Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is quite the ambitious effort from the team at From Software- and that's really saying something, considering their previous work on Bloodborne and Dark Souls. But the real question here is...how did they become involved with Activision?
Well, there's an interesting story behind that. Game Informer, in the midst of their exclusive coverage on the game, recently spoke with members of the team about how Activision came on board.
First off, when pitching the project, Yasuhiro Kitao, From Software's manager of marketing and communications, explained, "Activision actually showed the most keen interest in the project proposal." It was looking for something different at the time, he explained.
Michelle Fonseca, senior product and marketing director for Activision, added, "Sekiro adds something very different and special to our lineup of games."
But there was still work that needed to be done in terms of defining exactly what Sekiro was. "It certainly wasn't Sekiro when we first started talking with From Software," Fonseca explained. "Miyazaki was really interested in creating something in Japan, and specifically in the Sengoku period, he was really interested in that time period. So they thought Tenchu would fit with his interest."
But eventually, planning began to take shape, according to Fonseca. "It became clear to both sides that this was something unique and special, and something that should be an experience on its own," she said. "If you attach it to an IP that is known and beloved by fans, you become constrained."
"They offered to help us with areas that we don't consider our expertise, such as user testing, offering feedback in regards to usability, things like this," Kitao added. "We're getting a lot of stimulation from the ideas they give us."
But Activision knows that From Software's avid fan base isn't to be messed with. "From has always had this sense of mystery in their games, so there's a fine balance between walking people through the experience and allowing them to discover it," Fonseca said. "We've been very thoughtful on what to show and how to keep that right pace for the fans. We don't want to show too much [in the marketing], either. There's a lot that we want to reserve for people to discover on their own."
Fortunately, Activision appears to have been very gracious in the partnership. "[Activision has] given us all creative control of the project," Kitao replied. "Everything past the start screen is From's jurisdiction."
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