Afro Samurai 2 is looking to right the wrongs of the first game and after seeing some early B-Roll footage at Gamescom 2014, Redacted Studios might actually pull it off…
The original Afro Samurai did a lot of things right. The original anime shone through in its art style, sound track and the slick combat was something of a revelation at the time. Its issues stemmed from a lack of variety. As exciting as it was to play as Afro for the first half of the game, slicing enemies in 2 and watching blood spurt everywhere, this eventually started to grate as the game degenerated into a cycle of walk, fight, walk, fight. Rinse. Repeat.
David Robinson, president of Redacted Studios, the developers of Afro Samurai 2, knowns this. He knows the short comings of the first game and he is determined to make things right with the follow-up. During my time in Gamescom, David was the most passionate games industry individual I spoke to. His love for the Afro Samurai anime series and the original vision of Takashi Okazaki was evident. No other developer, CEO or executive looked as excited or enthusiastic about their game than David did. He was brimming with energy.
David conveyed his vision perfectly – Afro Samurai 2 will keep all of the aspects of the original game that worked – the art style, the combat, the hip hop & soul soundtrack – but will follow a different characters journey and have a bigger variety of game play. He wants desperately to make the Afro Samurai game that the anime series deserves and through all of his PR talk and enthusiasm, it sounds like he knows how to get there.
Afro Samurai 2 follows a fan favourite from the animated series – Kuma – but there will also be the opportunity to play as other characters from the franchise as the story line flashes back to key moments in the past. Kuma is hell-bent on revenge against Afro but will have to cut his way through a myriad of enemies on this conquest. Of course, to avoid falling into the same pit falls as the original, hacking enemies will not be the only thing standing in Kuma’s way. This journey will be treacherous and the B-roll footage we saw at Gamescom showed Kuma plummeting off a broken bridge before stabbing one of his dual swords into the falling wood to save himself. From here he clawed his way up using his swords as hand holds. This Uncharted-esque game play added a cinematic edge to Afro Samurai 2 which was sorely missing from the original. David described it as “the love child of Batmans Arkham and Tomb Raider”.
One of the most interesting aspects of Afro Samurai 2 is “the face of death”. When ever an enemy shifts Kuma off of his mortal coil, the camera will switch to the view-point of the enemy giving you a different perspective. In 20 years of gaming, I have not seen a game take this frankly unique step to give you a view through the eyes of your enemy as they watch your demise. I am not sure whether this will pay off but, personally, I can’t wait to see this in action.
David Robinson and the Redacted Studios team know what they need to do to make Afro Samurai 2 a success. They know what worked and what didn’t in the first game and they are determined, enthusiastic and excited about making a game they can be proud of. Takashi Okazaki is fully behind the project and is being consulted on aspects of the game – which can only be a good thing because that man is a genius. Wu-Tang Clan member RZA is returning to piece together a soundtrack filled with a mix of classic hip hop and underground talent. The pieces are all falling into place to make Afro Samurai 2 an exciting prospect for fans and newcomers to the series alike.
Afro Samurai 2 will be coming to the PS4 (Xbox One and PC) in 2015.