Lore in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice refers to the World Building, Story and Setting of the game. The world of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has the feeling of a fantastical re-imagining of Sengoku-Era Japan, which is built on a large amount of small folklore stories thus the lore would be able to explain the numerous stories that would be told in Sekiro.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Lore
The time is Sengoku
Beyond the peaks of deep snow, lies the land of Ashina
Sword Saint Ashina Isshin, who in but a generation conquered the realm and begun the country in
the Northern Regions
But that Ashina is now in mortal danger
Isshin’s grandson, and Ashina’s Commander, despairing at their plight secretly told the allies
“There are no usual means left by which to protect Ashina”
“This right here is when we need that prince”
And thus the prince is kidnapped
And a prince he is in name only, without a family or vassals,
but for one single ninja.
This is a tale of stranding,
loneliness between Lord and Retainer.
Story Trailer - February 2019
Narrator: In the closing years of the Sengoku Era, Japan was consumed by perpetual conflict.
Character 1 (War times): What's the matter, stray? Nothing left to lose?. Well, would you look at that. Will you join me, starving wolf?
Character 1 (years later): That day I pulled you from the battlefield, I had no idea what you would become
Tokyo Game Show (TGS) Trailer - September 2018
Mysterious voice: Even if you fall, uphold the oath to bring your master home. For you are my shinobi. I have witnessed a Shura once before. The Mortal Blade.
Sekiro: I accept its power.
Ashina Clan Warrior: We meet again, Son of Owl. So, the young lord's shinobi thinks he can stop us?
Young Lord(?): Loyal Wolf. Take my blood and live again.
E3 Trailer - June 2018
Busshi: So you're awake. Looks like death is not your fate just yet.
Some time has passed since I found you: your master still lives but they'll soon make use of his bloodline.
The limb you have lost will give way to something more... useful. You'll learn to appreciate its worth.
Your death won't come easily.
About the Sengoku Era
The Sengoku Era in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is the setting that was chosen for the game. The Sengoku Era was a century-long period in Japanese history that was known for its military conflict between social, political upheaval and warlordism where countless leaders of Japan fought each other in a never-ending battle for claiming power and land.
According to an interview from the Washington Post and Hidetaka Miyazaki, Miyazaki mentions: "As we wanted to create a setting in which a ninja character could play an active role, we considered both the Sengoku period and the Edo period. The reason for picking Sengoku over Edo was that the former is an era during the Middle Ages, whereas the latter is closer to early-modern times. A more medieval setting allowed for the impression that various ancient and mystical elements still exist in the world, which is something we found very appealing."
Similar to this, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice takes place in a re-imagined 16th century Sengoku Period of Japan, where certain parts of Ashina is overrun by formidable leaders hungry for power. Players will take control of Sekiro also known as "The Wolf" who was sent and given a mission to rescue the young divine Heir, Lord Kuro who carries the power of resurrection that is running in his blood.
Later on, Sekiro faces Genichiro Ashina where he eventually fails to protect the divine heir, loses his left arm over Genichiro's blade and is left to die. However, it seems the Gods are in Sekiro's favor as he survives and awakens in a temple with the aid of a mysterious man known as the Sculptor - Sekiro awakens as a vengeful shinobi equipped with a new tool along with a new found power of Resurrection who is on a quest to rescue the divine heir from various forces wanting to use the divine heir's blood for their own intent.
Lore Theory: The Sengoku era spans from 1467 (beginning of the Onin War) to 1590 (Siege of Odawara). The events of Sekiro, however, likely took place at some point between 1576 and 1590, because the antagonist of Ashina is called the Interior Ministry (内府; naifu in the Japanese). More specifically, it can be either 1576 or 1580, depending on who the historical origin of Isshin Ashina is.
- Nobunaga Oda, the first of the Three Great Unifiers of Japan, held the position of the Interior Minister of the Court (the 4th highest in the hierarchy of the ancient Japanese court system) between 1576–1577. Tomonori Kitabatake, a possible candidate for the historical origin of Isshin Ashina was killed by the assassins of Nobunaga in 1576.
- Note that Nobunaga also held the Right Minister of the Court (the 3rd highest) between 1577–1582. He was usually called Oda Right Ministry (Oda Ufu; 織田右府) in this period. It is possible that "the Inner Ministry" in Sekiro is an allusion to "the Right Ministry" rather than strict historical reference.
- Nobukatsu Oda, a son of Nobunaga, held the position of the Interior Minister between 1577-1590. Moriuji Ashina, another possible candidate for the historical origin of Isshina Ashina, died in 1580.
About the Shinobi
"Never forget the Iron Code."
"Looks like death is not in your fate... just yet."
Shinobi in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is another term that is used to identify a Ninja - where during the Sengoku Era, Shinobis equipped with the skills of assassination, infiltration, espionage, and sabotage existed.
In Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, players will take control of a Shinobi named Sekiro or The Wolf who is equipped with a Prosthetic Arm, as well as a Resurrective power that separates him from the rest of the Shinobi. He is sworn to follow the Shinobi's Iron Code of protecting the Divine Heir with his life from dangerous forces who are after the power of Resurrection, and possibly reform and save the land of Ashina.
Area Specific Lore:
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Gallery