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Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty follows Elden Ring's example by adding a jump button, but it's not open world

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty sounds like an evolution of Nioh, in more ways than one.

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty was low-key one of the bigger surprise reveals in Sunday's Xbox and Bethesda Showcase. Wo Long is the new game from Nioh developer Team Ninja. Not only did the announcement make Nioh fans giddy with excitement, it was also unusual to see the studio's new game unveiled on an Xbox stage.

Of course, it was later confirmed that Wo Long is also coming to PlayStation consoles, but that was the extent of official news.

Until this new IGN interview, which has a conversation with both producer Fumihiko Yasuda (Nioh), and development producer Masaaki Yamagiwa (Bloodborne). The first thing the interview confirmed was that this is indeed a Souls-like similar to Nioh in some ways, while pushing the genre into new areas in others.

For starters, this is still a demanding action game in the same vein, but it's one with a faster pace than Nioh. There's less of an emphasis on stamina this time around, but Team Ninja didn't specify what that means.

Importantly, there's now a jump button!

"We wanted flowing combat in which you seamlessly switch between offence and defence," said Fumihiko Yasuda.

"The action is speedier than Nioh, and you can do things such as jump into an enemy and then launch over them. That being said, we did want to maintain that feeling of being in control of an actual human being, so there won’t be too many flashy jumps or wire action. In that sense I guess you could say it is more down to earth."

Yasuda reckons the speed of combat puts it somewhere between Nioh on the low end, and Ninja Gaiden on the high end.

"This seamless flow of offence and defence is something we feel is iconic to Chinese martial arts. There are moments of full force, but then there’s also a softer and gentler side to it. We wanted to show this characteristic by creating a more natural flow between offence and defence," added Masaaki Yamagiwa.

Speaking of combat, Wo Long will, unsurprisingly, rely on a martial arts to a large degree. You'll still have access to melee weapons, but Team Ninja is focusing on martial arts as the core style of combat.

Another major shift from Nioh is that weapon and gear upgrades won't be as plentiful, and neither is loot. Both Nioh games relied on a steady stream of loot drops, which added a Diablo-like side to it that some argue wasn't necessary.

"Fans of the Three Kingdoms period are going to want certain weapons for different warlords, and that’s definitely something we want to deliver on. But when compared to Nioh, you won’t have to constantly upgrade your weapon or armour, and it’s not like each enemy will drop an item," Yasuda explained.

"It’s not the main focus of Wo Long’s game design, as we wanted the player to be able to focus on the action more easily. That being said, we do still have a large variety of weapons to choose from."

Likewise, the game's structure has one foot stuck in Nioh, and another making a step forward. Wo Long will bring back the level-based design Nioh players should be very familiar with, but each level will itself be significantly larger compared to the Sengoku period game.

"We do have more freedom in our stage design though," Yasuda added.

"Since the player character can now jump, there’s a lot more room for verticality and exploration in general. That being said, at its core Wo Long is a linear structured game just as Nioh was. With Soulslike games becoming more and more popular, this kind of design gives Team Ninja an opportunity to display what we do best."

Finally, Yasuda said that the studio wants to incorporate player feedback into the process, just like with Nioh. Though he didn't outright confirm a demo/beta, he did say that the team is working on making a publicly playable build as soon as possible.

The full interview, linked at the top, is well worth reading. Among other things, it also touches on "a system that revolves around the warrior’s morale."

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is due for release in early 2023 on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. It's a day one Game Pass launch, too.

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