In brief: Hotly anticipated title Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, a.k.a. Dark Souls with ninjas, has achieved a monstrously successful launch on Friday. Publicly available Steam stats show the game with 108,000 concurrent players - more than any other Steam release in 2019 so far.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has only been out for a day and it's already off to a great start. The critical response and players' reactions seem to be universally positive, and that's translated nicely into sales for FromSoftware's latest title.
In its first 24 hours, Sekiro had 108,000 concurrent players on Steam. While that's not the same astronomical numbers as other recent titles like Apex: Legends, it's enough to make Sekiro the top Steam release so far for 2019.
At the time of writing, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is atop Steam's Top Selling list, having dethroned Far Cry New Dawn, and has a 'Very Positive' rating from the community.
Sekiro is made by FromSoftware, the company behind infamous death-fest games Dark Souls and Bloodborne. The game is less grim and fantastical than its older brothers, opting for a gorgeous Japanese aesthetic. Set in Shengoku era Japan, players take on the role of an unnamed shinobi warrior to "unleash an arsenal of deadly prosthetic tools and powerful ninja abilities."
The plot is one-step removed from the clichéd 'save the princess' trope, as players are charged with regaining their honor by rescuing a young lord. But this is first and foremost a game for players looking for a challenge, not an original story.
There is one mitigating factor in this success story. With the number of major releases being published on platforms other than Steam this year - like The Division 2, Anthem, and Metro: Exodus - competition has been less fierce for that top spot. But FromSoftware can definitely be content with the initial sales of Sekiro, especially as it's a new IP with no brand recognition to draw players in.