Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is an incredibly ambitious title for developers Koei Tecmo and Team Ninja that takes place in 184 AD, Later Han Dynasty China. Check out our preview to see it in action.
There’s a lot to look forward to here, but to get a better idea of the game’s concepts and systems we were able to speak with producers Fumihiko Yasuda (Nioh) and Masaaki Yamagiwa (Bloodborne).
Azario Lopez: Koei has been the developer of the long-running Romance of the Three Kingdoms series. Did you need to get that team’s blessing before pitching the idea of your telling of the Three Kingdoms?
YASUDA: We didn’t need to get their blessing. In order to create “KOEI TECMO’s darkest Three Kingdoms” game that Team NINJA wanted to create, those with experience in the series and people with detailed knowledge of the material were central in supporting us to keep it authentic, and they were an enormous help.
AL: Why choose to tell the story of this nameless militia soldier instead of simply creating Nioh 3?
YASUDA: When thinking about the future of the Nioh series, we were thinking about a world that wasn’t Sengoku-era Japan, and since I personally really like the stories of the warriors of the Three Kingdoms, we began thinking of the concept of a masocore game based in the chaotic Three Kingdoms. The several thousand year history of China and its mythology, the visual style of the Later Han period, the overwhelming scale of such a map, and combat with speed and maneuvering centered on Chinese martial arts all lead us to decide that this is a concept for a new title, and that’s when we began production on Wo Long.
AL: What elements from Nioh and Bloodborne do you feel influenced the creative process behind the combat of Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty?
YASUDA: In the Nioh series, we aimed to create battles where we were conscious of samurai-like stillness and movement through the Ki (stamina) system and its features of Ki Pulse and stances. On the other hand, in Wo Long there isn’t the concept of stamina, but instead there are deflects which can switch from offensive to defensive moves in a split second, so this game is designed with the speed of battles and the constant switching between offense and defense in mind. Enemies are powerful with few openings for attack, but I think players will be able to enjoy these much more aggressive battles.
AL: The Nioh and Bloodborne series are known for their high level of difficulty. Can we expect to see this in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty?
YAMAGIWA: This game is by no means an easy game, but through overcoming difficult situations by trial and error, we want players to feel the immense sense of accomplishment of overcoming those situations. In order to do that, the game can’t be unreasonable and must be fair with a high degree of freedom, so we are very careful to ensure it retains the signature feel of a Team NINJA game.
AL: The environments appear to be large open areas for fights to take place. Was this design choice to show off the acrobatic combat and what looks to be demon summons?
YAMAGIWA: We thought it was a vital feature in order to show the enormous scale of China and also to have a gameplay experience where map exploration feels three dimensional especially when jumping.
AL: Is there a focus on weapon and player customization? How does this title’s customization differ from other action games?
YAMAGIWA: Players can customize the character growth according to their playstyle by customizing and strengthening weapons and equipment, growth elements that are based on the Chinese Five Phases, a skill tree for Wizardry Skills and more.
Also, since battles change based on the warriors met in the story, as well as relationship levels and combinations of warriors, we’re also creating the game so that players can enjoy not only their own character customization, but also party building aspects.
AL: How will replayability be implemented into the overall experience to make character progression distinct for all players?
YAMAGIWA: Since it is also a game that has online features, we want it to be played for as long as possible so we do have replayability features in mind that would vary according to the number of playthoughs.
AL: With Fumihiko Yasuda and Masaaki Yamagiwa working on this game, can you share a story that took place during development that stood out to you? For example, maybe you overcame a challenge, or an idea worked out?
YASUDA: Yasuda is a Three Kingdoms aficionado and Yamagiwa has created masocore games from an objective viewpoint, so I think we’re working well together. Especially when it comes to selecting characters and the game’s promotion.
AL: These challenging action games have become more and more popular over the years. Do you see yourself sticking with this genre, or would are there any other genres you’d like to explore in the future?
YASUDA: We’re very particular about the incentives and sense of accomplishment that can only be delivered by this genre, so we intend on keeping close tabs and value our work on it. We hope to greedily challenge various other genres and game designs, but games that core gamers think aren’t exciting are ones that I believe to have a low demand or need for Team NINJA to make.
AL: Is there anything you’d like to share with fans awaiting Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty?
BOTH: Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is a highly challenging action RPG based in a dark and chaotic Three Kingdoms world, and makes use of the flowing action of Chinese martial arts to challenge supernatural warriors and powerful demons. We hope you all look forward to Team NINJA’s creation of KOEI TECMO’s darkest Three Kingdoms game, filled with history and fantasy, and loads of action!
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