Wild theories have surrounded the three words “Shadows die twice”. My personal favourite was that From Software’s new game was a return to the Tenchu series, since they own the rights. Turns out this was partially right, but only in the sense that it’s about ninjas. As Dark Souls director Hidetaka Miyazaki’s latest project, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is the company’s return to feudal Japan. It’s fast become one of the most anticipated games shown at E3 2018 and it’s different from anything FromSoftware have developed since Demon’s Souls. So here’s everything we know so far on Sekiro, including snippets from what others have seen behind closed doors and clues from the shown footage.
When is Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice’s release date?
Despite many speculation about specifically when the game will launch, the only concrete bit of information at this time is stating a rather loose early 2019 release date. It’s also unclear at this time where you can buy Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice on PC, since Activision have started putting their games on Battle.Net rather than Steam.
Is Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice the new Dark Souls?
In short, not really. Sekiro is more closely related to Tenchu – a series that From Software acquired the rights for. Initially, the team behind Sekiro wanted to make a new Tenchu game according to a Variety interview with From Software’s Tasohiro Kitao, “Internally, there was a desire to make a game based on Japan, From Software owns the Tenchu IP. They were looking at a lot of places for inspiration, and that was one of the ones they looked at. The game is its own IP. It stands on its own, but Tenchu was an inspiration.” The name Sekiro means “one-armed wolf”, which is based on old Japanese terminology that relates to the main character’s missing limb.
But that doesn’t mean that the Souls series won’t have some influence, as from what little has been available to play, Sekiro at least maintains that old Souls difficulty. Beyond that, there are no traditional RPG stats this time around, and only a little emphasis on obtaining new weapons, though the player will use gadgets to vary things up a little bit. There are at the very least boss battles against weird and wonderful bad guys, such as the massive lad that barfs on his own sword or the samurai riding the horse.
How dying works in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
One of Dark Souls’ most distinct features was its treatment of death. Sekiro has its own twist on this. According to PC Gamer, as soon as you die, you get the opportunity to spring back up again as if nothing ever happened. The best part is that your foes lose interest in you as soon as you die, meaning you could in theory secretly dispose of some of your assailants before they realise what’s happening. Otherwise, it doesn’t look like there’s anything like the souls system in Dark Souls.
Is Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice just like Nioh?
From what coverage has been available thus far, the setting is similar in that it takes place during the Sengoku period. That is however where similarities end. In Nioh, you were the first western samurai in an otherwise very Souls-like game. In Sekiro, you’re a ninja with a “Shinobi Prosthetic” and that a huge part of the combat is momentum and posture based. Combat has a lot more of an authentic impact, like a sword duel. Instead of just smacking an opponent until they die; you clash swords, shields, and even axes until either you or the enemy lose enough composure that a killing blow can be struck.
As a ninja, the main character is also much more mobile. There is a button purely for jumping, as well as a grappling hook for scaling walls. The Tenchu elements come in the form of being able to instantly kill some enemies while hidden, pressing up against walls, hanging off edges, or laying low in the tall grass.
What is Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice’s story?
In yet another big departure from the Dark Souls formula, Sekiro has a much more linear narrative. It follows a shinobi in the late 1500s who is disgraced and disfigured while failing to defend his young lord from being captured by the Ashina clan. He now sports a new prosthetic arm and has sworn to rescue his young master.
The Japanese website holds a few more clues that were translated by Reddit user “AmaranthSparrow”, which goes into more detail about some of the characters. The Prince is apparently the sole living descendant of an ancient clan that once lived in Ashina. His capture seems to be motivated by this lineage. It’s also revealed that the commander of the Ashina forces was the one who lopped off his arm. The man who saved the shinobi that is briefly seen in the trailer carving Buddha statues, is known only as the Busshi of the Desolate Temple; he is said to offer his assistance to the shinobi.
There certainly isn’t a lot to go on when it comes to Sekiro at this time, but this page will be regularly updated as more details and coverage of the game appears in the future, leading to its release in early 2019.