Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice's Hero Actually Has A Voice
A first for From Software's Souls-like games.
From Software has revealed that its changing how it tells stories when it comes to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. The contrast of beauty against death will still be present in its narrative, but Sekiro will be about a specific character with his own backstory as opposed to a nameless, blank slate protagonist like in previous Soulsborne games.
"We're trying to tell more of a drama, if you will, of these characters," From Software marketing and communications manager Yasuhiro Kitao said to Game Informer in an interview. Sekiro follows the changing relationship between Young Lord and his guardian The Wolf, the latter of which you play as. In the beginning of the game's story, the two are attacked and Young Lord is kidnapped while The Wolf is left defeated with his arm cut off. Upon awakening, The Wolf receives his prosthetic arm and then sets out on a quest to find Young Lord and defeat those responsible for the assault.
On his journey, The Wolf will meet other characters, but unlike previous From Software games where the protagonist wordlessly responds to others, The Wolf will actually speak to people. He is his own person, with his own thoughts, feelings, and sense of morality. In turn, having a character with an established backstory has allowed From Software to implement storytelling techniques that are absent from past Soulsborne titles, such as flashback sequences.
All that said, From Software doesn't want to take away from players who love theorizing about the lore of Soulsborne games. Even though The Wolf has an established past, the history of the world he lives in--as well as the enemies, bosses, and some of the characters he meets--are fragmented. It'll be up to you to piece together exactly what happened prior to the game's events.
In Sekiro, From Software is breaking plenty of other conventions it's established with its past Soulsborne games. One of the most notable changes is in how boss battles play out, as Sekiro's expanded traversal mechanics--such as stealth, parkour, and a grappling hook--allow for more unique encounters. Sekiro also won't have an online multiplayer, so From Software has designed the game to allow players to actually pause the action wherever they are. Unlike Dark Souls III and Bloodborne, Sekiro will have a hub area that's connected to its world, allowing for more opportunities to freely explore.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice releases for Xbox One, PS4, and PC on March 22.