Dynasty Warriors 9 marks the franchises first foray into an open world, but the game series known for massive hack-and-slash combat certainly didn't try to tip-toe its way into this new design. I was lucky enough to get an early hands-on with Dynasty Warriors 9 and to speak with Omega Force Producer Akihiro Suzuki about the game last week. Through a translator, he told me that he thought players of the newest title would be surprised by the open world that had been created because it tried to reproduce the entire nation of China. According to Suzuki...
Because of the transition from the open world we believe players will be surprised most about the scale because we tried to show off China in its entirety.
Now, to be fair, Dynasty Warriors 9 doesn't actually show off all of China, it is significantly scaled down at the very least, but the fact that the game series even tried to recreate all of China in the first attempt at an open world is a lot to take in. At the same time, China has always been a major part of the Dynasty Warriors franchise. Not simply the setting for the games, Chinese history plays a part in the story that the games tell and it has become a sort of character in its own right. Doing as much as possible to recreate China properly is likely vital to the game in the eyes of most fans.
As far as how China was fully represented, Akihiro Suzuki went on to tell me that, while displaying China in its entirety was impossible, the team instead focused on creating major Chinese landmarks in such a way as to impress the players with their actual scale.
It's pretty much impossible to put China in a real scale in a game. We focused mostly on landmarks. So, for example, landmarks like really long rivers we wanted to show off the scale of that distance to the players.
While my own hands-on time with Dynasty Warriors 9 only scratched the surface of the game's open world, I certainly got an impression of the scale that Akihiro Suzuki spoke about. Similar to most open world games you find yourself traversing the map and not simply getting involved in large-scale combat but also going on side quests to find items in order to perform crafting tasks or achieve other objectives. The fact that you're dealing with feudal China means that you're not traversing a crowded city like something out of Watch_Dogs or Assassin's Creed. Instead, the map is much more open, at least in the game's early going, which gives you the feeling that the map is as massive as China, even if it really isn't quite that big. Fans will be able to experience the massive map themselves when Dynasty Warriors 9 launches February 13.