One of the most popularly requested civs in the AoE2 community is the Tibetans. And it would make perfect sense to add them. When you look at fanmade maps of AoE2 civs, there is always a huge gap in the area of Tibet. They have so much interesting history and influence, they interacted with enough AoE2 civs during the time period, not least the Chinese who they were a real thorn in the side of during the Tang period, and if they were to add more Asian civs, I think they would be near the top of most people’s list.
A lot of people seem certain that this would never happen because the CCP would ban the game because, well, politics, and AoE2 has a HUGE playerbase in China. Remember that despite how Forgotten Empires, like all of us, are fans of the game who live and breathe AoE2, they are also a business and a company, and avoiding Tibet would be a financial based decision given that losing the game’s Chinese playerbase would cost them money. Fair enough.
However, a couple of points. EU4 features Tibet and that game hasn’t been banned in China. To my understanding, it is when people say that Tibet is not part of modern day China that the CCP start getting a little funny, and I’m not sure if they would care all that much that a game acknowledges that Tibet existed independently 1000 years ago. Remember that the CCP view the China as presented in AoE2 (and up to the mid 20th Century) as a completely different, and inferior, China to the one they rule over. Also, what if they added the Tibetans under a different name, such as the Bodpas, or used an umbrella civ such as the Tanguts, to sneak them in? There are campaigns in AoE2 where China are the enemy, particularly Le Loi and Genghis Khan. And lastly, to appease China, they could just include a campaign on Taizong which involves a scenario where you smash the bejeezus out of the Tibetans at Songhzou?
So what do we think? And can anyone with more knowledge than myself give insight into the CCP’s attitude towards acknowledgement of Tibet from pre-Maoist China?
I think I heard something about when they were working on Age of Conquerors they were initially going to include Tibetans, but then scratched it. We’ll probably never know the internal conversations that resulted in it being scratched, but if it had to do with Chinese market concerns then those concerns will probably still exist within Microsoft now. The Tanguts idea is an intriguing way around it though.
Ensemble likely dodged a bullet, given how many problems they had with adding Koreans on Microsoft’s behalf. CCP censors go way harder on requirements and representation than even their pickiest neighbors. Of course, it’s not a problem if the Chinese civ itself has notable inaccuracies (which it did), but that adjacent civs over which modern China claims sovereignty don’t get to stand out, hence the Tibetan problem.
The nice thing about placing a Tibetan campaign under the Tanguts is that Microsoft/FE can just say “oh, Tibet’s obviously part of today’s China, so we’re just talking about an older Tangut empire in the same region”. It’s not going to fool the most hardline politicians, but they aren’t the ones paying attention to non-blockbuster foreign media getting localized for their market. Just add Princess Wencheng to the campaign (an opening mission centered on founding the empire, maybe) for safety.
It was mainly the Sea of Japan vs. Sea of Korea kerfuffle, but I can’t imagine Korean officials were fans of the historic battle referencing the Imjin War either (though playing as Yi Sun-sin softened the blow).
I agree that Tanguts getting a proper Western Xia campaign would be ideal. It’s just convenient that both Tibetans and Tanguts belonged to the contemporary Sino-Tibetan culture/language group, meaning FE could go either way with choosing Tubo or Western Xia depending on the circumstances. If FE chooses the latter but adds a nod or two towards the Tibetans in the civ design, then it becomes much easier for fans to make custom campaigns based on Songtsen Gampo and the like.
The average CCP censor, bureaucrat, etc. would still notice if Tibet’s a big thing, presented on its own terms in a way they could perceive as nationalistic (however vaguely), so changing the framing to “they’re part of the Tanguts” minimizes that.
I don’t get why certain countries get so bent out of shape about rough history they had in the past. You lived, it’s a real thing that happened, chill out and stop trying to alter or hide history…just my two cents.
In terms of popularity and influence in history, Tibetans should be the umbrella covering the Tanguts, not the other way around, if we really want one of them to be the umbrella covering the other.
Ideally it would be best if the Tibetans and Tanguts can become their own civilizations. But if we need an umbrella, looking for their common ancestor, the Qiang, might be a better choice than one of them.
Qiang is the other choice worth considering, only confused by the existence of a distinct Qiang people today. Still, that’s a modern context which most players won’t consider, so I think it works. This allows a separate Tanguts civ and campaign, plus room for custom campaigns for subjects like the Later Qin dynasty (part of the Sixteen Kingdoms era).
Question. This game Emperor Rise of the Middle Kingdom was released and had the Tibetans, Mongols, Koreans etc as antagonistic rivals of China and as far as I know, this game was not banned in China. This was set in ancient/medieval times so why is it an issue? Also being part of a nice Chinese DLC centred on Tang and Song glories would help manage sensitivities. Tibetans, Jurchens and Khitans (hopefully this third one too) and reworked Chinese civ, plus campaigns for all the 3 civs plus Chinese, Koreans and Japanese. Price it at $20/$25 accordingly given the content added.