“My naaaaame…is Gyoubu Masataka Oniwa!” says Gyoubu Masataka Oniwa for the 400th time. If you’ve played Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, then this horsey bastard’s name will be etched into your eardrums like some ghastly audio tattoo. Rubbing salt in the wound, shortly after this encounter, the first true skill-check in game Kuro asks how many times you’ve died. Suggesting 3, perhaps even 4 times one wonders if Miyazaki gave a wry chuckle penning that particular line.
It’s no surprise that the recent announcement of an upcoming “boss rush” update sends a shudder down my spine. VaatiVidya, lord of lore almighty recently put out a video on the update. This prompted us to pause and speculate on what this might mean for the IP. Are we ready to face Gyoubu, the equine asshole one more time?
Don’t you dare go hollow!
Poor old Vatti, I can’t help but feel for him a little. Anyone that is even faintly familiar with From Software will recognise the dulcet tones of this beautiful man. Watch one of his endless videos on Soulsborn and Sekiro lore, and his silken prose will wash over your mind like a warm cuddle for your cranium. A much loved contributor to the vast community of From Soft enthusiasts.
But basing your career on releases from a developer running a ship tighter than EA’s corporate rectum is dangerous. It’s over a year since any hint of news on Elden Ring. The delirium in Vaati’s normally crystal calm tone is evident. It’s not the biggest update to Sekiro, but a welcome one for the channel, I’m sure.
Sekiro: Shadows Run Twice
We’re not going to go into minutia of the release, which has been covered before by Any Button Gaming. But there are a couple of things that stand out. The first of note is the “boss rush” feature, which allows the player to revisit previously beaten bosses via “reflections of strength”.
Criticism of Souls games is pretty rare. But one thing that I can at least empathise with are the “boss runs”. The challenge of many bosses throughout the series is one thing. But presenting a gauntlet of bullshit leading up to the boss upon every death can at times get a little grating (I’m looking at you, Bell Gargoyles). So the ability to skip all that and jump straight back into the fight is a welcome departure from this unloved mechanic.
Perhaps this is something we can expect in future releases, possibly even one of the many “quality of life” updates promised in the much anticipated Demon Souls remake. One can but hope.
The timing too is interesting. Coming a year and half after the release of the base game, it’s an interesting development for the IP. Vaati speculates that this could well herald the arrival of more gameplay content. This could be in the release of a potential DLC, perhaps in pursuit of the elusive Lady Tomoe, or even taking the player on a “journey to the west” revealed on one of the many endings.
From recently revealed that Sekiro sold more than 5 million copies worldwide, and after picking up the game of the year award last year, its certainly conceivable. It’s not like FromSoft would do something as reckless release a multi-million selling, world renowned IP and not follow it up with a sequel*.
Of course, it could just be that following the universal praise received by the exquisite Ghost of Tsushima, From have deliberately waited for just this moment to capture the attention of a new audience. A shrewd move, but unprecedented by a developer typically unperturbed by the world outside the notoriously impenetrable doors at FromSoft HQ. This is a developer known for blazing the trail, not tagging along behind it. But Either-way, it’s new souls content, and the community will no doubt lap it up.
While we’re at it, please do check out Vatti’s latest video, and subscribe to his channel in this time of need. For if he goes hollow awaiting Elden Ring, then all is surely lost.
*[Cries in Bloodborne]
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