One of the most popular historical eras covered in games, outside of World War II, is most likely the Three Kingdoms era in Chinese history. If the name doesn’t ring any bells, just think of the Dynasty Warriors games, which all focus on the wars and battles of this point in history. However, unlike those muso-style games, which involve you cutting through hundreds upon hundreds of fodder enemies in simple, but satisfying, action, Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty looks like it will be a very different take on its depiction of these events.
Coming from Team Ninja, who have just come off the major hits in the Nioh titles, as well as other members previously working on Bloodborne, Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty also appears to be taking influence from the Souls formula, though with a heavy dose of the fantastic also playing a part. There are a lot of elements about this game not shown off in the footage released so far, so if you’re ready for a dive into ancient China, here’s everything we know about Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty.
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is currently scheduled to come out sometime in early 2023. However, we can at least say that it will arrive before June 2023 since it was part of the Xbox and Bethesda Showcase that listed every game presented as coming within 12 months.
Despite getting a major platform on the Xbox stage, and will be coming to Game Pass at launch, Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is not an Xbox exclusive game. It will arrive simultaneously on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.
The reveal trailer was shown off during the Xbox and Bethesda Showcase held in June of 2022. In it, we immediately jump into a gory scene of a burning village under siege from zombie-like enemies. In a wide shot, a dragon flies up from the center, cementing that there will be some mystical elements at play here. After a mysterious old man claims to have found the bearer of the eternal Elixir Field, we get a more grounded action scene of two soldiers fighting on a cliff. When one, presumably the hero, is knocked down, he begins to glow with a yellow light. This gives him the power to launch a counterattack.
The trailer cuts to someone else ingesting some red orb that transforms them into a massive hairy beast. We get one last look at the dragon and a very intimidating man on a horse before the trailer ends.
The official outline for Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty reads: “The story of a militia soldier fighting for survival in the chaotic Three Kingdoms. Set in the Later Han Dynasty of the Three Kingdoms, a nameless militia soldier uses the swordplay of the Chinese martial arts to battle demons in a dark fantasy world.” The reason this setting was chosen, according to the game’s producer, was that “we were looking for a setting that could work for a Nioh sequel. We had already made plenty of games based on Japan’s Sengoku period, so we wanted a new setting. That’s when we came up with the idea to make a game set in China’s Three Kingdoms period. The years following the fall of the Han dynasty is a setting that Koei Tecmo specializes in, and also one I have personally always been intrigued by. I am a fan of manga and anime based on that era. A game with this setting sounded like an interesting new challenge to take on.”
For those unversed in this particular setting, the game will be set during a time called the Yellow Turban Rebellion, which takes place right before the fall of the Han dynasty. War is ravaging the nation, with poverty running rampant, but also new heroes stepping up to bring order.
While the trailer was all cinematic, two members of the development team did give a lot of insight into how the game would play in an interview with IGN. In it, they confirmed that Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty would be another step in their souls-like gameplay titles. Producer Fumihiko Yasuda explained, “Making it a challenging game was something we had decided from the beginning. With all the legendary heroes of the Three Kingdoms period, it can come across as somewhat campy, but in reality it was a time of war and devastation. It was a dark period in which people were constantly fighting, which is a great match for a Soulslike game.”
While they do indicate that this will be their most difficult game yet, they also imply that there will be more ways players can augment and approach the game in their own way to overcome challenges.
Despite the latest FromSoftware success going open world, Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty will remain in the level-based structure of linear levels found in Nioh. However, unlike those games, Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty won’t be as loot focused. You will still have a range of weapons to get and swap between, but won’t be constantly upgrading, selling, and scrapping weapons and armor sets.
The combat will be based on true, traditional Chinese martial arts that emphasize graceful movements and let you seamlessly transition between offensive and defensive moves. It is meant to be more realistic as well, with fewer over-the-top moves. A new mechanic is the Moral system, which wasn’t given much detail except that both the player and enemies will have it and it will open up new strategies for the genre. We do know that you will gain Moral by defeating strong opponents, and lose it upon death.
Speaking of death, dying apparently will also impact how strong your character is, but also how strong the enemies are.
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty will also feature a custom character you create, as was the case in Nioh 2, which makes sense because the game describes the main character as simply “a nameless militia soldier,” which implies they were not important before the events of the game. Wo Long, by the way, isn’t a name but actually means crouching dragon, which is meant to symbolize a hero before they are known.
Going back to that same interview, all we know is that Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty will indeed have multiplayer incorporated in it. They said it will at the very least feature a co-op mode in the same way we say it in the Nioh games, but there could be other, more PvP style options as well. Being a souls-like style game, things like invasions would make sense, but its likely that Team Ninja would put their own spin on the mechanic.
Pre-orders are not up just yet for Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, but you do have two options if you want to get ahead of the game. First, this game will be available on Game Pass on day 1, meaning if you subscribe to that service, you will instantly be able to download and play it whenever it launches. Otherwise, right now you can also add it to your wishlist on Steam. Once official pre-orders go up, along with information about any different versions, we’ll be sure to update you.
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