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Whore of the Orient title under fire for being racially insensitive

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The title of open-world crime drama from L.A. Noire creator Brendan McNamara and Australian production company Kennedy Miller Mitchell, Whore of the Orient, has come under fire from a prominent member of the Australian-Chinese community, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

According to the Australian publication, Jieh-Yung Lo, who is the deputy mayor of Monash Council, states that the "The O-word is very similar to the N-word for African-American communities" and the game is an ''attempt to disgrace Chinese culture, history and traditions."

Announced last August for Windows PC and next-gen consoles, Whore of the Orient is set in a 1936 Shanghai, as China began to modernize due to Western influence. In the game, the International Police Force struggles to keep the peace as the Kuomintang political party starts to roll back imperialist changes and suppress Communism under Chiang Kai-shek.

''The most shocking revelation is that [game developer] Team Bondi received $200,000 from Screen New South Wales to develop the project,'' Lo said. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Lo plans to complain to the Human Rights Commission on grounds of racial vilification.

Kennedy Miller Mitchell received $200,000 in funding towards development of its open-world game from Screen NSW, a branch of the Australian government, in June.

''Australian institutions should be encouraged to fund projects and initiatives that cultivate mutual understanding and prosperity in the Australia-China relationship. We need to build greater trust and cultural understanding rather than promote division and negativity.''

The first gameplay footage of the open-world title surfaced last month and offers a look at the next-gen game's open world, main characters and combat mechanics.

Polygon has reached out to Kennedy Miller Mitchell and Jieh-Yung Lo for comment.