Dynasty Warriors 9: Empires Drops The Open-World Garbage, Set For An Early 2021 Release

During Koei Tecmo’s second stream during the Tokyo Game Show 2020, the company announced the next mainline entry in the Dynasty Warriors series. Not jumping to 10 just yet, the follow up to the disaster that was Dynasty Warriors 9 will be an Empires expansion to said horrible game. Thankfully, Koei Tecmo has listened to fans and will be dropping the open-world aspects of its predecessor. Now there’s an actual chance this game might be decent.

Heading to PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Nintendo Switch in early 2021, the main focus of 9: Empires will be on “Castle Siege” battles. Set on a series of individual maps, these castle battles will include the larger numbers from 9, just with an actual framerate and game design that isn’t centered around menial tasks. We don’t know if crafting is completely removed, but it seems it will be heavily pared back.

9: Empires will also reintroduce the character creation tool from previous Empires games, but with a twist. The rather robust character tools from Nioh 2 will be getting repurposed and expanded in here, so you’ll be able to go wild with your custom characters.  In another nice touch, split-screen multiplayer will also make a return after its grave omission in 9.

On paper, all of this sounds good. The Empires expansions are typically better than the main games and the removal of open-world features should bring Dynasty Warriors back to what it does well: create massive battles. While the idea of a huge, free-roaming ancient China was tantalizing, I just don’t believe that Koei Tecmo has the skill to pull it off yet.

It will be interesting to see what the narrative design of 9: Empires is. These titles are usually “What If” scenarios that go in a completely different direction from the main games. With basically everyone being upset with Dynasty Warriors 9, Koei Tecmo could include a more streamlined plot here to appease fans that don’t even want to think about 9 anymore.

It’s also interesting to see that 9: Empires is heading to Switch. I hope that doesn’t mean the other versions will be heavily compromised, but I’ll take a scaled back Dynasty Warriors over the last entry.

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