On From Software’s three projects

Updated 12/28/2018

Some time ago I talked about Fromsoft’s three projects from a 13 june 2016 interview.

From my translation, they are:

[Project 1] One is a dark fantasy action RPG that I have talked about now, with a setting/feeling similar but different to DARK SOULS.
[Project 2] The other one is a new game that will reboot a game that we have worked in the past.
[Project 3] The last one is something different from our past direction. It will probably be a bit strange.

NeoGAF gave us a translation that said

Project 1: An action role-playing game with a dark fantasy setting similar to Dark Souls, but approached from a ‘different angle’. 
Project 2: A reboot of an existing franchise, with ideas inspired by Dark Souls and other previous franchises. 
Project 3: A brand new IP that’s ‘something different from what the company has been doing previously’ and ‘a bit weird’.

In the 2018 E3 we saw three From games: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Metal Wolf Chaos XD and Déraciné. It’s easy to try to put those three as the three projects Miyazaki has talked about previously. Truth is, only Sekiro is one of those. And it isn’t Project 1.

Let me explain.

About Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

According to Yasuhiro Kitao, communication manager at Fromsoft, Sekiro was originally a Tenchu game.

When we originally set out to create something different from Dark Souls and our previous titles, we thought it would be interesting to make a Japanese themed game. So from that we started going in the direction of the shinobi and ninja, and of course Tenchu was an IP with that history; that was the original impetus for this project. But as we developed and as we partnered with Activision, and started building it together, it started becoming its own thing and the game we wanted to make was no longer just Tenchu, so it really evolved into its own thing.

Please notice that Kitao explicitly says then-Tenchu was to be a project different from Dark Souls.

Sekiro is also not an RPG. It’s an action-adventure game. Update 12/28/2018: Miyazaki calls Sekiro an action game.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is not an RPG. There are no stats to level up and no armor or weapons — except for gadgets I’ll get to later — to collect and equip. There are no classes to choose from. There is no multiplayer of any kind. You’ll have no souls to reclaim after dying, and — from the looks of it — no checkpoint bonfires to kindle.
As I said, Sekiro is not an RPG. From Software’s Yasuhiro Kitao describes it as an action adventure game, making it sound more akin to Zelda where exploration will yield new items that help you progress. You won’t be making your own character or leveling up stats, but you will be finding all manner of cool gadgets that attach to your ‘Shinobi Prosthetic’ that replaces your lost hand. If you liked how Bloodborne’s weapons transformed into wildly different types, you’ll probably love this new system.

update 12/28/2018

In his new 4gamer interview, Miyazaki again confirms Sekiro began as a Tenchu game, but says the idea was immediately scrapped (“その案はすぐにやめました”), and refers to Sekiro as “our own new action game” (“我々なりの新しいアクションゲーム”), not action RPG.

end of update

Based on what we saw, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is not Project 1. It could be either Project 2 (the reboot) or Project 3 (the strange game). I’d say it could be classified as a Tenchu reboot, or something that started as a Tenchu reboot but quickly became its own thing.

On Metal Wolf Chaos XD

This isn’t being published by Fromsoft — it’s by Devolver Digital instead — so not one of the three games. It isn’t a dark fantasy action RPG, it isn’t a reboot — it’s a remaster, and Sekiro is probably the reboot — and it isn’t a new, different IP.

update 12/28/2018

Miyazaki again confirms this: both Metal Wolf Chaos XD and Dark Souls Remastered are made by other companies, so they’re not part of the three games + half game Déraciné they announced before.

DARK SOULS REMASTERED」や「METAL WOLF CHAOS XD」については,外の会社さんにお願いしているもなので,3.5本の中には数えていません。

end of update

On Déraciné

Miyazaki has explicitly said Déraciné was not one of the three games he has talked about in the past. So it can’t possibly be Project 3.

The info comes from a recent interview with Famitsu about FromSoftware’s upcoming VR adventure game Déraciné which was revealed at E3 2018. In the interview, president Miyazaki said “In a past interview I talked about three major development lines that are in the works, but Déraciné is not one of those. I just wanted to let some of the FromSoftware fans know that.”

update 12/28/2018

Miyazaki again confirms this, and calls Déraciné a “0.5 game” to the “3.5 games” they’re making. There are still two unnanounced titles yet to be revealed.


end update

Where does this leaves us?

If Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice was the only one of the three projects shown at the 2018 E3, we have to try to associate it to one of them.

Is it Project 1?

No. Project 1 is a Dark Fantasy Action RPG similar to Dark Souls. Sekiro is a [Ninja fantasy? Historical fantasy? Japanese fantasy?] Action[/Adventure?] different from Dark Souls. It can’t possibly be Project 1 because it started as a Tenchu game and Tenchu was never an RPG series.

It isn’t possible, too, that the description of Project 1 suddenly changed from 13 june 2016 onwards because From has been working on a Dark Fantasy Action RPG for consoles since at least 29 april 2017.

There is still a classic Souls-like coming, but I doubt it’ll be Dark Souls 4 or Demon’s Souls 2. Miyazaki has repeteadly said he’s tired the Dark Souls series and plans for Demon’s Souls 2 must come from Sony first.

Is it Project 2?

This is my best guess. It’s a Tenchu reboot turned own IP after 2016.

Is it Project 3?

I surely said “what the fuck” when I discovered that Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice wasn’t similar to what we thought Project 1 was, but this doesn’t look so radically different from past Fromsoft games. So I also don’t think this is Project 3.

Back then, I thought Project 1 was gonna be something like Bloodborne 2; Project 2 would be an Armored Core and Project 3 would be something like Déraciné. Then I thought Project 1 was Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice; Project 2 was Metal Wolf Chaos XD and Project 3 was truly Déraciné.

Now I know Project 1 is not Sekiro; Project 2 probably is Sekiro and Project 3 is I don’t even know.

So what now?

Okay. So, like I said, we’re getting a new Souls-like. Maybe.

This is all I know and can confirm based on Miyazaki’s own words and history.

You can stop reading this text now — it’s over.

Actually, I won’t be caring for Fromsoft anymore for a while, but I keep updating texts like this just to keep things updated and to maintain a good habit. So I hope you enjoyed it and I hope it was somehow useful.