Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, Team Ninja tells us about his new soulslike in this interview

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, Team Ninja tells us about his new soulslike in this interview

Wo Long

Looking at Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty as a Nioh set among Chinese legends seems like an oversimplification, but for Team Ninja it's not such an absurd comparison. "Both games are action RPGs and have their roots in a historical setting interpreted in a fantasy key," game producer Fumihiko Yasuda explained to us when we interviewed him and the other producer, Masaaki Yamagiwa, at Gamescom 2022. " The union between story and fantasy is certainly something they have in common, but we like to think that Wo Long is an enhanced and perfected version of Nioh, with many additions and a large number of improvements ".

Wo Long is the first Team Ninja game set in Three Kingdoms China Yet, looking closer at this new action game from the authors of Ninja Gaiden, the impression is that the verticality of the maps, the choreography of the fights and the emphasis on aggressive style and fast approach this new soulslike more to the fast and relentless Sekiro than to the samurai game of the Japanese studio. The ability to jump at any time will allow Wo Long to climb structures, climb cliffs and jump off high ledges, giving the player more options for exploring the surrounding environment. "Now each scenario has a more three-dimensional component and in general you have a greater feeling of control and maneuverability of the character, both during the fights and while you are exploring the map," explains Yasuda. It is evident that Wo Long will be more frenetic than the most recent Team Ninja productions, but the producer assures that the pace will not be too fast: "Team Ninja has great experience with very fast action games", says Yasuda "Wo Long will be certainly faster than Nioh, but it won't reach the levels of Ninja Gaiden ".

Between Chinese folklore and demons

By eliminating powerful enemies, one's alter ego rises in rank and can obtain special upgrades and abilities. unlike the samurai of Nioh, the inspiration this time comes from the Chinese martial arts. "It's a fundamental part of Wo Long's experience," Yamagiwa explains. "We involved several martial arts experts, discussing with them what the movements should be like and trying to watch as many videos as possible so that the animations were authentic."

Equal attention has been paid to the setting, which draws heavily from Chinese culture and folklore. This is the first game set in China that Team Ninja works on, but it certainly isn't for Koei Tecmo, who for decades has been publishing games set in the Three Kingdoms period with series such as Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Dynasty Warriors. "For this we have actively involved the Chinese staff of Team Ninja and worked together with people who know these tales like the back of their hands," explains Yasuda.

However, although Wo Long's story dates back to the period of the Three Kingdoms, the producers are keen to underline how everything is revised in a dark fantasy key and how many of the elements represented are a personal, often original, vision of the creative team. "All the bosses and creatures you see in the game are based on Chinese folklore and mythology, and more specifically on Chinese demons," says Yasuda. In the trailer, in addition to an imposing dragon, the protagonist is seen summoning a firebird inspired by one of the Chinese constellations. "In Japanese we call it Suzaku and it is one of the summons in the game. There are also other divine beasts that can be summoned, and they are all based on creatures from Chinese mythology. Some of these will be used in combat, others will give the player special abilities. ".

Moral system and character creation

Don't be fooled by the cinematics: in Wo Long it will not be possible to control your character on horseback At a moment in the trailer you can see a cinematic sequence in which the protagonist makes his way on horseback, but the developers have confirmed that during the adventure there will be no mounts and that the player will have to advance only on his legs. The chat with the two producers also concerned the customization of the hero at the beginning and during the adventure. "As far as character creation is concerned, imagine an editor very similar to that of Nioh 2," says Yamagiwa. "Don't expect the same amount of weapons and armor as there was in Nioh 2, but there will still be plenty of gear to collect and use."

Dragons, demons and firebirds are just some of the mythological creatures that Team Ninja has reinterpreted in Wo Long A more traditional character growth is coupled with a morale system that affects the strength and abilities of both the player than enemies. The producers explain that the character will have a rank, and that this can increase by eliminating powerful enemies or by conquering some areas of the map. Increasing rank allows you to always get advantages, and once you reach a certain level you can also use special spells that the team calls Wizardry Spell. What makes this system interesting is the fact that enemies are also affected by the same dynamic, and every time an important character dies (be it the player or an enemy) the balance at play ends up changing. "This system changes the way in which the player relates to death, and also influences the path that one decides to take or the strategy with which to approach enemies".

The design of the creatures promises to be one of the most intriguing elements of Wo Long While not going into too much detail, Team Ninja talks about a production that for the amount of content should not stray too far from his most recent works, with about forty hours needed to complete the game from the beginning in the end. Those who want to can deepen the story through a series of secondary objectives, extra content at the end of the game, and above all the multiplayer options that allow you to fight against other people or have them join your team to play together.

a more concrete idea of ​​Wo Long's combat system and level of challenge we will have to wait a few weeks, however, when Koei Tecmo will bring a playable demo of his new action to the Tokyo Game Show 2022.

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