Koei Tecmo’s developers have affirmed their confidence in linear mission based Dark Souls like games, in their production of Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty.
In an interview with Video Games Chronicle, Wo Long producer Fumihiko Yasuda had this to say
“We have played the game, and we thought Elden Ring did a great job of creating a seamless world experience. But for Wo Long, we’re not looking to make this particularly an open-world experience. We’re instead trying to focus on what we feel we do very well here at Team Ninja, which is making mission-based action games with a lot of intensity that’s concentrated in those stages that you’re going to be battling through.”
Co-producer Masaaki Yamagiwa also chimed in:
“Yeah, we do think that there’s still a lot of possibility for doing new things in the more mission-based format and structure.”
Yamagiwa elaborated by explaining the different gameplay systems at work in Wo Long.
For example, the morale system gives you a morale rank that goes up as you defeat more enemies. The way the morale system works, you may plan to take on stronger and stronger enemies to keep it up, or avoid particular enemies that are too strong so you don’t lose your morale rank.
Wo Long‘s morale rank system also gives you access to wizardry spells, so this isn’t something that you can simply take for granted. Taking on a battle you aren’t ready for could easily lead to immense depowering, that isn’t just like losing all your items when you die.
Yasuda is the head of Team Ninja and was the game director for Nioh, and Yamagiwa was producer at Bloodborne, under Sony Interactive Entertainment. Their perspectives on this regard are interesting, and really should be noted on how different they are. While most gamers see Nioh as a copy or derivative of FromSoftware’s games, Tecmo Koei had actually been working on the game since 2004, and Team Ninja, who produced the Xbox Ninja Gaiden games, had started iterating on it since 2010. Of course, gamers who have played Nioh and FromSoftware’s games will know firsthand that their game designs are significantly different, so much so that some gamers can’t adjust to Nioh properly.To emphasize this differentiation, Team Ninja cites their own name for the genre that isn’t connected to FromSoftware, masocore games.
On his part, Yamagiwa had directly worked with FromSoftware and Hidetaka Miyazaki himself, but was not on hand for production of Elden Ring.
So FromSoftware fans shouldn’t expect another Dark Souls game from Wo Long. It may look similar, but it really takes its lineage from Nioh, and Team Ninja’s own legacy of difficult but fair gameplay.
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is scheduled to release in early 2023 for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. Tecmo Koei had previously revealed that it will take 40 hours to complete and will have only one difficulty setting.