Good morning all! Today, we’re excited to announce that Aragami 2 will arrive on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 on September 17th. To mark the occasion, we’re also excited to share a few details on how Aragami 2’s three-player co-op is evolving the ninja. clan experience, as well as some ideas for development.
We also proudly present a first look at its gameplay with a new trailer featuring an in-engine cinematic look in which you’ll see how this sequel elevates the Aragami series to higher heights. Experience improved stealth mechanics and an all-new combat system where every move has to be calculated.
Since Aragami 2 is a stealth game, we challenged ourselves to create a combat system with supernatural ninja skills, which also encourages stealth over brute force. We figured the best way to do this was to give our characters a nimble and skillful movement, which allows for subterfuge and stealthy assaults instead of a lot of force. It also enhances the exciting feeling of overcoming overwhelming obstacles.
We based the combat on quick character movements, explosive dodges, and lightning-fast combos. At the same time, we have discouraged blocking, as we want to keep the action fast and convey that our character is using their agility and reflexes rather than strength. Instead, we favored parries, as they are more dynamic and technical in their application.
But how does that work with a three player co-op system?
Let’s start by going back to the previous game we released – Aragami. The two-player co-op feature worked very well in Aragami – players loved to battle the campaign alongside a friend and plan different strategies to complete missions. We were overwhelmed by the sheer number of players sharing their solutions and also seeing them establish their own identity by combining different skins and character coloring.
Given the positive reception, it was very clear that the co-op would be one of the main pillars of Aragami 2’s development from the start, but deciding on a three-player co-op instead of two or four was more of a factor. iteration process than a pre-reasoned decision. Narratively, we had to create a clan feel and not focus on a lone ninja, and the option of two-player co-op didn’t reinforce that idea. We first explored with a four-player co-op, which is more classic in video games, but it posed a lot of issues when balancing, and in our opinion, the stealth component was easily lost.
Look ahead and plan the attack …
When we tried the three-player option, we immediately felt that we had found that ideal balance between being part of a clan or a team while still maintaining the feeling of stealth and being overwhelmed in number by the enemy. We had so much fun doing three player speedrun competitions in the studio to see who got there first at the end of a level!
The chance to play as a team of three ninjas opens up a wide range of possibilities and versatility. You can have one player acting as a scout from a high spot marking nearby enemies, another knocking them down from the ground, and the other stealing an item you need to complete the mission.
Then divide, conquer and run from the shadows
But there are a lot of challenges you have to overcome when introducing three player co-op. We wanted to give each player their own unique identity, including visual distinctions like different skins, dyes, and gear. Unique co-op gameplay was also important. This meant that we had to design gameplay that suited each user, whether it was more combat-oriented, stealthy, or more acrobatic. We had to give players the chance to play the way they wanted. Therefore, we have a robust ability tree for players to specialize in their own craft. It’s a pretty complex thing to achieve – making sure that this variety and possibilities are there, and that it’s fun, challenging, and well-rounded. And that also applies to combat, because you don’t want the game to be too easy when playing co-op, or to eliminate the feeling that the game is a stealth title, which is our core.
As a single player player, you can only unlock half of the ability tree upon reaching max level, which encourages you to find partners who complement your playstyle with other roles. For example, if you’re a more stealthy player, you’ll need one that helps fight when battles break out, and one that supports the team with salvage or combat items.
We can’t wait for you to embark on this supernatural journey with your friends on September 17th. We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed creating it. Thanks for all your support!