Hello everyone! Today we’re so excited to announce that Aragami 2 is arriving to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 on September 17. To mark the occasion, we’re also excited to shed some details on how Aragami 2’s three-player co-op evolves the ninja clan experience, along with some development insights.
We also proudly present a first look at its gameplay with a new trailer featuring a cinematic, in-engine look in which you’ll see how this sequel is taking the Aragami series to loftier heights. Check out the enhanced stealth mechanics and an all-new combat system where every move must 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 thought the best way to achieve this was to give our characters agile and skillful movement, which empowers subterfuge and stealth assault instead of a lot of strength. It also strengthens the exciting feeling of overcoming overwhelming odds.
We based the combat on fast character movement, explosive dodges, and lightning-fast combo attacks. At the same time, we discouraged blocking, since we want to keep action fast-paced and convey that our character uses his agility and reflexes over strength. Instead, we favored parries, since they are more dynamic and technical in their application.
But how does this work with a three-player co-op system?
Let’s start by looking back at the previous game we released – Aragami. The two-player co-op feature worked very well in Aragami: players loved beating the campaign alongside a friend and planning different strategies to complete the missions. We were overwhelmed by the impressive amount of players sharing their walkthroughs and also seeing them establishing their own identity combining different character skins and dyes.
Given the positive reception, it was very clear that the co-op would be one of the main pillars for the development of Aragami 2 from the very beginning, but deciding for a three player co-op instead of two or four, was more an iteration process than a pre-reasoned decision. Narratively, we had to create a sensation of a clan and not to center on a lonely ninja, and the option of a two-player co-op didn’t reinforce this idea. We first explored with a four-player co-op, which is more classic in video games, but that gave a lot of trouble when balancing and, in our opinion, the stealth component was easily lost.
Scout ahead and plan the attack…
When we tried with the three-player option, we immediately felt that we had found that sweet spot between feeling like being part of a clan or squad while maintaining the feeling of stealthiness and being outnumbered by the enemy. We had so much fun doing three-player speedruns competitions in the studio to see who arrived first to the end of a level!
The chance to play as a three-ninja squad opens up a wide arrangement of possibilities and versatility. You can have one player acting as a scout from an elevated spot marking nearby enemies, another taking down them from the ground, and the other stealing an item you need to complete the mission.
Then divide, conquer, and execute from the shadows
But there are many challenges you face when introducing three-player co-op. We wanted to give each player their own identity, including visual distinctions like different skins, dyes, and equipment. Unique gameplay across co-op was also important. It meant we had to design gameplay that adapts to every user, whether they are more combat-focused, stealthy, or more acrobatic. We had to give players the chance to play the way they want. Hence, we have a robust ability tree allowing players to specialize in their own craft. This is a pretty complex thing to achieve — making sure that this variety and possibilities exist, and that it’s fun, challenging, and well balanced. And this also applies to combat, as you don’t want the game to feel too easy when playing in co-op, or to eliminate the feeling of the game being a stealth title, which is our core.
As a solo player, you can only unlock half of the ability tree when arriving to the maximum level, encouraging you to find partners that complement your playstyle with other roles. For instance, if you’re a stealthier player, you’d need another one that helps fight when battles erupt, and another that supports the team with recovery or combat items.
We can’t wait to have you embark on this supernatural journey with your friends on September 17. We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed creating it. Thank you for all your support!