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Developer(s): Koei, Team NINJA
Publisher(s): Koei-Tecmo
Release Date: Flag of Japan: February 9, 2017
European flag: February 8, 2017
Flag of the United States.svg: February 7, 2017
Genre: Action RPG
Game Modes: TBA
Ratings: CERO: CERO D Rating
PEGI: PEGI 18 Rating
Platform(s): PlayStation 4

Nioh (仁王) –stylized in Japanese as NIOH, originally titled Oni (鬼) and formerly spelled Ni-Oh– is an upcoming action game first announced in 2004 as a PlayStation 3 exclusive. It has been stuck in development limbo for over a decade; its finalized form was presented at the SCEJA Press Conference 2015. The main goal of the project is to present an original "difficult and dark samurai action game" from Koei.

Kou Shibusawa started as the project's producer before being made the general producer. Hisashi Koinuma is the current producer. Team NINJA started as backup before becoming the lead development team for this title. Yosuke Hayashi and Fumihiko Yasuda are the directors. The 2016 main visual is illustrated by Kouji Tajima. Yugo Kanno serves as the game's music composer and arranger.

The first model of the project released to the public stated that the game's story would be based on one of Akira Kurosawa's unfinished works. A future film of the same name was set to be directed by his son, Hisao, but both mediums experienced delays. After many years of silence, Shibusawa presented the title again with Yousuke Hayashi at Tokyo Game Show 2010. Shibusawa revealed that they had a prototype role-playing version of the game in 2006 that allowed players to direct generals in battle. He felt it was too rigid to be presented as a revitalizing game for the company.

To remedy the problem, he decided to hand it to Team NINJA to bring new life into it. While he knows that Koei is famous for historical simulations, Shibusawa responded that he doesn't want the same experience with Nioh as he is striving purely for historical entertainment with this title. He feels the newer results from Team NINJA has made a complete revival for the better and is pleased with what has been presented to him. Hayashi responded that it was a pleasure collaborating with Shibusawa on a product, stating he hopes players experience the definition of a samurai within the current age. He later commented that their original prototype was rejected because it was deemed too similar to NINJA GAIDEN.

Development was delayed again when Shibusawa wanted a graphical update to the PS4, lengthening the development for the action model to seven years. Koinuma remarks the game shaped into something that satisfied everyone in 2015. An alpha demo for the game was released in April 2015, allowing players to sample two stages of the game and give feedback. Over 850,000 players worldwide downloaded the alpha. A beta demo was released in August with updated gameplay as well as a new stage, a training mode, and the Twilight missions. Players who managed to defeat certain bosses were rewarded with the Mark of the Conqueror and Mark of the Strong DLC which allow access to the Onryoma Helmet and the Hinoenma Helmet respectively.

The game's digital deluxe edition comes with five new weapons, a PS4 avatar, and a season pass. Pre-order any version to receive a serial code for the Nioh armor. Customers who pre-order within the first two weeks will also acquire a Yukimura Sanada-inspired armor.


Hisao's involvement with the final form of the game has not been mentioned. It is likely that the collaboration has been dropped.

The story's setting is a dark fantasy version of the Japanese Warring States Period. The years of strife of the period have caused Yokai to come out of hiding, ravaging the land. The protagonist is William Adams, a Western samurai with "raging blond hair and deepest blue eyes" who fights against demons and specters. Players experience his cutthroat life by the sword.


The game is specifically designed for trial and error. Developers expect players to retry segments multiple times.

  • There are three different attack stances for weapons: low, neutral, and high. Each one has different strengths and weakness.
    • Low stance consumes the least amount of stamina per action, is very fast, and has the best dodge. However, it is also the weakest in terms of damage
    • Mid stance is balanced in terms of stamina, power, and speed as well as having the best guard. Stamina recovery is also high
    • High stance has the most powerful strikes, but is slow and consumes large amounts of stamina.
  • A stamina meter limits the number of actions that can be performed at a time. It is reduced by being hit.
    • Stamina recovery can be sped up by using the Ki Burst, allowing William to recover larger amounts of stamina more quickly.
  • In addition to boosting stats, player can also invest in skill trees that are divided between Samurai, Ninja, and Onmyo.
    • Samurai points can be used on melee weapons, unlocking new combo finishers, unique attacks, and passive bonuses that boost overall performance. Samurai points can be earned by using weapons, increasing stats, or using special items.
    • Ninja points are used to acquire Ninjutsu such as bombs, caltrops, and shuriken and boosts Ninjutsu capacity. These are earned by boosting stats or finding special items. Ninjutsu uses are refilled by going to shrines.
    • Onmyo points are used to buy Onmyo magic which can apply buffs such as elemental damage to weapons or debuffs such as slowing enemies as well as increasing Capacity. Onmyo uses are refilled by going to shrines.
  • Armor can be found and equipped. It customizes the character's appearance. Armor also weighs William down with weight affecting his stamina recovery, consumption, as well as his speed.
    • The Appearance Copy system lets players change armor to any look they prefer while still keeping stats, allowing players to not have to wear grossly mismatched sets in order to have good stats.
  • The player can equip various types of Guardian Spirits, special creatures based on mythological beasts that affect Williams attributes and give him bonuses. They also give access to Living Weapon mode where William's health and stamina are combined to offset damage and can inflict massive damage if used correctly. To activate Living Weapon, William must harvest amrita from enemies to build the gauge.
  • Shrines are scattered across the map. Players can access these points to select between different characters, develop their stats, and equip jutsu and magic. It also replenishes guardian spirits.
    • Players can find Kodama spirits to send to shrines. Doing so allows the player to ask for blessings that boost drop rates for weapons, armor, ammunition, healing items, and Amrita. Finding Kodama also boosts the amount of elixirs the player can carry.
  • Equipment is based on a loot system, with attributes being random. Rarity is assigned by colors with tougher enemies typically dropping rarer, and therefore stronger, equipment.
  • William can swap between different weapons in real-time, carrying two melee and two ranged weapons in his equipped slots. He starts with the katana. His other weapons include spears, halberds, axes, hammers, dual katana, kusarigama, bows, rifles, and handcannons. Every weapon has their own traits to differentiate from the other and have their own skill trees for customization.
    • Weapons can be customized and upgraded to feature passive bonuses and elemental damage that can inflict status effects on enemies.
    • All equipment has a Familiarity stat, improving what William has simply by equipping and using it. Higher Familiarity boosts stats, bonuses, and gives a chance at better loot should William choose to use them as offerings at shrines.
  • In between missions William can take on side quests or go to the blacksmith to reforge equipment.
  • If players are connected online, they can see sword markers from other fallen players to warn them of the difficulty of an area. Attack the mounds to revive the other players' corpse and gain bonus items.
  • Dismemberment is a feature exclusive to English ports.
  • Downloadable content includes special weapons, armor, characters, and additional story episodes.
    • A Player vs Player mode will be implemented for free after launch.
  • Players can select different settings to either optimize frame rates or enhance full motion cutscenes.




Related MediaEdit

This is one of the titles that shall be at Koei-Tecmo's booth in Tokyo Game Show 2015 with a staged introduction September 17 (JST). Booth visitors can pose with mock weaponry from the game at the Nioh photo set up.

An alpha trial was launched worldwide from April 26 to May 5. Participants in the trial earned a "Proof of Conquest" which can be redeemed for a special prize in the retail version. Answer the questionnaire to get a smartphone wallpaper. A beta trial will be held on August 20 during the PlayStation Festival.

Bessatsu Shonen Magazine serialized a comic adaptation Nioh ~Kiniro no Samurai~ by Yousuke Katayama. It was scheduled to start in the June 2016 issue.

Twitter followers may participate in a lottery draw to win a Kodama strap.


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