Dark Souls fans have a new game to look forward to, as Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice was announced during E3 2018 with a complete and feature-rich trailer. Additionally, Hidetaka Miyazaki - director of Demon Souls, Dark Souls 1 and 3, and Bloodborne - is announced to be helming the upcoming game, which expands on the "Soulsborne" style of gameplay, but with the setting and related aesthetic elements of Japan's Sengoku period.
Leaks and rumors of From Software’s new game began appearing within the past year, though many fans suspected that the build-up would eventually reveal a sequel to Bloodborne, the critically acclaimed PlayStation 4 exclusive. Now it’s clear that an entirely new property was in the works, with Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice appearing to be spiritually related to the Soulsborne games, but standing as its own original IP.
The E3 2018 reveal is already being readily dissected and celebrated by the expansive Miyazaki fan-base, and the trailer includes cinematic aspects as well as what appears to be actual captured gameplay. The dark artistic backgrounds, corrupted-looking character designs, enlarged demonic bosses, and intricate melee combat are all reliably reminiscent of From Software’s successful spate of modern games, and it even looks like the “trick weapons” from Bloodborne are making a return.
While From Software has experience in games utilizing mythic cultural Japanese aspects - Otogi and Otogi 2 for the original Xbox were early cult-favorite examples in the setting, as well as a few Tenchu games - this is the first time Miyazaki is exploring these concepts in one of his own directed titles. It’s an interesting development when considering the release of last year’s Nioh by Team Ninja, a game that also explored this setting, and that many critics compared to the Soulsborne series.
Interestingly, the main character in the trailer has a mechanical prosthetic arm, similar to that used by Nero in the Devil May Cry 5 trailer. Beyond that, it looks like character mobility has been modified once again, this time with a grappling hook attachment that assists climbing. This carries over mechanical design choices made in Bloodborne and Dark Souls 3 that pushed into a more proactive approach to gameplay, moving away from the “swords-and-boards” defensive strategies that were crucial to the first few Souls games.
One of the most significant takeaways about Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice actually not being a Bloodborne sequel is that the game is set to release on most modern platforms, with Xbox, PS4, and PC versions scheduled for early 2019.