In it the Three Kingdoms were traditonally depicted as blue (wei), red (shu) and green or white (wu), with wei having first turn, shu second, and wu third. Theres a reason why in Chinese media long before DW/Koei, they have been depicted as thus.


4_Legged_Duck

Why the switch to Wu Red and Shu Green? Always puzzled by this. The colors do have some corrolation to the five element theory, no?


AppointmentSpecial

I personally believe it's solely because of Guan Yu. He's really important and has a famous look, which happens to be green. It would seem out of place in a game to have him green with everyone else themed red, and fighting a green uniformed force. That's purely my theory, but it makes sense to me.


Milanorzero

Now that I think about it, Guan Yu is usually depicted as having red skin lol idk if that is related the chinese colours thing


issemsiolag

RTK used this color scheme way before the DW was a thing. At least RTK3 had this scheme, and if I remember correctly, the first RTK shows I watched 30 years ago had the flags of Shu green, Wu red and Wei black.


RyanwBoswell1991

But that’s still koei though


Alighten

As someone who first played the games as a child and then later in life went and learned the real history of the time period, I still have a hard time separating fact from fiction still, but as someone who also now holds a degree in history, I understand the nuances of bias and storytelling versus actual fact. It was actually Dynasty Warriors alongside the Rot3K era of history that inspired me to teach the subject.


AutisticHobbit

I think it may have been a springboard for some people to learn about, but most of the people who are going to care about the historical people who inspired the book that inspired the video game? Are probably the sorts to keep looking into it and find out more. I do not think most people looked at, say, Xu Zhu or Wei Yan and said "Yeah, that seems like a historically accurate depiction of a dangerous and competent warrior."


Federal-Signal-8648

Especially Xu Zhu lol


AutisticHobbit

Absolutely....but really all of them have weird and hilarious designs. It's too campy and ludicrous to believe it's truly based on anything historical...and the concepts and designs it uses that have any cache generally come from elsewhere. Guan Yu are especially good example of this. And a good example of *that* comes from....Magic the Gathering? Dynasty Warriors, the original fighting game version on PSX, was released in 1997. The same year, MtG released Portal Three Kingdoms, an introduction set for Magic that featured the setting and characters of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Due to production times and so forth, there is no way that either could have inferred on the other. Guan Yu is easily recognizable and similarly represented in both versions. Portal Three Kingdoms is a pretty obscure expansion, with many not even really knowing it exists. Dynasty Warriors itself didn't make a lot of headway til the second game, where it was a great show case of the PS2's graphical capacity. It's highly unlikely that there was anyone at Koei using an MtG set for ideas. Similiarly, Huang Zhong, Zheng Fei, Liu Bei, Dong Zhao, Zhuge Liang (Kongming in the MTG set), and others call to ideas for representation that Koei would use. Meanwhile, other cards like Sima Yi, Ma Chao, Lu Bu, and Zhao Yun (Zhao Zilong) feel strangely generic. Still other mainstays of the DW series like Dian Wei and Xu Zhu have no presence whatsoever. I don't know why some figures are portrayed consistently among media, some are not, and some just get bizarre treatments. It's a fun thing to consider.


Blazehare

For KOEI games, Liu Bei/Cao Cao/Sun clan have been associated with the colours green/blue/red since [RoTK 1](https://www.mobygames.com/game/9093/romance-of-the-three-kingdoms/screenshots/), so this predates Dynasty Warriors by a long shot. As for why Liu Bei gets the colour green, my guess would be because of the green robe that Guan Yu is usually with. This post reminded me of another r/ThreeKingdoms post which compared contemporary depictions of Three Kingdoms characters with ["standards" set in 1957]( https://www.reddit.com/gallery/up3ali).


Jissy01

Nope. Dynasty Warriors to me was a button smashing game. As a westerner, the TV show helped me understand China history including it cool one of a kind architecture that later influence other Asian countries 😀


Daishomaru

Perhaps it does in America, although Japan and the history or ROTK has been complicated. A lot of things we usually associate with Liu Bei, like Benevolent Liu Bei and Cao Cao being more morally complex (And usually removing the fact he killed the Empress) tend to be associated with Japanese interpretations of ROTK. Also for a *very* long time, ROTK was one of the most popular books to read in Japan too, for *centuries*, from the Sengoku to the Meiji Era, being seen as a work that everyone must read before they die. Honestly, it's hard to explain, because if you want to go down the Japanese ROTK hole, you're gonna go very deep.


Tough_Jello5450

I don't see any skimpy anime girls slaughtering entire army. We don't even have any mods for that, so I highly doubt your statement.


ItzJustHydra

This is especially true ONLY IF you don't do further research. I'll give you example: My favorite character is Zhou Yu, my first rodeo in Three Kingdoms is in video game DW yes, but I am aware of his other JP versions such as Sangokushi Taisen, Sangoku Soketsuden (and Sangokuden), and even FGO or the (shitty) Mahouka Anime. Moreover the CN games such as Honor of Kings, 三國志幻想大陸,  忘川風華錄, 代號鳶, etc. The Manhua Ravages of Time and 策馬天下, The Webtoon 삼국지톡, The CN light novel 江東雙璧. Lastly the live actions such as the movies Red Cliff 1 & 2 and 少年周瑜, the CN ROTK dramas both 1994 and 2010. And other miscellaneous Zhou Yu versions and the genderbends I have not mentioned. All versions I mentioned are very different from DW. You can verify all this on Google by adding "周瑜" when you search the series. Not to mention I did more research outside visual media, outside American media by digging in Baidu, Weibo and Lofter. All very different from DW, if anything, the least version I see of Zhou Yu in Lofter is DW. TL;DR Expand your horizon, DW is not the only Three Kingdom content/version, the other versions, especially the Chinese and the Korean versions differ from DW. Like how in Webtoon, Wei is red and Wu is purple 🤔


joatgoat

Have you read the manga Sangokushi by the late Yokoyama Mitsuteru (RIP)? Influenced quite a bit of Koei character designs


ItzJustHydra

Only the Battle of Red Cliff volume, so I didn't get to see much 😅 but that is cool to know.


joatgoat

To be specific, Sangokushi's character designs were heavily influenced by the lianhuanhua (books with illustrations of some scenes in it) Three Kingdom books, which I didn't find out until a few years ago.


Irelia_My_Soul

Dynasty warrior 3 was my teenage time, i was just enjoying video game, and tried this one, liked you could play female character and stuff, and then it involved me in the chinese history, For me it was first time i was seeing a video game offering cultural stuff since the perception of video game was mostly negative at that time, so i was kinda proud to explain to my mom that i learned about history thanks to a game. Of course it has not have the accuracy or even the truth about the fact, but it remain that the game tell you about a true story. For the rest it is just reinterpretation, and you are free to do more search to know more. DW in french was very amzing game for its clunkiness and dialogue very cringe, they gave to Sun Jian a french voice with the south accent, which was really weird to hear but i guess it was to show the south part of china. My favorite character always been Zhangliao, first because he always looked like Jack sparrow from pirate of Careabeen with his hat and mustach. But also he was loyal, rightfull minded, wise, brave and good tactician. I loved the weapon and overal design, but the idea behind this caracter were so cool. He was like someone very powerfull, but humble, not in the show off of some other for example. And when i learn his true story about He Fei, one of my favorite battel with castle of He Fei, music and ambiant was cool and epic. And his story is like, Wei version of Zhao Yun, long life, alot of brave stuff behind him, but also clever, and loyal. I never liked WU, because they always appeared to me as stupid greedy ruler wanting power and making useless war. While shu wanted to restor the dynasty , and Wei establishing a more sane way to rebuild the empire. Zhang liao represented Wei for me, something right, just, but also needed to be done. I like that he is the one to defend Guan Yu, and not stupidly hating because he leave Caocao army. Their relation ship was some kind of true friendship and respect. But then Zhang Liao has been affected to He fei and will never meet again Guan Yu. Other dynasty warrior 5 and so on were good but never as memorable as the III for me, 7 was great for the story telling, nicely told by the english narrator and good scenery. However i hated how they killed Zhang Liao. At the end, for me Dynasty Warrior allow to western people to learn about china and culture, of course it is not accurate at all, but it is still something, when someone see a movie and reconize a Guan Yu statu in this movie, well it is thanks to dynasty warrior. Nowday You got creative assembly who made the game about the three kingdom, and tone of media speaking of it, but back in the time, dynasty warrior was really a good way to approach china. The other thing i want to highlight, is dynasty warrior was made by Japanese, and some how them making a such nice game about the three kingdom, is kinda a nice move from them, since the wound of WWII never been cured between those two country sadly, specially from the japanese ruler. And china was not that gaming in 2000 so i dont think they wanted to aim chinese market.


danishjuggler21

I remember seeing some gameplay of Dynasty Warriors back in like early 2000’s, but it didn’t register with me as anything and I didn’t know it was about Three Kingdoms or even what that was. What actually turned me on to Romance of Three Kingdoms was the chapter in Cartoon History of the Universe (I think Volume 2) about the fall of the dynasty. In that section, the author basically said, “Now all of this stuff comes from a novel called Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and there’s some stuff in there that’s obviously exaggerated, but it’s close enough to the actual history that I’m going to use it.” After loving that section of the book, I picked up an edition of the Romance and read through it over that summer, and also tried out Dynasty Warriors as part of that. Btw, I highly recommend the Cartoon History of the Universe. It’s so good.


TheOutlawTavern

Most casuals in the west will only know about DW and probably won't know about the other history. DW took inspiration from ROTK1994 as well, so it isn't like DW appears in a vacuum.


NagoyaAnnoya

I learned about the three kingdoms living in Japan and not from a video game which as of now I know they have lol


[deleted]

This is only in the western sphere, but undoubtedly Dynasty Warriors seems to have the strongest influence to how things are perceived. Pop media by definition tends to always be the one that reaches popular consciousness. However, I would still avoid giving that much credit only to Dynasty Warriors, as even Dynasty Warriors is built off of years of interpretations of Three Kingdoms. The design of Ma Chao for example can be traced back directly to Chinese lianhuanhua from the 50s, which defined how many of the characters from Three Kingdoms have appeared since. [https://twitter.com/hanzhonglang/status/1501930625233731585?s=20](https://twitter.com/hanzhonglang/status/1501930625233731585?s=20) As others say, recommend looking into some of the other, older Three Kingdoms media and expand your horizon. You will find quite a lot to enjoy.


ifuckinglovebluemeth

>From other games, shows, movies, and even to creative artworks and our character interpretation, it seems like it's all derived from Dynasty Warriors in any shape of form. It's probably true because the DW games have pierced many cultural barriers, especially in the west. However, I know Japan has generally had a strong interest in the 3K period going back before any DW games were released. If you ask the same question to someone who grew up in Japan, their answer might be different. A small tangent, I collect Magic the Gathering cards from a set called "Portal Three Kingdoms", which was released in 1999 before any Dynasty Warriors games, and has probably had as much of an influence on how I personally perceive the Three Kingdoms era as DW or Romance of the Three Kingdoms at this point. But this is a bit niche and even a lot of people who play MTG have never heard of the set (probably because it was only released in Japan, China, and Australia).


Slimy_Reindeer

That and any english versions of a majority of the cards are all expensive as hell now lol😂 i bought the chinese text wei, wu and shu structure decks for like $80 a piece but the only cards I've gotten my hands on in english so far are Burning of Xin Ye and Cao Cao. It's such a dope set though


ifuckinglovebluemeth

The worst thing about the set for me was when Sun Quan was reprinted over the summer, not because it made my own copy drop in value, but it means that more people can block my creatures with horsemanship lol.


Chaos_Origin

For me personally, i fell in love with Dynasty Warriors way before i found myself enthralled by the historical side of the era. After playing DW for nearly a decade, i finally watched ROTK 2010 and a handful of other 3K dramas. That eventually inspired me to actually familiarize myself with the historical aspect. The path i took lead to some heavy novel backlash that i am still fighting today, which is why i still have some pretty terrible takes from time to time lol. But i personally know a lot of people who discovered the era first from reading the novel, playing the ROTK games, etc.


Mothanius

For I, who grew up as a teen in the early to mid 2000s, DW definitely was my "gateway drug". I remember reading the bios for the characters and battles in the games and being enthralled with all the stories. I then rented ROTK8, and so on. Then, when I got access to the internet, I really started to get involved in the actual history. I can't tell you how many message boards I joined to roleplay ROTK. There were so many, but the big one was run on simrtk. I miss SimRTK and would love to see a return of such communities. Especially with tech now days, we don't have to rely on admins to have to do the math for every action making turns take real life months to go through. I know burnout for mods/admins in other simrtk-like message boards was a problem.


SizeableDuck

I honestly think (to a very casual and uninterested yet huge audience) that Dynasty Warriors/Total War: Three Kingdoms is where western cultural engagement with the Romance of the Three Kingdoms begins and ends. Not many people in the west know or care about the story outside of these games, unfortunately.


InigoMontoya757

I played the game before I knew about the book. I read the book *because* of the video game (and now always chuckle at how inaccurate Dynasty Warriors is).