Sekiro: Shadow Die Twice released just a few weeks ago to strong critical acclaim, becoming one of 2019’s highest reviewed games. A lot of the praise came from its competent overall design, but it appears that director Hidetaka Miyazaki had more trouble finalising some of the more specific details than the final product would suggest.
Miyazaki revealed during the opening Keynote at European developers conference Reboot Develop (which he attended with Shadow of the Colossus director Fumito Ueda) that the order of Sekiro’s bosses changed a lot during development, even up until the final months before the games release.
Miyazaki clarified his reasoning through translator Ben Judd, stating “When creating the story and the natural flow of the level design and the stage design, because it’s all about balancing, you’ll release a boss is in a certain position that he shouldn’t be in. Then you have to switch that boss and all of a sudden the things he was saying totally do not fit in the world, so you have to make more changes”.
Some of these changes can be seen when comparing the gamescom 2018 gameplay demo to the final release. In the final release of the game, the Chained Ogre is encountered before the Samurai General, as oppose to the gamescom demo where the orders of the mini-bosses are switched.
Ueda stated that he ran into similar issues when developing Shadow of the Colossus. Given the boss rush nature of that game, it’s unsurprising that the order in which players faced bosses changed throughout the course of development.