As with the Dark Souls series and Bloodborne, FromSoftware's latest action game Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice will feature a hub area, this time known as the Dilapidated Temple. After a certain point early in the game, you'll gain access to this place, and can travel to it from the game's equivalent of bonfires or lanterns, known as Sculptor's Idols. While you're there, you have a fair few things you can do.
As you might expect, you'll be able to upgrade your shinobi by speaking with a specific character. Here, he's named The Sculptor, and he'll help progress your abilities. Another character at the Dilapidated Temple named Emma can be given Gourd Seeds -- doing so will increase the number of times you can use your Healing Gourd (the Estus Flask of Sekiro). Elsewhere, the Immortal Soldier is essentially a training dummy. He'll provide you with combat hints and teach you about all your equipment and abilities, and you can even smack him around to hone your skills.
FromSoftware has also said that friendly NPCs make a return in this game, some of whom will go to the Dilapidated Temple where you can further their quest lines. As with the previous titles, you'll be able to access specific parts of the game world from the hub, and director Hidetaka Miyazaki says it's "probably on the higher end of the spectrum in terms of the freedom the player has to explore the world." He continues: "Particularly from the mid-game onward, the world really opens up, and you have a great deal of choice and freedom about which order and way you choose to explore."
All of this should sound pretty familiar to fans of the studio's previous work, and hearing that the world will open up and allow for exploration is good news. Do you like the sound of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice? Visit the Dilapidated Temple in the comments below.