Sandbox Samurai: Way of the Samurai 4 Ported To PC

I'm good for crates, ta pal.

“Okay it’s really wonky and you might hate it at first BUT…!” is how Cara described Deadly Premonition to me and gosh, well that turned out to be one of my favourite games. So I’m interested by seeing people say “Okay it’s really wonky and you might hate it at first BUT…!” about Way of the Samurai 4. Publishers Ghostlight yesterday announced they’re porting Japanese developer Acquire’s sandbox samurai ’em up to PC from PS3, aiming for a Steam release “later this year”. People are muttering things about, say, finding yourself duelling a fish-wielding ronin dressed as a cat, the asynchronous echo of another player’s character from their own game. Tell me more!

Way of the Samurai 4’s set in Japan shortly after the end of its isolationist years. Your ronin can aid the British forces, side with the shogunate, try to kick the limeys out, or just lark about doing your own thing. Start a dojo or simply fish, perhaps. The game goes down across four days, with different missions and sandbox activities as time passes. It’s single-player, but AI-controlled versions of other players’ characters games might appear to duel you in a Dark Souls-ish sort of way. Ace.

The game has a Groundhog Day sort of thing going on, in that the game’s quite short but certain unlocks and decisions are persistent so you’re expected to play it a few times to try different things.

It also, grumble grumble, has a creepy but consensual (that’s its PS3 producer) dating and sex minigame. ‘Night crawling’, or yobai, was a real thing. It’s optional in Way of the Samurai 4, though.

PS3 reviews grumbled about its graphics and combat but hey, that’s what they said about Deadly Premonition too, and isn’t that one of the finest damn games you’ve ever played? I’m quietly hopeful. The port’s being done by Laughing Jackal. Here, have a trailer from that console release:

42 Comments

  1. Shieldmaiden says:

    I am very excited about this. I really enjoyed previous games in the series and I will certainly be grabbing this at some point.

  2. zontax says:

    Never heard of this before, but as a fan of wonky games I will keep my eye on this. I rather have an interesting wonky game than a highly polished AAA title.

  3. Drake Sigar says:

    Watched ‘Two Best Friends’ play this and wanted it ever since.

  4. Jimbot says:

    It’s a very silly game that’s loads of fun with some pretty archaic gameplay mechanics – mainly in the sword upgrading stuff. But as far as choose-your-own-adventure games go it’s top notch, though not perfect, in a genre that isn’t all that big. I put about a hundred or so hours in the PS3 version of the game but I am a big fan of the series.

  5. eggy toast says:

    I played Way of the Samurai 1 on PS2 and thought it was pretty fantastic, I don’t know anything at all about 2 or 3, but based on that I’m looking forward to getting 4 in some future Steam sale.

    • J. Cosmo Cohen says:

      I played the first game in the series, too. I remember thinking it had potential but overall wasn’t that great. However, I’ll probably support this on Steam because I want more obscure Japanese titles coming my way.

  6. CKScientist says:

    Oh man, it looks awesome.

    The weird bondage sex thing at 1.30 is a bit Japanese though.

  7. InfamousPotato says:

    The game looks interesting. I like how… new the setting seems. I mean, I don’t see a whole lot of games set in Japan, and even less (none) in that time period. The yobai thing (I read the article on everything2, but didn’t watch the youtube video) was somewhat horrifying, and generally terrible and wretched and disgusting. Glad it’s optional.

    • Malarious says:

      “Horrifying,” “terrible,” “wretched,” and “disgusting” is hyperbole if I’ve ever seen it. It’s a jokey side mechanic. You give a woman a few of her favorite gifts, meet her somewhere, then escort her back to her home. Then you can ask to be invited into her bed, at which point you have to sneak by guards in a hobbled-together stealth minigame, before finally engaging in some over-the-top foreplay with her to terminate the wholly consensual encounter.

      You could argue that it doesn’t add much to the game or that it’s not your cup of tea or whatever, but calling this wholly innocent sidequest “wretched” is ridiculous.

      You could argue that it’s objectifying women and presenting them as “goals” to be “conquered” by the player, and that’s degrading and sexist. That would also make you literally insane. You could say the same exact thing about Mass Effect or Dragon Age or any optional relationship in any video game ever. In this game it’s just treated with a lot of whimsy — that’s it.

      • drewdupe says:

        I may be wrong, but I think he is referring to historical yobai and not necessarily a game mechanic. I mean, it is a pretty “Horrifying,” “terrible,” “wretched,” and “disgusting”… I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you arn’t a practitioner yourself :D

      • Lobster9 says:

        People have said it about Dragon Age and Mass Effect in the past, especially with DA’s gift mechanic. It’s difficult to find a way of doing a romance mini-game of any kind without it essentially being a crackable puzzle, as all game mechanics tend to be solvable problems that you can eventually master and beat.

        I think the reason it rubs people the wrong way is that there are an alarming number of people who believe that doing nice things, and offering gifts should logically be rewarded with sex in real life. Obviously people who think that way are ridiculously wrong, but the “friend zone” mindset is so strangely common that it feels like a bad thing to endorse (indirectly or otherwise).

        I guess one way to change such a system, would be to offer red herring characters as “unconquerable mountains” to the mix. Characters who refuse your advances, because they simply aren’t interested. Bioware has added a couple of these in their more recent titles, along with adding a greater number of romantic development scenes beyond the inevitable unlockable pay off at the end.

        That’s not to say I think that any of these games are sexist, or that they HAVE to change (It isn’t the fault of game developers that some people are assholes to each other) but there might be other ways of getting the same result that can avoid the inevitable weirdness of sexy Pokemon.

      • InfamousPotato says:

        I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to say that about the game. I know far too little about the game to make that sort of comment. The article that you can read by clicking the yoboi link above talks about yoboi in history, not the game. That’s what I meant to call horrible, wretched, and disgusting, not the game, but rather what actually happened back then. I’m sorry that I didn’t word it better.

    • RARARA says:

      Well, then you should watch the video and actually see the context the game is presenting it in – more ‘stealthy consensual sexy fun time’ and less ‘unaccountable rape festival.’

      • InfamousPotato says:

        I’d like to apologize to you also. Rereading my comment, it seems like I’m saying that what they have in the game related to yoboi is disgusting, retched, and horrible. After rereading, I see that this is exactly what I said, but it was definitely not what I meant. The article on everything2 (which you can find by clicking yoboi on the RPS article) details what yoboi was historically. What the game has isn’t what that article described (though truth be told, I don’t know much about what the game has, so I wouldn’t be qualified to comment much on it), whereas in the game it’s consensual sex, historically (at least from the article I read, I’m no expert), it was rape more often than not. It’s what yoboi was in that time period that I found despicable, not the game. I said I’m glad it’s optional because I prefer to avoid sex scenes in video games, though (again, after rereading what I wrote) the way I worded it was completely off, and made it sound like I was referring to the game the whole time. I’m sorry, it was poor writing, and didn’t say what I meant it to say.

        • RARARA says:

          Did someone just apologize to me for a misunderstanding across the internet?

          Come here. Let me hug you.

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            Yes. Good people. Good internet people. What a good morning this is. <3

    • baozi says:

      Sure about not seeing a whole lot of games set in Japan? Compared to games with European settings, sure, but otherwise, most other cultures get less exposure…

  8. Dale Winton says:

    Never heard of it but I think I’ll have to buy because of the deadly premonition thing

  9. Gog Magog says:

    Deadly premonition is such wonderful garbage. I might have to check this out even though it’s probably not made by Swery65

  10. ZIGS says:

    Laughing jackal is doing the PC port huh? Who the hell is Laughing Jackal?

    *looks it up*

    Laughing Jackal Ltd is an independent video game developer, part of the Majesty House Group based in Essex, United Kingdom. Established in 2005, it has developed titles for Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, PSP, PlayStation Mobile, PlayStation 3 and iOS.

    welp

  11. ziusudra says:

    Dating and consensual sex is now creepy, got it rps.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      When, for every single person, it involves sneaking through their house evading or beating up other people, then using “attacks” (as the game calls them) to get them to drop their hard-to-get act, yeah, it is creepy.

      • Jimbot says:

        It’s definitely a cultural barrier kind of thing. That said, this game has it easy-peasy. Mine makes me go through all 35 chambers of shaolin before I’m even allowed to hold hands with her.

      • eggy toast says:

        To be fair, it’s a pretty simplistic game engine, attack and block are the only buttons the player has for interacting with other characters.

    • drewdupe says:

      Are people like you born this thick? Or does it come with practice.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      Yes, because dating and consensual sex was what was being spoken of…. not at all.
      Breaking into houses and raping IS creepy, and that appears to be what yobai was.
      In the game it appears to be breaking in, knocking people out, then “convincing” reluctant women. Yeah, that one’s neither dating nor consensual, thus creepy.

      Did you not notice the dialogue choice before “I think I’m in love” was “I’m allowed to kill you if I want to”??

      • Unclepauly says:

        Lol I saw that for a second as was like “WTF am I reading” O.O

  12. TimePointFive says:

    I think all this Deadly Premonition comparison is complete nonsense.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      And Deadly Premonition was complete nonsense, so… spot on, then.

      • Gog Magog says:

        Deadly Premonition is the Finnegan’s Wake of Twin Peaks.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      I’m not saying it’s like Deadly Premonition. I’m saying things I’ve heard people say about it being wonky but interesting are like things I’ve heard people say about Deadly Premonition being wonky but interesting. I often enjoy games which are wonky but interesting.

  13. JiminyJickers says:

    Haha, I just paid a fair penny to import this game for my PS3 only to have it come out on Steam later on. Will probably grab it during a sale, much prefer the PC.

    Would be keen to play the previous ones in the series as well, hopefully they will consider porting them too.

  14. DOLBYdigital says:

    So much fun, I actually got a PS3 for this game and for Demon Souls back in the day. All the WotS games are excellent so it’s worth checking out. Excited to see it getting more exposure although I agree with the article, it is a little wonky at first. Once you get into it the game really shines and is not like most other games.

  15. rerinus says:

    The Way of the Samurai series is one of those brilliant, quirky, low-profile franchises that more people should be aware of. When people talk about wanting more reactivity in their games, Way of the Samurai is one of the first things I think of (along with Alpha Protocol).

    It’s more broad than it is deep; a single playthrough tends to be really short. You can go through in an hour or two without much difficulty.

    But it’s the sheer variety of variations in plot that really make the game stand out. Some plot branches require you to be at a certain location at a certain time on a certain day. Others require you to kill (or not kill) certain people. Others might be unlocked simply by talking to a certain character enough times.

    I’m not usually someone who replays games a whole lot., but because each playthrough in WotS is so short, I don’t mind going through several times to explore different outcomes and variations on the story. Really, I wish we had a few more games willing to follow that example. Not everything needs to be a big, sprawling linear epic.

  16. statistx says:

    Fantastic News. I’d prefer a sequel that instantly comes to PC of course, especially since I already had and played WOTS4 when i had a PS3, but I’ll take this too.
    This is also one of the series where I hope that they get a bigger budget and are able to make it less wonky and bigger (contentwise, fuck graphics).

    It’s a real unique concept, to just make a character, enter the world, mess around in it and shape your own story, die, shrug, unlock some new stuff for your character with the points you got in the last game and start a new one over.

  17. Premium User Badge

    Harlander says:

    I ended up watching supergreatfriend’s LP of Deadly Premonition – it really seemed like a game more fun to watch and hear about than to play.

    I’m as interested in this as I was when I first heard about DP – is it likely to suffer the same fate?

  18. jodi says:

    Very interested in this. The first Way of the Samurai on PS1 was a fascinating, unique experience.

  19. koganoid says:

    umm.. it will be on steam this year?