Rise of the Ronin is Team Ninja’s second action game currently in development—Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty (opens in new tab) is coming soon, too—and is set in 19th-century Japan near the end of the Tokugawa period.
In the “combat focused open-world action RPG,” you play as a samurai in the late 19th century during a “time of chaos” for Japan, according to a blog post (opens in new tab) which was uploaded after today’s reveal of the trailer during Sony’s State of Play stream.
“Japan faces its darkest times as it struggles with its oppressive rulers and deadly diseases, while Western influence permeates as civil war continues to rage between Tokugawa Shogunate and anti-Shogunate factions,” reads the post from manager and president of Team Ninja, Fumihiko. Yasuda.
The trailer follows a falcon flying over populated streets and as it soars to reveal the ronin protagonist standing atop a cliff. It cuts between characters in snowy, bright and cavernous locations, and then we see Ronin riding a horse up a hill with a stunning view of trees and a bridge. And then the ronin takes off a suit to glide over the water and through the city streets below, hinting at the kind of open-world exploration that Ubisoft will likely be doing in Japan’s recently announced Assassin’s Creed game, codenamed Red (opens in new tab).
This is a game from Team Ninja, creator of the soul-inspired Nioh games, so finally the trailer brings us into battle. Rise of the Ronin’s duels feel more like Sekiro than Dark Souls, but the zoomed-in camera frames it almost like a fighting game. A virtual parry mechanic interrupts an enemy’s swing and opens them up for a finishing blow. Another scene sees the ronin pull out a grappling hook to pull himself towards the opponent and slice him up with fiery blades. The trailer ends with the ronin shooting a soldier with a musket and pulling a revolver to finish someone off – this guy is clearly not afraid to use the best gear on offer.
Yasuda says that Team Ninja wants to depict the “darkest and ugliest chapters” of the Bakumatsu period of Japanese history, chapters that he believes “many will avoid.”
“The characters you’ll meet all have their own brand of justice and motivations,” he wrote, “and whether you decide to side with them or against them… every decision you make will matter.
Rise of the Ronin is a “PlayStation 5 exclusive,” meaning it will likely come to PC as well. It is expected to be released in 2024, the same year that Ubisoft plans to release codenamed Red.