For its upcoming game Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, developer From Software is breaking many of its own rules. Unlike previous From games, Sekiro has no online or offline multiplayer of any kind. Of course, the lack of online functionality also means players can pause the game at will. Another way in which Sekiro deviates from the norm is that its protagonist actually speaks to the NPC’s he meets.
Sekiro’s Speaking Protagonist
According to this feature from Game Informer (courtesy of GameSpot), Sekiro’s protagonist is a skilled ninja known as The Wolf. In previous From games like Bloodborne and Dark Souls, players created their own voiceless protagonist. For Sekiro, however, From decided to craft a distinct protagonist with his own backstory, morals, and voice.
By giving Sekiro’s protagonist a distinct sense of identity, From can build an equally compelling cast of characters around him. Here’s Sekiro game director Hidetaka Miyazaki explaining these story-based benefits in more detail:
“Having this key protagonist allows us to build a cast of characters around him, and his personality, and his history. We feel like, you know, not the typical NPCs that you run into during the game, but these kind of central – these core characters that are central to his presence in the world, and his story – are going to be playing a lot of that role of the story in the gameplay. So, we feel like you’ll be able to experience both his past, in that sense, and the here-and-now of where the game takes place.”
From was also careful to clarify that The Wolf doesn’t really speak all that often. His voice adds to his personality and backstory, but From was careful not to overdo it. For example, he won’t constantly barrage the player with long monologues. Indeed, From wants to make sure Sekiro’s world feels as mysterious and fragmented as possible. And it’s hard for a world to remain mysterious if the main character is constantly explaining things to the player.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice launches in a few months on March 22. The game is coming to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.