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Rise of the Ronin may have come and gone, but Koei Tecmo says it's selling faster than Nioh and Nioh 2

Rise of the Ronin's impact has been far less than a typical Team Ninja game, but it's apparently doing fine.

Image credit: Team Ninja, Sony Interactive Entertainment.

You'd be forgiven for not remembering that the storied Team Ninja put out its most ambitious game just a few weeks ago. Rise of the Ronin, the studio’s open-world epic, landed with a bit of a thud.

The action RPG was generally favourably reviewed by critics, and received well enough by players, but it clearly didn’t satisfy longtime followers of the studio, or really anyone who thought it would be an evolution of the Nioh games.

As it turns out, Koei Tecmo and Team Ninja may have made the right decisions with that one.

As part of the latest earnings report [PDF] for Koei Tecmo’s FY2023, the company touched on one of its biggest games released during the year: Rise of the Ronin. Koei Tecmo did not publish the game; it was published by Sony Interactive Entertainment as part of a co-development project between the two companies.

This is standard for Koei Tecmo, but since neither it nor Sony have revealed any hard sales numbers for Rise of the Ronin, we’ll have to go on the remarks the former made in this earnings report to get an idea of how well the game did.

According to the company, Rise of the Ronin’s initial sales “go beyond Nioh and Nioh 2.” In an earlier part of the report, Koei Tecmo said that sales are surpassing the Nioh series outright. This is a bit surprising, considering how late into the PS4’s life both Nioh games released compared to Ronin’s more limited PS5 install base.

Both Nioh games, of course, ended up arriving on PC months after their initial PlayStation exclusivity window ended, but that’s not likely to be taken into account here. The main reason this statistic is surprising is that Rise of the Ronin just didn’t make the splash many people expected it to.

Rise of the Ronin's combat failed to convince Nioh fans to stick with it. | Image credit: Team Ninja, Sony Interactive Entertainment.

Previews were generally favourable, particularly given how much of a tech upgrade Ronin represented compared to the Nioh games, but reviews were much more timid. We described it as “Team Ninja without the bite, or the Nioh heights” in our review, and many others felt the game learned the wrong lessons from the deluge of open-world games.

It also didn’t help that it released on the same day as Dragon’s Dogma 2, one of the year’s most-anticipated games, and one that released on all platforms. You could argue that Dragon’s Dogma 2’s star faded faster than expected, too, but it may have sucked out most of the air in the room at the time.

Fiscal Year 23 was otherwise okay for Koei Tecmo, with higher net and ordinary profit than anticipated, but lower sales and revenue. The main reason being lower than expect sales of new console games in the West, though that was offset by better mobile game performance in Japan.

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