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Is Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice a souls game?

Can Souls Die Twice?

FromSoftware has become one of the most prolific and distinguished game developers of the 2010s and continue into the 2020s. Since 2009, a singular vision of gameplay from one man in the company, Hidetaka Miyazaki, has changed the course of both the company and gaming in general. Starting with Demon’s Souls in 2009, Miyazaki has altered the way difficult and complex action RPGs were played and made. This has led to an unprecedented run of 7 successful games of virtually similar make that have been dubbed as Soulsborne games and become their own gaming genre. This has led to the real question, are they all connected? What makes a Souls game a souls game? More specifically the latest game of this style, Sekiro Shadows Die Twice, comes into question. Is Sekiro a souls game?

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(Related: All Main Bosses in Order in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice )

What is a Souls Game

There is a bit of philosophy in game-making and development behind the answer to our question. First, the Souls games made by FromSoft have become so distinct, they are now known their own subgenre of action RPG. The main focus is a level of difficulty and unforgivingness. While Miyazaki claims game difficulty was never his focus or intent, he believes that death in games should have stronger consequences. This has led to an increase in gameplay difficulty as an inherent result. For death to matter, you have to struggle with it.

For the most part, that is the main, almost sole focus of what makes a Souls-like game part of that genre. Video games use to give you more chances to stay alive or keep all you’ve collected beforehand even after death. Many games still do. However, if you die in a Souls-like, you could lose all the points or currency or even weapons you’ve collected as punishment. You have one and only one chance to get all that back. If you die again before that, you’ve permanently lost all you had previously gained.

This is the pure truth behind every FromSoftware RPG since Demon’s Souls. Three Dark Souls games, Bloodborne, Eldin Ring, and of course, Sekiro. Though not only that, the gameplay, in general, is virtually the same, with each new game adding a few small new additions to gameplay. The one addition to Sekiro that both excited and confused hardcore fans was the ability to jump, which did not exist in the 5 games that preseeded Sekiro.

Is Sekiro a Souls Game

In terms of spirit, yes. Sekiro is a souls game in the sense of how it was made, who made it, and what its gameplay asks of players. However, if the more direct question is if Sekiro is a continuation of the Demon’s Souls or Dark Souls story continuity, no it is not. Like Bloodborne before it and Eldin Ring after, Sekiro is its own stand-alone Souls-like game with its own lore and world.

Even then, Miyazaki has expressed that every game is stand-alone in its own way. Even though there are 3 games with the title Dark Souls, none of them are very connected. They are more sequels in the sense of presence than continuity. The lore and world of Dark Souls I, II, and III are the same. However, the exploration and story of each game are wholly unique and separate. None of the 7 FromSoftware Souls-like games are needed for the other to understand anything about each other.

Functionally as a game from the same company, Sekiro is a Souls-like game in genre and gameplay. While many fans try to find hints, clues, and connections; creator and director Miyazaki has deemed otherwise. Sekiro is not a connected continuation of Demon’s Souls or Dark Souls.

For a more in-depth discussion on the Souls games, check out How to Play the Dark Souls Games in Order. Be sure to subscribe to our Facebook Page for more updates, news, guides, and lists of your favorite games.

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Jesse Anderson
Always playing video games since he could walk. An immediate gravitation to the original Pokemon Blue, Red and Yellow has led to a life of loving colorful and adventurous games. From Final Fantasy to Ratchet and Clank to most things Nintendo and whatever cartoony indie Metroidvania on Steam. If its a vibrant RPG-like game, he's had a hand at playing it.