With the chapter officially closed on the Dark Souls series, it seems FromSoftware are ready to move onto their next project. As Dark Souls director Hidetaka Miyazaki’s latest project, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is the company’s return to feudal Japan, after years of not making another Tenchu game. It’s became one of the most anticipated games shown at E3 2018, as well as having a good showing at Gamescom 2018. 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?
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice will be released on March 22nd 2019, as was revealed during Gamescom 2018. It will be made available for pre-purchase digitally either through Steam and through its official website. There doesn’t seem to be a physical version available for PC owners.
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 RPS fanzine 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. That is of course providing they’re not looking directly at you when you stand back up.
From other footage around the time of Gamescom 2018, there seems to be an icon on the lower part of the screen that shows you how many times you can get back up. Also, there is a limitation to getting back up based on punishing enemies that are staggered, and recovering one life lost whenever you defeat a large foe. Other than this, you resurrect at the last point where you rested.
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.