John Wick Inspired Katana Zero Poised to Slash Onto PC, Consoles

After partnering with Devolver Digital, developer Askiisoft finally has a release window for its upcoming hack and slash platformer, Katana Zero.

According to numerous reports, Akiisoft's upcoming side-scrolling action title, Katana Zero, might be the John Wick-inspired video game we've all been waiting for. Set to release for PC and consoles this March, Katana Zero is heavily influenced by the revenge film, even if its protagonist is a sword-wielding ninja named "The Dragon." 

While the game does not tie into the John Wick franchise in any tangible way, one look at the demo footage coming from publications like Polygon and Destructoid shows that the game's developer, Tadakuni Amano, is a big fan of twitchy side-scrollers, gratuitous gore, and vengeful assassins. 

In a 2017 interview with TechRaptor, Amano confirmed that was the case; Katana Zero is heavily influenced by revenge films such as Drive, Sin City, and John Wick. Although we've yet to dive into the game ourselves, Katana Zero looks to be a worthy representation of those movies, albeit in a 2D, pixelated format.

Unsurprisingly, the game has also drawn comparisons to the criminally-good Mark of the Ninja and the carnage-heavy Hotline Miami.

Like those titles, Katana Zero's gameplay centers around a mixture of visceral hack and slash action and platforming. The protagonist can also use time-manipulation, which allows the game's them to slow down time and set up attacks as an integral part of the gameplay. Amano has said that this specific mechanic, called Chronos, is both a gameplay and narrative device.

"It gets around the narrative problem of meaningless death in video games, where you die, but you can just come back to life magically," he told TechRaptor. 

Although Askiisoft is not a household name, the company has been developing hard-as-nails platformers for the better part of 10 years. Its first title, Tower of Heaven, was released for web-based PC platforms in 2009, generating buzz from fans and critics alike.

In a 2012 feature, we named Tower of Heaven one of the best flash games ever made, noting its difficulty and score as primary strengths. Since then, Askiisoft has released two more unforgiving platformers, Pause Ahead and OverPowered, both of which are free-to-play flash titles and available on the developer's website. 

For Askiisoft, the neon-tinged tumult of Katana Zero has been a long time coming. While it's hard to pin down exactly when the game began development, we do know that it was first shown at PAX Prime 2015.

In the past three-and-a-half years, the game has been shown off numerous times, gaining the attention of a growing number of fans as well as publishers like Devolver Digital, which on January 16 said it would be working with Askiisoft to bring the game to Steam and currently unnamed consoles in March. 

More information is available on Gamasutra and the Askiisoft website

Editor in Chief

Games Katana Zero Genres ActionPlatformer Platforms PC
Published Jan. 18th 2019

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