10 years is a long time for fans to wait, but it was the longtime anticipation and demand from fans that kept the game alive. During the stage event for Ni-Oh, Koei Tecmo talked about the game’s development history and changes, gameplay, and online features. 4Gamer shares a summary from the event.
According to general producer Kou Shibusawa, Ni-Oh was originally being developed as an RPG that takes place during the Sengoku period. There was an alpha version, which was beginning to take its shape, but it ended up missing the fun-factor that they had originally hoped for.
It wasn’t until 2010 when Koei Tecmo decided to change its direction and make it into an action title. That was also the year Koei and Tecmo merged together, and with Tecmo’s Team Ninja, that specializes in making action games, all the pieces connected from there.
However, as Koei Tecmo developed the game, they’ve noticed that it was starting to be too similar to Ninja Gaiden, what you could call Team Ninja’s representative title. While you can’t always prevent such influences, some more changes were made after that, and that’s how the Ni-Oh that we got to see at Tokyo Game Show 2015 came to be.
Ni-Oh did get changes twice so far, with it becoming an action game, and one that takes place in old Japan with yokai, but the concept of having a blond samurai in the Sengoku era is something that hasn’t been changed in the past 10 years. It has been given the genre title of “Dark Sengoku Action RPG.”
Next, are some details on Ni-Oh’s gameplay.
The protagonist William is capable of fighting using all kinds of weapons from swords to spears. Speaers have better range and can hit numerous enemies, but if you’re in narrow areas you might end up hitting the walls, so it won’t always be easy. The weapons have their own characteristics, and there will also be stances that are better for offensive or defensive modes.
The online element called “Chinokatanazuka,” or “Bloodied Blade Mound,” will let you see bloody mounds of swords where other players have died. If you happen to touch these mounds, the player becomes “Shigurui,” or “confused corpse” and will begin a battle.
During the footage they showed at the event, a mysterious warrior appeared and fought William with everything it had after touching the bloody mound of swords. There are a bunch of these scattered around, and while they they me dangerous to take on, you can get some sweet loot by defeating them. Depending on the situation, you might occasionally get indecisive on whether you’d like to try taking it on or make a run for it instead.
The above image shows the Bloodied Blade Mound’s name as “Kou Shibusawa” for demonstration purpose, and that it’s at level 1. Pressing the circle button starts the fight.
Again, William can hold various “Guardian Spirits” in his weapons, and they’ll show up to do a powerful attack for a fixed period of time. However, if William dies the Guardian Spirit stays where he dies, and you’ll need to go back to retrieve it before being able to use it again.
Ni-Oh is slated for release in 2016 for PlayStation 4.