As we had been expecting, From Software gave us a glimpse of their upcoming title during 2017’s Video Game Awards. A short and tantalizing clip revealed nothing but “Shadows die twice.” What does this mean? Could this new game or Bloodborne 2? Or is it something else, like Shadow Tower? In this article we’ll put together everything we know and attempt to solve that puzzle and answer those questions.
Shadows Die Twice – Bloodborne 2 or Something Else?
Why it Could be Bloodborne 2
Before we analyze the quote “Shadows Die Twice“, let’s first evaluate the small video clip first and see what there is there. The clip looks to be of a winch tightening, but for what purpose is unclear. The winch looks to be made of bone and is covered in blood. The first thing you deduce from looking at it, is that it is old. Circa the 17th, 18th or 19th century probably. Between the blood on the winch and this time period, players will automatically think Bloodborne 2. These 2 things in tandem are the most compelling argument for the sequel right now, but you can check out some other arguments on this previous article.
Now focusing on the instrument at hand: is it a torture device? Or a weapon? Have you considered that Gehrman is actually missing his right leg… and does that bone look like a leg bone to you? Althought some speculate the Old Hunter Bone is actually his leg rather than his apprentice’s, this could be a rather interesting twist for a hint at an upcoming sequel.
Once you dive into the quote, “Shadows Die Twice” things get a bit murkier. Is it possible From Software was referring to the fact that you must kill something twice in order for true victory? A “Shadow” is a well known enemy type from RPGs and they are even present in Bloodborne as a Boss. It is also a common theme that Shadows, or viewing shadowy shapes can cause Nightmares, which are of course the center point of Bloodborne.
On further inspection you see writing in the background that is calligraphy form of Kanji. This would seem to indicate that the game takes place in either China or Japan. Placing a game in China or Japan during the time period doesn’t 100% negate the idea that this is Bloodborne 2. The Old Hunters DLC did have an eastern NPC in Old Hunter Yamamura and his garb reads:
Garb of a distant Eastern land, worn by Yamamura the Wanderer.
This Eastern warrior pursued a beast for honourable revenge, then became a hunter of the League. But when he stared straight into impurity, it drove him mad.
So (as souls games often do), Bloodborne had eastern elements added, albeit in a very tiny quantity. None of this confirms it is Bloodborne 2, but it is clear that From Software wanted some people to think that it is. It would be a clever way to market a new game and create hype.
All that said, remember that there was a rumor that Sony and FromSoftware had a 3 game deal, which most speculated would mean Bloodborne sequels if true. However, the Demon’s Souls servers shut down recently! Could this be a torture device in Boletaria? We’ll have to wait and see.
Why it Could be Tenchu
Tenchu is a Ninja game franchise made by From Software across many platforms with their last entry coming in 2009. The reasons we think it might be a Tenchu game are as follows.
Firstly, the Kanji in the background during the clip suggests that the game takes place somewhere in China or Japan. The calligraphy background is ancient and purposely obtuse, and Fex can only make out “虎” (TIGER) – but is joined by other Japanese players in being unsure about the rest because the style of the script is so antiquated. Again by dating the age of the winch and the calligraphy we can see that this would be somewhere around the 17th or 18th century which is close to the time period that the Tenchu games are set in (16th century feudal Japan). So, if we are off on our dating, which is a possibility, then the these two things (time and location) make it seem likely.
Secondly the phrase “Shadows Die Twice” could refer to Ninjas. It is not uncommon for Ninjas to be called “Shadows” and indeed the title of the last Tenchu game was “Shadow Assassins”. Or it could be referring to the main villain in Shadow Assassins, Onikage, that is killed not once, but 2 times at the end of the game (Onikage literally translates to “Shadow Demon”). He is seen dying and then rising from the dead. “Shadows Die Twice” could be referring to that.
Lastly, From Software is a confirmed partner for the Nintendo Switch, yet they have not produced a single title for this platform. This means that a future title must be coming for it, and seeing as how Shadow Assassins was released on Wii, and no other title by From Software to date has been released on a non-handheld Nintendo console, this is a great indicator that it is a Tenchu game.
* Keep in mind that a Dark Souls remaster for the Nintendo Switch may also be in the works and the reason for the partnership!
Why it Could be Shadow Tower
A somewhat compelling case could be made that it could also be Shadow Tower. “Shadows Die Twice” could be referring to this From Software game made on PS1. We do know that From doesn’t stray very far from their already beaten path and it could be plausible for them to make another entry into this series. Here’s why we think it could be Shadow Tower.
Firstly, the trailer has a dark and gritty feeling to it, which is very similar to Shadow Tower. In fact there were many people that thought Bloodborne would be a Shadow Tower game based on early impressions and information we were seeing back when it was called Project Beast. Shadow Tower is a first person dungeon crawler that was released on Playstation 1 and it shares some similarities to the Kingsfield games, also made by From Software.
Shadow Tower was a first person game and From Software has given some indication that the next game they release will also be available for VR. Since First Person games lend themselves well to this medium, it would be a natural fit for Shadow Tower. There is also a shortage of dungeon crawler VR titles, but we have a feeling more are coming…Where are you Deep Down
* Remember that Armored Core is also in the works and it would make a sweet VR title as well.
There are many ways this could go, and knowing FromSoftware it’s likely a deceiving preview. Within Fextralife, we are divided between a Demon’s Souls remaster, Bloodborne 2, and a spiritual successor or direct sequel to Shadow Tower or Tenchu. Will this game come to all platforms? Is it a Sony exclusive? We leave you with the following facts from where to draw your own conclusions!
- We know that FromSoftware is working on 3 games “some of those are dark fantasy” . One is “Weird”, one will “Answer fan expectations in a straight-forward manner“, and one is “Mecha” (the now confirmed Armored Core).
- FromSoftware was hiring a “Console, Dark Fantasy, Realistic” “Creature” and “Background” temporary designer. If the title was a remaster, new creature and character design would be unlikely!
- Miyazaki-san has been hanging out with Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida.
- “Shadows Die Twice” uses a slightly modified version of the same font used for “The Old Hunters”.
- Want some more? How about Sony Computer Entertainment Japan’s PR manager Yasuhiro Kitao changing jobs to FromSoftware and tweeting: “It’s still a bit far away, but we won’t make you wait for a whole year” –> This is the person who managed a bunch of Bloodborne’s promotions!
— FROMSOFTWARE／Kitao (@YasuhiroKitao) December 8, 2017
Whatever it is, we know we’re likely to love From’s next game, and perhaps they will incorporate some of our out-of-the-box ideas. We are all likely to get more information at PSX 2017, coming this month, so keep an eye on the blog for further updates.