With the first teaser for Shadows Die Twice premiering at The Game Awards last December, fans of the Kadokawa owned developer From Software have been speculating about what the game would be. With nothing more than a short clip to go off of, speculation started at Bloodborne II, then ran to a Tenchu revival due to the Japanese text seen in the background. Even Playstation 2 horror game Kuon was suggested due to a reused sound effect.
Premiering at the Microsoft E3 conference, the project was re-revealed with an update to its title. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice may look like another Souls-like on the surface, but the information that has been released after the trailer shows us some stark differences between Sekiro and the Souls series.
To start with the trailer, the game is set in a re-imagined Sengoku (1500’s) period in Japan. You play the titular Sekiro — nicknamed “The One Armed Wolf” — who is saved from the brink of death after losing his arm in battle. He awakens with an advanced prosthetic arm, and it is revealed that the lord he was in service to is still alive, so Sekiro sets out on a quest to redeem himself and to protect the young lord. The trailer does tout an awful amount about death, which definitely is something that may have some dredging up Dark Souls comparisons.
Here is where that ends, however. While combat does appear at first to be the slow and deliberate Souls-style, developers have explained that the game is about “stances and creating the feeling of swords clashing” vs a stamina management system, which elicits a bit of a Nioh vibe. If death occurs however, players are revived on the spot rather than at the last check point. Most surprisingly, Sekiro will feature no multiplayer. From Software also reports that there are no classes, and no statistics to increase. The variety in gameplay will come from how you decide to progress through the levels, using a “blend of stealth, vertical traversal, and visceral head to head combat in a bloody confrontation.”
The grappling hook alone will make this a drastically different game, as Souls games have historically featured everything from more open fields and castles, to cramped dungeons and sewers. It’s a very exciting prospect to think about what From Software can do with a greater amount of height in their level design. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice will release in 2019.