15 Things You Should Know About Rise of the Ronin

Here are all the key details on Team Ninja's open world action RPG.

Posted By | On 05th, Oct. 2022

15 Things You Should Know About Rise of the Ronin

One of the most notable reveals during Sony PlayStation’s most recent State of Play must be this incoming samurai odyssey from Team Ninja. Rise of the Ronin visually looks fantastic, it offers an intriguing narrative premise, with combat that fuses tradition with modernity. It’s a long way off release yet, but worth marking your calendars for.

New IP from Team Ninja

As a studio most famous for the Ninja Gaiden hack ‘n slash series and Dead or Alive beat ‘em ups, Team Ninja trod new ground with 2017’s action RPG Nioh and its 2020 sequel. Now, in addition to the already announced Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, a bygone Chinese fable with a mythological twist, Team Ninja are turning their attention onto a historically inspired Japan with Rise of the Ronin. As a studio with pedigree, richly experienced in crafting samurai and ninja action games, and whose relationship with Sony continues to grow stronger, all the foundations are laid for Rise of the Ronin to be a highpoint for the studio.

It’s been in development for 7 years

Much like the boundless spirit of the master-less Ronin, development of Rise of the Ronin has progressed slowly and freely. In fact, Team Ninja Director and President Fumihiko Yasuda confirms it’s been 7 years since the project began. Evidently, the timescale already undertaken indicates this project is the “most ambitious and challenging” of all Team Ninja’s undertakings to date, representing – in Yasuda’s words – the next big step in the studio’s history.

It’s a PS5 exclusive

Rise of the Ronin

Perhaps owing to Team Ninja’s increasingly strong working relationship with Sony, Rise of the Ronin is currently slated as PlayStation 5 exclusive. Team Ninja aren’t coy on their lofty ambitions for Rise of the Ronin, openly stating they’re targeting sales of 5 million units. Releasing the game as a PlayStation 5 exclusive may just scupper Rise of the Ronin’s sales potential, but with the game releasing some time in 2024 there’s plenty of time for Sony and Koei Tecmo’s marketing departments to whet the appetites of any gamers currently on the fence.

It might come to PC

Reading between the lines a little with this point, but as per Rise of the Ronin’s official press release, the game is touted as a PS5 console exclusive – the operative word here being console. With Sony’s preference nowadays to release games to PC concurrently or post-release, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if Rise of the Ronin made its way to Windows at some point. It’d certainly help Team Ninja surpass their ambitious sales targets. Either way, historic Japanese-themed yarns have become common stomping ground for video games of late, with Ghost of Tsushima, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and the studio’s own Nioh paving the way for more games of this ilk. It’s strongly anticipated Sucker Punch will have announced a Ghost of Tsushima sequel come Rise of the Ronin’s 2024 release, so the samurai-themed video game market might become a little overcrowded.

Team Ninja working with Sony XDEV

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Assisting Team Ninja in bringing Rise of the Ronin to the PS5 is Liverpool-based studio Sony XDEV, a unit well placed to support Team Ninja in fully realising their vision having prior experience working with third-party studios on the development of Returnal, Detroit: Become Human, and Until Dawn. Senior producer at Sony XDEV Jason Stewart has been sharing images of a recent trip to Japan on the company social media pages, no doubt soaking up all they can as inspiration to feed into Rise of the Ronin’s authenticity.

It’ll be a combat-focused, narrative-driven action-RPG

Yes, if it wasn’t clear from the recent reveal trailer, Rise of the Ronin is a combat-focused, action-RPG, taking place within an open-world, with huge focus on narrative. Within the trailer a description gives players a hint of what to expect: “In Rise of the Ronin, you will explore an evolving world as you fight to forge a new era for Japan.” Plus, as this is a Team Ninja title, we’ll expect plenty of style to go with the game’s subject matter.

Players assume command of a Ronin

rise of the ronin

Ronin – translating from Japanese as a ‘drifter’ or ‘wanderer’ – were samurai without lords or masters. This definition alone gives ample clue into the motivations of the eponymous player-character – they’re free to traverse the land to their own whim, answerable to no one, instead free to side with whichever ideology they see fit. In the game’s timeline of social and political upheaval, assuming command of a free-spirited wanderer presents an intriguing premise, one where player decisions could have huge ramifications.

Set in mid-1800s Japan

Rise of the Ronin takes place during a time of huge transition for Japan, an era in the mid-1800s commonly known as Bakumatsu in which the sun set on the 250-yearlong Edo period where Japan’s isolationist period ended. The juxtaposing of Western influence and Japanese tradition is seen throughout the game’s locales featured in the game’s reveal; at its outset a bird of prey breezes past feudal homesteads that’re soon revealed to lay in the shadows of brick and mortar buildings.

Story likely to focus on civil war

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Rise of the Ronin takes place in 1863, five years before the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate and rise of the Meiji Restoration; essentially an era characterised by its abandonment of feudal values instead replaced by modernity and the pursuit of an empire. Factions were at war during this period, the most notable of which the traditionalist shogunate forces and pro-imperial anti-shogunate nationalists. There was growing resentment of Western influence following the arrival of US Navy commodore Matthew C. Perry (whom we may see smoking a cigar on deck during the game’s reveal trailer). As a timeline to be supplanted into, it’s amongst the most notable and interesting in Japan’s history.

Team Ninja committed to historical authenticity

Regardless of the final settings, locales, and narrative we discover when playing Rise of the Ronin, one thing for certain is that Team Ninja are committed to delivering an experience meriting historical authenticity. The official wording as per the PlayStation blog is that they’re attempting to “thoroughly portray the most critical revolution in the history of Japan including the darkest and ugliest chapters that many will shy away from.”

Player choice front and centre in driving narrative

rise of the ronin

Throughout Rise of the Ronin, players will encounter NPC factions who’ll adhere to their own ideologies, rules, and behaviours. It’s up to players, in command of the independent Ronin, whether they wish to side with NPC factions, oppose their beliefs, or simply remain neutral. How these decisions reflect the outcome of the game’s story is guesswork at this stage but choosing to walk opposing paths certainly hints at the possibility of high replayability.

Weaponry comprises typical samurai fare

Yep, traditionally curved super-sharp samurai swords are amongst the principal weaponry of the Ronin, but Katanas aren’t the only weapon typical of samurai arsenal to appear in Rise of the Ronin. What looks like a Naginata, or pole-blade weapon, is wielded, plus a super-cool grapple-hook allowing our Ronin to attach and propel themselves into foes.

Weaponry also encompasses ‘modern’ gunpower

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The mid-1800s era of upheaval and Westernisation of Japan also brought with it exotic, overseas weaponry. Guns will play a big role in Rise of the Ronin, with our player-character dishing out all manner of executions with bullets as well as blades. They’re seen stabbing foes with a musket’s bayonet, and shooting fallen enemies point blank in the head with a revolver. This assortment of weaponry is largely atypical of samurai yarns we’ve experienced thus far and might be crucial to aiding Rise of the Ronin stand out from the bulging crowd of samurai-themed titles.

Western influence extends beyond weaponry

Rise of the Ronin is set within an ever-evolving landscape, with burgeoning Western influence. That ship, the USS Mississippi, was once the command of Matthew C. Perry whom we know already was a figure instrumental in the opening of Japan in the early 1850s, so there’s enough crossover there to deduce the version of Japan our Ronin wanders through is riddled with challenges.

Traversal looks heaps of fun

rise of the ronin

It must be said, the landscapes crafted by Team Ninja look absolutely sublime; sleepy fishing villages, and bustling city skylines dominate the game’s reveal footage. Traversing through these wonderous locales will be a blast, with travel by foot, horseback, and a nifty looking backpack which transforms into kite wings, affording players opportunity to glide through the air, the pick of the traversal methods seen so far.

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