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Die By The Blade - What We Know So Far

"Die by the Blade" is shaping up to be the "Bushido Blade" spiritual successor that fans of the unforgiving fighter have been waiting for, and it could be hitting shelves soon.

Developed by Grindstone and Triple Hill Interactive, "Die by the Blade" is an upcoming multiplayer fighting game looking to continue the legacy of 1997's "Bushido Blade" by focusing on one-hit kills. It's yet another title trying to emulate the intensity of samurai combat following the immense success of "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice." There will also be a short single-player experience.

First announced by Grindstone in August 2020, the game has raised more than $25,000 on Kickstarter. The setting of "Die by the Blade" is described as "Samurai-punk" on the game's website. It takes place in an alternate-history Japan, where a number of US-occupied territories see technological advancements far outpacing the technologies of other regions. This creates a conflict centered around tradition vs. progression, expressed in the form of fighters using traditional Japanese weapons in a futuristic setting. Thanks to regular updates from the developer, there's been no shortage of gameplay and information ahead of its release.

Is there a release date for Die by the Blade?

It was initially set to release in October 2020, but difficulties brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic forced the developers to delay it. In that March 2021 announcement, Triple Hill Chief Designer Peter Adamondy said the plan after the Kickstarter campaign was to ramp up production by hiring more developers to increase the amount of work that can be done. Unfortunately, the transition to remote work slowed things down. The team was also unable to go to the office to do motion capture and record animations for the game. There is no firm release date for "Die by the Blade," but its Steam page simply says the game will release in 2022. 

Grindstone has continue to show glimpses of the game in its most recent "Dev Update." Additionally, "Die by the Blade" has been playable at various conventions and tournaments, including EVO, over the last few months. If the developers are confident enough to let competitive players test it out, the full release should be on the horizon.

Is there a trailer for Die by the Blade?

Grindstone released a teaser trailer for "Die by the Blade" in August 2020. In September 2021, PlayStation released an announcement trailer for the game. In the time before and since the PlayStation trailer, Grindstone has released dozens of smaller videos showing off each aspect of the game. November 2020 featured an in-depth gameplay breakdown. In the breakdown, Adamondy tests various combos and stances to show off some of the game's complexity. Other videos include updates on the single-player campaign and continued polishing of the combat.

Since the game's delay, Grindstone has posted four Dev Updates. These videos offer an extensive look at the progression of the game over time. In the 2020 gameplay breakdown, it was clear that "Die by the Blade" was still very early in development. The characters were detailed and able to perform a wide range of attacks, but animations were still somewhat stiff. In the fifth Dev Update, however, the game had an updated HUD and attack sequences were more fluid. Particle affects also seemed to be improved.

What will the gameplay be like in Die by the Blade?

Like "Bushido Blade," the most prominent feature in "Die by the Blade" is the inclusion of one-hit kills, according to its website. Nearly every attack is capable of killing the opponent. Attacks that don't kill – primarily somewhere on the lower body – can cripple enemies, making them slower and easier to finish. Giving depth to the game are a number of different stances and weapons that the player can use, offering a variety of attack speeds and ranges.

Traditional weapons, shown on the website's character page, include the katana, naginata, and nodachi. Players can use light and heavy attacks targeting the head, mid-section, or lower body. Additionally, animations can be canceled, allowing the player to feint attacks and create openings through their opponent's reactions. Non-lethal attacks on the lower body will have cosmetic and functional effects, with wounded fighters moving more slowly. Like the "Monster Hunter" series, there is no health bar and enemies must be closely observed during combat. Each fighter, however, does have a stamina meter that will deplete with each attack or block.