Rise of the Ronin brings high-action open-world feudal Japan from studio Nioh Team Ninja

Announced during PlayStation State of Play, Rise of the Ronin sees Team Ninja return to a classic Japanese setting, this time at the end of the Tokugawa regime and the arrival of the English on Japanese shores.

The trailer showcases a vast, industrialized Japanese open world through port cities, wooded shrines, and other iconic locations of the era. Here are a few ways to traverse the world, including parkour, on horseback, and using a butterfly-themed paraglider, much like the one used by players in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.

The combat is fast and brutal, suited to the player character, a ronin caught between the modernization of Japan and the traditions of the past. Swordplay is essential to instant gameplay, and there appear to be duels, random encounters, and other world event combat throughout. Some fights felt more fantastical, with the main character using a grappling hook to sneak up on an enemy while lighting his swords on fire for a spinning attack. Firearms are also essential in combat, between pistols, muskets and other small arms.

There wasn’t much to glean from the story beyond the conflict with the arrival of the English and all the conflict their quest for conquest brought to the shores of Japan. The end of the trailer shows the main character apparently being executed, but he seems happy with the outcome, saying, “The time has come. Rise as one.

The quote suggests that there will be mechanics around building a crew of fellow ronin to take over part of Japan or work together towards a common end. There is also likely to be a narrative around the ongoing conflict between “those who cling to the past and those who embrace the new” and the ronin themselves, warriors “free from all masters and bonds”.

Team Ninja is well known for its mechanical chops, with the Nioh series showing how the Souls-like genre can work with deep combat systems. What little we see of combat in Rise of the Ronin leaves little doubt that they only evolved in the studio, as the moves are cleaner, more brutal, and are likely even more satisfying to pull off.