Nioh (Japanese Hepburn: Niō, “two Deva Kings”) is an action role-playing video game developed by Team Ninja for the PlayStation 4 (PS4). It was first released worldwide in February 2017, and was published by Sony Interactive Entertainment internationally, and Koei Tecmo in Japan. An edition for both PS4 and Microsoft Windows, containing all the game’s downloadable content (DLC), was released on November 7, 2017 by Koei Tecmo.
Set during a fictionalised version of the year 1600, the plot follows the journeys of William Adams, an Irish sailor named after and inspired by the historic Englishman who became one of the only ever Western samurai. Adams pursues the sorcerer Edward Kelley into the final battles of the Sengoku period during Tokugawa Ieyasu’s efforts to unify Japan, an effort complicated by the emergence of yōkai that are flourishing in the chaos of war. Gameplay revolves around navigating levels and defeating monsters that have infested an area; combat revolves around stamina or “Ki” management and different sword stances that are strong or weak against different enemies.
Nioh began development in 2004 for the PlayStation 3 as part of a multimedia project based on an unfinished Akira Kurosawa script. The project went through a turbulent and prolonged pre-production period, going through multiple revisions until its final version began development in 2014 for the PS4. The story was based on the life of Western samurai William Adams, though it was embellished with supernatural elements. Development information was sporadic until 2015, when it was reintroduced to the public.
Alpha and beta demos were released during 2016, to both gauge public reaction to the title and make adjustments based on feedback. Initially scheduled for a 2016 release, the adjustments pushed the release into the following year. Upon release, Nioh received positive reviews, with praise going to the gameplay and graphics while the story was criticised as lacking or confusing. It reached high positions in sales charts, going on to ship 2.5 million copies worldwide. A follow-up, Nioh 2, was released for the PlayStation 4 on March 13, 2020.