After the Indian government banned a number of Chinese mobile apps last week, Indian startup nCore Games has announced FAU-G, a mobile battle royale game. FAU-G has been mired in controversy regarding its setup, design, and presentation.
Why is FAU-G controversial?
nCore's game seems to have garnered controversy for a number of reasons. The first is the game's setting. At least some of FAU-G's content will take place in the Galwan Valley, a border area between India and China which has been the site of a lethal standoff between the two countries. The founder of nCore, Vishal Gondal, says 20% of the game's revenue will be donated to the Bharat Ke Veer trust for Indian soldiers.
In addition to this, there has also been some controversy around an image used for the game's artwork. According to nCore on Twitter, some have alleged that the artwork is plagiarized. However, nCore says it "officially bought the license to use the image from ShutterStock". The studio also says that the artwork is a placeholder image and that the official in-game artwork and title screen image will be released "soon".
As well as the above issues, there's also a rumor circulating that FAU-G is actually derivative of a project conceived by the late Indian actor Sushant Singh Rajput. On Twitter, Indian lawyer Vibhor Anand alleges that FAU-G is "the same AI gaming project" being worked on by Rajput prior to his death. For its part, nCore vehemently denies these allegations, calling them "completely false and baseless".
What's the background for FAU-G?
FAU-G's announcement comes after the Indian government banned PUBG Mobile and 117 other mobile apps last week. The Indian authorities said these apps were "prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity" of India. All of the apps banned were Chinese-developed and published; the list also includes Arena of Valor and battle royale game Knives Out. Despite the somewhat serendipitous timing of the announcement, nCore insists that the timing is coincidental, with founder Gondal telling The Indian Express that the game was "always in the pipeline" and was always on track for an October release. The game is also part of a push by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to create more video games "based on Indian culture".
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