Here at Push Square, we've already declared that Nioh 2 is shaping up to be one of 2020's best PlayStation 4 exclusives. Two hours of hands on time proved to us what an excellent sequel to the 2017 original it is, fixing the problems it faced late last year as part of an open beta in the process. That wasn't enough for us, however. As part of a recent Nioh 2 preview event, we were lucky enough to sit down with general producer Yosuke Hayashi and fire off some questions that had been burning in the backs of our brains.
Push Square: Nioh 2 is, of course, a follow-up to the original, but in terms of story, it's actually a prequel. What was the reasoning behind the decision to go back in time instead of following William's story from Nioh?
Yosuke Hayashi: When we made Nioh 1, we weren't thinking about making a sequel so we concluded the story of William there. We used the second half of the Sengoku era, so the era finished in Nioh 1. After that, things calmed down, the world was more peaceful so it wasn't going to be interesting to use that part of history in the game. And so we looked at the first half [of the Sengoku era] and it's actually the most popular period in history -- it has more popular Samurais and some of them were in Nioh 1 as well so you might be familiar with some of them. You will see some connections and the story will nicely link up to the beginning of Nioh 1 so we did it that way around this time.
What do you think is the most important thing that Nioh 2 builds upon from the original game? What do you think it is doing that the original didn't in terms of gameplay?
The concept of Nioh 1 and the combat in it was very positively received and we were very happy about it. Some of the things we wanted to improve were lack of enemy types. So we used the same enemy over and over in the first one so once you learned the enemy moves it was quite easy to take on those ones. Also, the online co-op element as well -- it made the game a little bit too easy because some of the players were really high level so those are things we thought we could do better now. So I would say that's it for Nioh 2 that we wanted to expand and evolve.
Speaking of those players, they've actually played a bit of the game in a beta last November. It seemed like the overwhelming piece of feedback was that it actually seemed a bit too difficult at times. How did Team Ninja react to that piece of information?
When you say too difficult I think that you mean it was too unfair as some of the battles were too punishing and people felt it was unfair -- almost demoralising. So we were aware of that problem to a certain extent and especially when the enemy was in the Dark Realm environment, there was absolutely no benefit to the player. When you are in a high-risk environment like the Dark Realm, I think what we needed to give the player is some sort of reward. Without that reward, it's just not fair. With the finished version, we will have more balanced difficulty and we've adjusted that carefully so the player will feel a higher level of satisfaction from combat.
In terms of post-launch support, you've announced three pieces of DLC. Obviously, taking development time of those into consideration, do you see yourself supporting Nioh 2 into the next generation on PS5? Or do you think it will all be contained onto the PS4?
At the moment, we are focusing to release it on PS4 and we are planning some DLCs and some post-launch support as well. But, that's only on PS4 at the moment.
We would like to thank Yosuke Hayashi for taking the time to answer our questions. Nioh 2 launches exclusively on PS4 next month on 13th March 2020.