Not content with offering up a hard-as-nails medieval action RPG with Dark Souls, or causing nightmares through the cosmic horror of Bloodborne, FromSoftware has moved onto Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Set during the Sengoku period of Japanese history, this action adventure title looks set to provide a formidable challenge for those who take it on.
FromSoftware has become one of the go-to developers for stunning worldbuilding and tense, brutal combat. Because of this, there are a lot of eyes on Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. After all, the gaming world needs more new intellectual properties, and there’s plenty of interest in seeing whether FromSoftware can continue their fantastic run of releases into a new setting.
With that in mind, there’s a lot for some gamers to catch up on when it comes to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Read on to find out everything you need to know about this action title.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Release Date and Development
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has managed to sneak up on plenty of unsuspecting would-be players. After all, the game’s launch date is set for 22 March 2019, as part of a very congested start to 2019. The game will release for PC, PS4, and Xbox One, meaning that Nintendo Switch owners will need to swap to another console if they want to pick up Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
First announced during The Game Awards 2017, development on Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice reportedly started back in 2015 after FromSoftware finished work on the additional content of Bloodborne. The biggest reveal came during E3 2018, however, where Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice took center stage as part of Microsoft's press conference with a significant trailer. The game was also available to play as part of the expo, resulting in some positive early impressions for the title.
That said, the exact quality of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice won't be known until the title is already out. Publisher Activision has confirmed that Sekiro review codes won't be sent until release, meaning that those who are intending to grab the game at launch will have to do so with a leap of faith when it comes to quality.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Setting and Story
FromSoftware is giving players a major shake-up when it comes to setting and plot. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is set during a reimagined version of the Sengoku period Japan, an era of history that was typified by turmoil, unrest, and war between the different factions vying for power.
Within this setting sits the player character, a shinobi sworn to protect a young lord. After the lord is kidnapped following a savage attack, the player becomes the "one-armed wolf," having lost their arm and had it replaced with a prosthetic capable of abilities such as a grappling hook. From there, the player will need to track down the kidnapped lord and bring vengeance to those responsible.
It's certainly an interesting change of pace in comparison to FromSoftware's most recent games. Whereas Dark Souls and (in particular) Bloodborne held deep lore behind text entries and more ambiguity around plot development within gameplay, it appears as though Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has a much more direct and obvious story to resolve.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Gameplay and Combat
It's not just from a storytelling perspective that Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice feels different. Indeed, although there are some similarities when it comes to gameplay between the title and previous FromSoftware games, it's fair to say that Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice does play in a slightly different manner.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has an emphasis on combat, which is to be expected. However, the game frames its combat around breaking an opponent's posture rather than whittling down a health bar. The title's swordplay is all about about poise and balance, and victory comes when breaking an enemy's guard to open them up for a final finish.
Alongside this tweak to combat, there are also some other major changes to be found. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice adds a lot more agency when it comes to character movement, with the player able to use their grappling hook to move around and introduce verticality to the action, as well as utilize stealth mechanics to add some variety that has gone down well in gameplay previews.
How Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is Different From Dark Souls
Although there are the above gameplay tweaks, there's one major difference that separates Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice from the likes of Dark Souls and Bloodborne. As a matter of fact, the biggest change for Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice from other recent FromSoftware games is how it removes the RPG mechanics.
At its core, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is very much an action game. Those RPG elements like character creation and levelling are nowhere to be found, as to be expected in a game that seems to have a more linear focus. Without the level up system or weapon upgrades - aside from gadgets for the prosthetic arm - it means that users will have to contend with exactly how FromSoftware wants the game to be played.
Between the removal of RPG elements and the tweaks to character movement and combat, it certainly appears that Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice will be a very different animal for returning Dark Souls and Bloodborne players. Hopefully, these gameplay changes will end up as well-received changes to the strong FromSoftware formula.
The Roots of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Although Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a new property for FromSoftware, it actually ties into another video game series, albeit one that has been dormant for some time. The Tenchu series of games, which will be familiar to PlayStation players in particular, acted as inspiration for Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice - and it's one that FromSoftware has experience with.
Initially developed by Acquire and published by Activision, the publishing side of the Tenchu series was eventually taken over by FromSoftware. Indeed, discussions were held surrounding Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and whether it could fit into the Tenchu franchise; after all, both from a setting and gameplay perspective there are similarities to be found. However, it seems as though FromSoftware decided to have a clean slate.
Nonetheless, it will be exciting to see whether there are any through roads between Tenchu and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. After all, given the love for Tenchu in spite of the franchise's relative silence in recent years it wouldn't be a surprise to see a few nods to it in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice to keep fans happy.
That covers off everything players need to know about Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice ahead of the game's release. Given that reviews won't be out before the game has already been released for some time, it will be interesting to see whether it can continue FromSoftware's run of good form.