Wo Long Fallen Dynasty: More than a Nioh with a mustache? Answer in interview!

Game News Wo Long Fallen Dynasty: More than a Nioh with a mustache? Answer in interview!

After Ninja Gaiden, two Nioh and more recently Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin, Team Ninja returns with Wo Long Fallen Dynasty, a new action role-playing game in the vein of Souls-like. On the sidelines of our preview, we had a long discussion with the two producers of the project. So, real renewal for the Japanese studio? Our answers.

Today, we can say that Team Ninja has its work cut out for it. After the arrival of Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin – in March 2022 – the Japanese team is about to release Wo Long Fallen Dynasty, a new Souls-like action-RPG scheduled for early next year. As if that wasn’t enough, the studio revealed during the recent State of Play another project, Rise of the Ronin. A PS5 console exclusive that should reach us in 2024! So yes, it’s not for now, and for now, Wo Long is the star of the team. In order to learn more about the latter, we spoke with Fumihiko Yasuda | Masaaki Yamagiwa, game producers who worked on Nioh and Bloodborne respectively. As a reminder, Wo Long Fallen Dynasty will tumble on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series | One and “day one” on the Game Pass.

Wo Long, “our next big step”

So, what exactly is Wo Long? “After Nioh, it’s our next big step” the producers of the software answer us bluntly. “It’s a similar kind of game – action-RPG – (…) but there is full of differences which we would like to emphasize. For example, we are focusing here on the story of the Three Kingdoms, in China. Another important difference, compared to the Nioh series, is that the concept is not ‘samurai action’ but ‘Chinese martial arts’. Our goal is really to bring this style of fighting and its fluid action to life.”

And the least we can say is that Team Ninja seems to have hit the bullseye. As part of our preview, we were able to try Wo Long for several hours and came out totally conquered by the atmosphere, on the one hand, but especially by the combat system. Here, no stamina bar (unlike other games of the genre) but a gauge that gradually rises as you use special strikes, block attacks and dodge. Of course, when the gauge in question reaches its maximum, you are defenseless. So, knowing that the timing to save your skin is less permissive than in the past and that parrying a blow lowers this famous index, Wo Long quickly pushes to go to melee, guard raised, waiting for deflect the opposing assault, to create the opportunity to attack. A treat to use.

“(With Wo Long, editor’s note) we don’t want to make a game where you attack and run away, you attack and run away… We want you to be close to the enemy you’re facing! Right under his nose, to deflect blows (…) to move around. We also want to make sure that all of this carries the image and elements of Chinese martial arts, that’s important to us.” – Fumihiko Yasuda and Masaaki Yamagiwa, producers of Wo Long (Team Ninja)

An adventure as demanding as ever

During our preview, Wo Long’s combat system seemed fresh and quite innovative. It is certain, the action phases have us “absorbed” to use the words of Team Ninja. We had fun, but also a lot of beatings. The gameplay of the game requires a lot of learning, especially mixed with the challenge offered, always very full-bodied (the final version will be slightly reworked on this point). “To date, we have no no plans to add an easy mode” note the producers of Wo Long. “We really want players to feel a sense of satisfaction when they manage to overcome the toughest obstacles. It’s something very important for the game and for the genre in general”. Yes, you have been warned.

Wo Long Fallen Dynasty: More than a Nioh with a mustache? Answer in interview!

We couldn’t resist asking the question because, lately, demanding action titles (Sifu, Steelrising) have proven that an easy mode could be compatible with this kind of experience. Even so, Wo Long is betting on a little twist that will affect our relationship to difficulty. The hero has a Morale level – influencing its strength – which will evolve as the battles are won. Basically, the longer you stay undefeated, the better your luck against hefty enemies. We won’t go into the details (see our overview) but it is possible to block his Morale Level even if you pass the weapon to the left. In other words, in the long term, it is possible to widen a non-negligible power gap against the adversaries. “It’s a good way to manage the difficulty” confides Fumihiko Yasuda | Masaaki Yamagiwa.

Widen the gap with the Nioh license

Whether it’s the setting, the battle system, the Morale Level, Team Ninja seems to be doing everything possible to give Wo Long an identity of his own. That’s not all. Another point that caught our attention during the demo is the level design, more open than in Nioh even if it meets the specifications of the genre (tortuous paths and shortcuts to unlock). It is possible to jump or climb certain walls. Exploration becomes more stimulating!

“Since we are focusing on Chinese martial arts, we thought jumping was important. It fits like a glove in combat, to the theme of the game (…) We also feel that it makes the experience more instinctive, with the ability to leap or jump with an attack. You have more possibilities” – Fumihiko Yasuda and Masaaki Yamagiwa, producers of Wo Long (Team Ninja)

Incidentally, Team Ninja specifies that Wo Long is not an open world game – unlike Rise of the Ronin – and that like Nioh, the structure of the software will opt for a quest system from a world map. We can therefore expect a lifespan just as monstrous as Nioh 2 (about 50 hours). As you will have understood, Wo Long seems to be offering a new and solid experience. As for the release date, we have no new information to give you. As a reminder, the title is scheduled for early 2023 on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series | One.

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