Although it took a long time to come together, Team Ninja had a specific vision in mind for Nioh.
Nioh constantly impresses anyone who gets to play it. From press-only demos at TGS 2015, to hands-on time with the most recent build, not to mention the two public betas, there’s a lot of positive buzz about Nioh.
But, those who enjoy it also recognise it may not be for everyone. Like Ninja Gaiden before it, Nioh is a challenging game, and Team Ninja knows this. That said, having played both demos, some players came away thinking the game was made easier as response to fan feedback.
“We believe ‘streamlined’ is the better expression. We are aware of such voices claiming that by improving controls and camera, the beta felt ‘easy’ to veterans from alpha demo,” game director Fumihiko Yasuda told Destructoid.
“Nioh is meant to be a masocore game so during development, we consciously avoided making the game easy,” he added. The term “Masocore” is derived from “masochistic” and “hardcore”, and generally refers to challenging games that may appear to be niche, but are actually well-regarded in mainstream circles.
Yasuda comments are interesting, particularly when he brings up Ninja Gaiden 3, and Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden, as both games weren’t received well by fans of the series. He admits this was due to lack of focus, something which he hopes has been avoided with Nioh.
The director also wasn’t shy in listing contemporary as well as classic works that influenced the game’s design, namely the Soulsborne series, and even Diablo and Borderlands.
“Nioh was influenced by [the] Bloodborne and Souls series. For RPG/hack ‘n slash elements, especially the looting system, we looked to Diablo as well as Borderlands. As for samurai depiction, we took hints from movies such Lone Wolf and Cub by Kenji Misumi and Yojimbo by Akira Kurosawa, as well as numerous Japanese period pieces,” said Yasuda.
Nioh is out February 7 on PS4.