Rōnin creators discuss popular samurai media like the rise of the shogun, coincidental times, and cats


    With the release of Rise of the Rōnin, Team Ninja has added another strong action title to its vaunted portfolio. The samurai epic, which tells a fantasy story set in the historical Japanese era of revolution, is one of the studio’s most ambitious titles from both a game design and story perspective. We had the chance to sit down with producer Yosuke Hayashi and director Fumihiko Yasuda to find out how Rise of the Rōnin was made.

    One aspect of this game that sets it apart from other Team Ninja titles are the monsters or demonic enemies that pervade his other games are nowhere to be seen in Rise of the Ronin. Set against a historical backdrop, Rōnin is limited to only human enemies with different fighting styles.

    “The game is based in historical 19th-century Japan,” explains Yasuda, “in part because we wanted to emphasize the bond system and the bonds that players make with the historical figures that appear in the game. Because, there are no supernatural elements. We also wanted to emphasize the dynamic between the two samurai by looking at their opponent, what weapons and fighting style the opponent is using, and adjusting accordingly. “

    The bond system Yasuda mentions has its protagonists relate to real-life historical figures, such as Ryoma Sakamoto, a hero of Japan’s Bakamatsu period in the late 1800s. Hayashi explains why that era was also thematically appropriate for his latest game.

    “The Bakumatsu period marked the end of the samurai era and the beginning of modern Japan. Because of this, there were many ideals and value systems that converged at this moment in history. As with our title characters. Focused on making bonds and making choices, we felt that this dynamic provided by this historical period was well suited to the game concept.

    The name Ryoma Sakamoto is likely for those familiar with Japanese history, but also for those who played Sega from 2023’s Like a Dragon: Asian. The game also starred Ryoma Sakamoto in the same era, creating some unintentional crossover storyline between Team Ninja and RGG Studio’s games.

    “Yeah, so the time… overlapped quite a bit,” Hayashi chuckled. “But you know, we saw that – but at the same time, we weren’t really surprised that Japanese developers would be releasing or remastering a game set in the same period. [Rise of the Rōnin]. This is a very famous period in Japanese history.

    As Team Ninja’s first true open-world game, Rise of the Ronin had a lot to prove for the developer. Hayashi and Yasuda hinted that the ambition was worth any trade-off, as they saw an open-world game as a challenge that the studio eventually had to rise to as a natural step. Doing all this while maintaining the core of action gameplay from its linear titles was a major hurdle for Team Ninja going forward.

    Another challenge, Yasuda said, was making sure the cat animations in the game were accurate.

    “I’m also a fan of cats. I own a cat myself and we have other members on our team who own cats and we’ve talked to other media who have enjoyed that aspect of the game. And Of course, we were very particular about the movements you know about cats in animation. I wouldn’t say it was too difficult, but maybe we were a little too obsessed with it Gone,” he admitted.

    In the last generation, Team Ninja found itself struggling with how to make action games for Japanese and Western audiences. While it’s fairly recent, the TV show The Shogun Ended up giving an example answer for them.

    “Yeah, we’re looking at that,” both Hayashi and Yasuda said as Hayashi continued. “It’s really that there are a lot of visuals in the show that are very Japanese which reflects that a lot of the production involved was Japanese. I think there’s some cultural crossover like I think our titles. There was some crossover as well.

    And if you want to know what movies the duo recommends for your samurai fix?

    Yojimbo” He nodded, referencing the Akira Kurosawa classic about ronin samurai from two rival clans. “Rise of the Rōnin is really similar to that.”


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