Famitsu has published an interview on their website with From Software’s Kitao Yasuhiro and Activision’s Robert Conkey regarding the upcoming game Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, which is being developed by From Software in collaboration with Activision.
— ファミ通.com (@famitsu) October 6, 2018
The interview delves into how From Software and Activision are working together on the project. Conkey says that Activision is mainly involved with the publishing of the game outside of Asia (including Japan) and quality assurance, giving From Software test feedback on the game such as what parts confused players, or whether tutorials for certain elements would be needed. Both Conkey and Kitao say that the final decisions on what to do are ultimately left to From Software, and Activision is not telling From what sort of game to make.
Kitao says that because the game system and controls are very different from those of the Dark Souls/Bloodborne series, the lack of an appropriate onboarding system would mean that players both old and new might be left confused, and that Activision is helping them greatly in this area. Conkey notes that in game development, developers themselves have to go through the same portions of the game countless times, which has a tendency to result in them being unable to look at things objectively; This means that the reactions of people playing the game for the first time are especially meaningful to them.
Conkey mentions the differences between development culture in the west and Japan, saying that western games tend to plan things out ahead, with projects being fully documented in advance, while Japanese developers test things and come up with new ideas along the way. While this is not impossible to do in western game development, it is harder because work is formally assigned to individual people. Conkey also mentions that From Software is unique even when compared to other Japanese developers, especially in creativity, and he praises Sekiro’s designs saying that they combine Japanese beauty with From’s mysteriousness.
The interviewer asks if the statue of the Corrupted Monk boss enemy seen at Tokyo Game Show 2018 was the same one as seen at Gamescom 2018, and Kitao says that it is not; Transporting the one seen at Gamescom to Japan would have been extremely expensive, so they made a new one in Japan. He also notes that while some people may think that the TGS version is bigger, this might just be because of its pose; Both statues are supposed to be to scale with the character, standing at roughly 3 meters.
The interview concludes with Conkey saying that Sekiro will surely satisfy players in a different way from Dark Souls and Bloodborne, and Kitao saying that the game will have a variety of ninja-like action and refreshing new experiences that he hopes players will look forward to.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is to be released on the PS4, Xbox One, and PC on 22nd March 2019.