Everything you wanted to know and more

We’re just a few weeks away from the release of Fromsoftware’s and Activision’s upcoming action/adventure title, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. As a huge fan of both Dark Souls, Bloodborne and Fromsoftware, I’ve been following the game since it was announced back during the Microsoft E3 2018 press conference

As such, I’ve compiled a list of topics, answers, specifically for those who aren’t sure what the game is all about. This should help everyone get familiar with the game, answer those questions you might have but weren’t sure where to get the answers from. If there’s something I missed or if there’s something that still doesn’t make sense, definitely contact me here and we’ll find out for you.

  • Updated on 3.12.2019 with updated death mechanic and skill tree info
  • Updated on 3.11.2019 with the launch trailer.
  • Updated on 3.9.2019 with specifics on the PlayStation 4 Pro performance, Thanks to Digital Foundry.

What is Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice?

Directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a third-person, action-adventure game with RPG elements. The single-player game puts players in the protagonist role of a hard-hearted warrior whose mission is to rescue his master, a young lord, and exact revenge on his arch nemesis. As “Sekiro,” or the “one-armed wolf,” players will discover the many ways to strategically approach combat and engage enemies.  

Fans of FromSoftware will find familiarity in the gritty gameplay found in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice where combat reigns supreme. Players will enjoy combining new features, such as vertical traversal, with visceral head-to-head battles to fulfill their destiny in a vast world filled with beautiful vistas, enormous castles, bizarre weaponry, and fearsome enemies.

Sekiro staby stab

Is this a PlayStation 4 exclusive title?

One of the biggest misconceptions regarding Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is that the title is exclusive to the PlayStation 4. This couldn’t be further from the truth as the game is being released on multiple platforms. It’s scheduled for a worldwide release on not only the PlayStation but also the Xbox One and PC. I’m still not sure why people keep asking this, especially since it was first revealed during the 2018 Microsoft E3 press conference. It would be odd for it to be announced there, but somehow becoming a PlayStation exclusive title.

Why is Activision publishing the game?

There seems to be a lot of concern regarding why Fromsoftware decided to pair up with Activision for Sekiro. In fact, it was quite the opposite, in which Fromsoftware came to Activision after going through a list of possible publishers. According to FromSoftware community manager Yasuhiro Kitao, they simply didn’t have the clout to publish Sekiro outside of Asia and Japan (source). They looked at several possible publishers and they eventually settled with Activision. 

As for why they didn’t go with Sony as they did with Bloodborne or Bandai Namco for the Dark Souls games. Well, they haven’t said. Seeing how this is a multiplatform game, I can see why they didn’t go with Sony. As for Bandai Namco, I don’t have an answer for that. Especially since Dark Souls 2 and 3, as well as Dark Souls: Remastered were all published by Bandai Namco and were released on multiple platforms; Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4, PC and even the Switch.

Maybe Fromsoftware just wanted to try something new and wanted to go with a different publisher. 

Who owns the Sekiro IP?

As we understand it, Fromsoftware owns the IP 100%. Activision is merely publishing the game. It has been stated multiple times, that Fromsoftware has all creative control, Activision has nothing to say with the development of the game. Which is a step in the right direction and as it should be.

I heard that Sekiro was originally going to be a Tenchu title. Is that legit or a rumor?

That’s actually legit. The director of Sekiro, Hidetaka Miyazaki, has mentioned on several occasions that Sekiro was originally planned as a Tenchu game. However, seeing that the series was created by multiple developers (Fromsoftware, KS LLC, Acquire) over the series lifetime. Fromsoftware decided against this as they wanted to create some new and original and thus a new IP was born. It’s worth mentioning that even though they gave up on the idea, Sekiro does share many similarities to the Tenchu series.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Screenshot 03

Seeing how Sekiro is from the same developer who gave us Dark Souls. Will it differ from that series?

Yes, it actually differs quite a bit from the Dark Souls series. Despite Hidetaka Miyazaki being involved, there are several major differences in Sekiro. This is purely an action-adventure game with no role-playing game elements. The game doesn’t feature any character creation, there are no separate classes. You won’t find or upgrade any armor or weapon upgrades. There’s also no multiplayer aspect either, which has been seen as a disappointment by many.

Lastly, there’s no stamina bar, which helps drive the combat instead of worrying if you can roll, block, attack or parry. Combat involves around attacking your enemies by whittling down their posture, which opens them up for a massive strike that ultimately defeats them. Yes, it should tough but those who’ve played the game have assured us that it is a bit easier than it sounds.

This also means that those who play the game won’t have to worry about grinding experience. Something that tends to become a chore more than an enjoyable experience and exactly what Fromsoftware wanted to avoid. It also means that you can try to out level an encounter, which is something that many have done in Dark Souls.

Even though we wouldn’t be leveling up stats, we still will be able to acquire experience points by kill enemies. Which will be used to level up one of three skill trees; Shinobi Arts, Ashina Arts, and Prosthetic Arts.  This is also similar to the skill trees found in Nioh.

Sekiro Shinobi Art Skill Tree

Sekiro Shinobi Art Skill Tree

sekiro Ashina Arts-01

Sekiro Ashina Arts Skill Tree

sekiro prosthetic Arts-01

Skiro Prosthetic Arts Skill Tree

There’s also quite a bit of verticality mixed into the gameplay. Sekiro will be able to traverse up onto roofs, building tops, and other areas thanks to his prosthetic arm acting as a grappling hook. This also means that traveling via the grappling hook is much faster and there is no cooldown on using it. Just keep in mind that not area will be able to be traveled this way.

Launch Trailer

When does this game take place?

Like another similar title, Koei Tecmo’s Nioh, Sekiro takes place during the 16th-century Sengoku period Japan. Everything that takes place is fictional, so don’t expect to see anyone from that time period making an appearance. 

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Screenshot 01

How does the healing and death mechanics work?

The item called the Healing Gourd functions similar to the Estus Flasks, so we’ll be able to heal in the world. This item can be upgraded a number of times that increase the amount it can heal you and the number of times you can use it.

The biggest difference is how the death system works. When you die you also lose 50% of your gold and experience gathered. And unlike other titles, you can’t retrieve them. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Thankfully, Fromsoftware didn’t throw us to the wolves, not completely. There is a mechanic called “Unseen Aid”, which can be triggered and will reduce the amount of old and experience you can lose. This mechanic won’t always be available, as there’s only a 30% chance it will proc.

Sekiro-unseen-aid

You get two chances to revive yourself without going back to the Sculptor’s Idol. One revive can be had by resting at the Sculptor’s Idol. The other must be earned by killing larger enemies. Meaning that you can lose one life, revive and fill up the other revive by killing enemies. However, there is a cooldown on how often you can revive. Which is likely in place to stop people from trying to cheese their way through the game. Once your twice deaths are up, it’s back to the Sculptor’s Idol for you. 

In addition to setting you back, every time you die you introduce a sickness into the world, called Dragon Rot. The more you die, the more it spreads to the NPCs and it will event affect your playthrough. Should an NPC get afflicted too much, the way they interact with you will change. Some dialogue might be different or in some cases, they may not speak to you at all. It also reduces the changes of Unseen Aid being available, which was already low to start with.

Are there any checkpoints similar to bonfires?

Thoughout the game, there are checkpoints called Sculptor’s Idols. Similar to a bonfire or lamp from Bloodborne, these checkpoints will instantly heal you and mark progress. At the same time, they will respawn any enemies you have already slay, with bosses being the exception.

Can we pause the game?

yes-image

For the first time ever, yes, you will be able to pause the game. There’s no online aspect, so you can’t be invaded or be summoned by anyone. I got to be honest, it’s going to feel weird just pausing the game. Now I won’t have any reason to stop playing the game and do what my wife asked me to do anymore. So that’s a bummer.

Is the game going to be hard?

YES! Hidetaka Miyazaki has stated over and over that this game is going to be hard. Sure, hard is subjective. So what may be hard for you and me, might not be for the next person. 

Keep in mind that mechanics that were available in Dark Souls and Bloodborne. Such as grinding to overpower enemies and bosses, or summoning helping aren’t available in Sekiro. Sure, you gain experience but all it does is help provide you with more skills via the skill tree. With those gone, I truly expect the experience to be harder than the games we’re used to.

We’ll just have to wait until March 22, 2019, to see if Miyazaki was right.

Are the there stealth elements?

Yes. From what we know, players will be able to sneak past enemies by using tall grass, walls, even by traveling via rooftops. There will be a meter of sorts on the HUD, which will let you know how close you are to being discovered. Detection is governed by a color system; grey means they think something odd is going on. While yellow means they’re going to check out the area, with red with means they have found you, time to attack or run.

Or you could just try to run through everything. Though, good luck with that.

corrupted_monk_boss-sekiro-shadows-die-twice

What do we know about the story?

Not much, actually. Outside of knowing how “Sekiro” lost his arm and that he needs to save the lost Young Lord. Fromsoftware and Activision have been keeping the story very hush. The story is supposedly fleshed out and less cryptic, compared to the Dark Souls series. Which makes sense why they would want to keep everything under wraps. 

We do know there are multiple endings. We just don’t know how to get to those endings just yet.

Can we switch languages?

Yes, you’ll be able to switch between several fully voiced languages and subtitles. Over on the Steam listing for Sekiro, it lists the following voiced and subtitled languages;

  • English
  • French
  • Italian
  • German
  • Spanish – Spain
  • Japanese

In addition to those, the following will be able as subtitled languages;

  • Korean
  • Polish
  • Russian
  • Simplified Chinese
  • Thai
  • Traditional Chinese
  • Portuguese – Brazil

You’ll also be able to switch the game interface to all of the previously listed languages.

Will there be multiplayer?

Sadly, no. There is no sort of multiplayer of any kind featured in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Unlike the Dark Souls or Bloodborne games, this is a single-player affair. According to FromSoftware’s Yasuhiro Kitao, trying to introduce multiplayer would introduce limitations into the single-player portion and they didn’t want to compromise. Makes perfect sense to me.

What about New Game Plus?

Ah, one of our favorite ways to enjoy a game, over and over – New Game Plus. Surely you didn’t think that Fromsoftware wasn’t going to have one for Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, did you? Actually, the title needed this to be a thing, since there is no online aspect to the game. Meaning, there needed to be a reason to have players diving back into the game.

So yes, New Game Plus is in the game.

Sekiro flame cannon arm

Since this is releasing on the PC, do we know the PC requirements?

Yes, we do. We reported on this early February and thankfully the requirements are actually pretty tame. As you can see, neither the CPU or GPU requirements are demanding. Granted we’re more than certain these specs are for either 720p or 1080p, and likely at 30fps and 60fps, respectfully. I’d imagine that for those looking to play at 1080p or above with more graphical features enabled, that the requirements are going to considerably more. 

We’ve seen some streams of the game in action and it looked really smooth. When asked about the PC that was driving the game, we were just told they were “beefy”. Which could have been due to the game running at a higher resolution and framerate or that it was running off an older build that wasn’t optimized. Fromsoftware and Activision haven’t said anything else on the matter. But if we were betting people, we’d say the latter was the reason.

MINIMUM:

  • OS: Windows 7 64-bit | Windows 8 64-bit | Windows 10 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel Core i3-2100 | AMD FX-6300
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 | AMD Radeon HD 7950
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 25 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX 11 Compatible

RECOMMENDED:

  • OS: Windows 7 64-bit | Windows 8 64-bit | Windows 10 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-2500K | AMD Ryzen 5 1400
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 | AMD Radeon RX 570
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 25 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX 11 Compatible

Will the game support the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One X?

That’s a very good question and one that we don’t know the answer. Pretty much every time the game has been shown off, it has been on the PC. Even to this day, we haven’t seen or heard anything about the confirmed framerate or resolution for either console. Glancing over the PlayStation page for the title, there is mention of the game being a PS4 Pro enhanced title. The same thing goes for the Xbox One version, which shows as being an Xbox One X enhanced game.  Oddly enough, it does show HDR10, which is a 4K format, over on the Microsoft store page.

If we had to guess, hopefully, this means that the game will include a framerate and graphics option. Perhaps 1080p/60fps for a framerate version and 4K/30fps for the graphics option. Neither of which is confirmed.

Update: Thanks to Digital Foundry doing a deep dive with Sekiro on the PS4 Pro, new information has come to light. As it stands, the PS4 Pro runs Sekiro at 1080p, with framerate hovering between 40-60fps. With drops as long as 30fps when alpha-heavy scenes occur. Read the entire article here. What this also means that if the PS4 Pro is struggling to run the game at 1080p at a consistent 60fps, then 4K is surely out of the picture. 

This also paints a grim picture for the base PlayStation 4, which may end up being restricted to 1080p/30fps. We’ll just have to wait and see.

We still don’t know about anything about the Xbox One, Xbox One X or PC as of yet.

Let’s talk about the pre-order bonuses and different versions of the game

Gamestop: Pre-ordering the game at Gamestop will net you a pretty cool looking Limited-edition katana replica letter opener, digital artbook, and mini-soundtrack.
PlayStation Store: Pre-ordering here will give access to the Hirata Estate dynamic PS4 theme.
Microsoft Store: Pre-ordering it here for the Xbox One or PC will give access to Prosthetic Arm and Grappling Hook Avatars.

sekiro-preorder-bonus-gamestop

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Standard Edition (PS4/Xbox One/PC)

Includes a copy of the game and any pre-order bonuses. Priced at $59.99.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Collector’s Edition (PS4/Xbox One/PC)

A Gamestop exclusive, the Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice CE is only thirty more dollars ($89.99) compared to the standard edition. Included are several goodies including a 7-inch statue (it will be MINE!), steelbook case (also MINE!), artbook, map, mini-soundtrack, and three coins. It’s also likely sold out by now, but it never hurts to check and see if your local Gamestop still has any.

I already ordered mine, I needed that statue to set it alongside my other Fromsoftware goodies.

sekiro-collectors-edition

You can also purchase the steelbook case, here, if you don’t care about the statue but what that ever so sexy case. 

I heard there was a special edition PlayStation 4 Pro.

Oh, there is and it’s beyond sexy looking. The downside is that this appears to be country-exclusive. Sold by the Dutch online retail shop, Game Mania, this is the only place to get this console. It would appear that this limited edition was ordered by Game Mania, as there is no mention of this from Sony anywhere. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that is a mighty fine looking PS4 Pro.

Though some might find the design a bit tacky.

Are we looking forward to the game?

Are you kidding me? I’ve been wishing the release date was here ever since it was announced. We’re just a few more weeks away from the release, and the wait hasn’t been any easier for me. Best believe I’ll be ready to go on day one.

 

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is set to launch on March 22, 2019, for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.  Are you picking it up? If so, let us know on which platform you’re getting it for in the comments.

About The Author

Keith Mitchell
Editor-in-chief and all-around good guy!

Keith Mitchell is the Founder and Editor in Chief of The Outerhaven. A grizzled IT professional during the day, but a passionate lover of video games after his 9-5 grind. Loves playing the Dark Souls series and has been gaming since he was 6 years old. Yes, I'm a black guy!