Trek to Yomi Infuses Japanese History with Shinto Mythology
Trek to Yomi’s gameplay offers more than gripping cutscenes and 2D battles, it also takes players through authentic Edo period Japan.
Hike to Yomi, the story-driven 2D action game from Devolver Digital, is catching the attention of the gaming community for its highly stylized cinematography and black-and-white lighting scheme. With stunning cutscenes and visually stunning duels, Hike to Yomi mixes classic samurai movies with 2D side-scrolling action. The Kurosawa-inspired slasher has more than just art and aesthetics in its corner, though; it has a rich and detailed history that draws on authentic Japanese traditions, history and religion.
Leonard Menchiari, the creator of Hike to Yomi, was heavily inspired by silent films of the 1920s and 1930s when experimenting with black and white images in Unreal Engine. As Hike to Yomi took shape, its authenticity and accuracy in depicting Japan from the Edo period (1603 to 1867) was imperative. As such, the game revolves around the way of life of that period and is steeped in Shinto mythology, lore, and religion.
Japanese folklore around Trek to Yomi
The Edo period of Japan is a very romantic period in history, as it was the age when samurai and ronin were most prolific across the country. It’s an era often depicted in cartoons, movies, TV, books, and games, but those depictions aren’t always accurate. Hike to Yomi not only aims to tell a powerful story, but also places players in the life of a person living in Edo period Japan, with restaurants, dojos, cemeteries and markets true to the era .
Hike to YomiThe developers of spent many hours at the Edo Museum in Tokyo, Japan, and spent even more hours working one-on-one with experts and historians to ensure the accuracy of their depiction of the period. Edo. Everything from the way swords hang on the wall to thatching roofs and how a kimono is tied has been meticulously considered. They even adapted the dialogue to more accurately portray pre-Westernized Japanese culture. The developers wanted everything, even a simple walk down the street, to transport players to ancient Japan.
Hike to YomiThe developers of didn’t neglect the game’s music. The instruments they used to record the soundtrack are, in some cases, extremely rare and barely used in modern music. They selected them because of their place in the Japanese musical tradition. As a result, the game’s music further enhances the authentic Edo period feel for players as they explore Hiroki’s quest.
See the Shinto religion through Hiroki’s eyes
Shinto, a religion originating in Japan and considered the only indigenous religion in the country, was very popular during the Edo period. Centered on the belief and worship of kami – small spirits said to embody everything in the natural world – Shinto was and is practiced hand in hand with Buddhism throughout Japan. Using personal, family, and public shrines, believers in Shinto do their best to show respect to the kami, who exist everywhere.
Hike to Yomi is a game steeped in Shinto mythology and beliefs. Yomi is the Shinto equivalent of the underworld of other religions, which should tell players a bit about what to expect during Hiroki’s journey. The game’s trailer shows Hiroki defying death at least once before exploring a dark and magical realm, foreshadowing his quest into some of Shinto’s most dangerous areas. How? ‘Or’ What Hike to Yomi incorporates kami and their worship has yet to be revealed, but the developers have hinted that the number seven – an important number in the Shinto religion – will manifest strongly throughout the game.
Hike to Yomi sees the player take control of Hiroki in a quest for revenge. Throughout the quest, players will travel back in time to play as some of Hiroki’s ancestors, the protective kami spirits who currently watch over him. Players will experience the various events leading up to each of their deaths, which placed them in the dark realm of Yomi. Players can choose their impact on Hiroki’s decisions.
Hike to YomiThe trailers show off the dark gameplay and some of the battles players can expect to encounter. Although his world may not be as open and rich in exploration as Ghost of Tsushima, Hike to Yomi is an experience that is guaranteed to be genuine and authentic throughout. Although an official release date has yet to be announced, gamers can pick up the sleek slasher samurai for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 when it releases later in 2022.
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