Koei Tecmo’s Dynasty Warriors series is due for a massive overhaul with its next sequel, which its creators are pitching as a “rebirth” for the long-running franchise.
Among other new features, Dynasty Warriors 9 boasts open-world gameplay, abandoning the level-based progression structure common to previous series entries.
According to a Siliconera report, Dynasty Warriors 9 will attempt to recreate the entirety of China’s map as it existed during the Three Kingdoms period. Gameplay unfolds in an open-world format and players will encounter new missions and challenges as they explore its miles of simulated landscape on foot or on horseback.
Over the course of their journey, players will stumble upon villages that can be explored for clues and supplies. The upcoming sequel will also introduce Zhou Cang as a playable character, who arrives alongside a cast of 83 returning fighters from Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires. Additional starring characters will be announced as the game approaches its retail release.
Following up on a one-on-one fighting game from 1997, 2000’s Dynasty Warriors 2 introduced a style of gameplay that served as the formula for dozens of Koei Tecmo titles released in the years afterward. Taking inspiration from arcade beat-’em-ups, the series put players in control of Three Kingdoms-era warlords who can level entire battlefields using flashy melee combos and special moves.
The Dynasty Warriors series later spawned the Sengoku-era Samurai Warriors franchise, along with a multitude of spinoff games based on anime and manga licenses like Gundam, One Piece, and Fist of the North Star. An upcoming crossover game, Musou Stars, will see Dynasty Warriors’ starring cast fighting alongside characters from Ninja Gaiden and the Dead or Alive series.
Target platforms and a release date for Dynasty Warriors 9 are not yet known.