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Get to know Rise of the Ronin’s characters, factions

rise of the ronin factions

Team Ninja revealed the three major factions vying for power in the upcoming Rise of the Ronin, as well as the characters who will represent the groups.

The PS5-exclusive Rise of the Ronin is one of the new IPs coming to the PS5 in 2024. Set in the final years of the Edo period, known as “Bakumatsu,” the game explores a brutal time in Japanese history. Team Ninja president Fumihiko Yasuda claims that the game is the studio’s “most ambitious project” to date.

Team Ninja’s specialization in tough-but-fair games is well-established, thanks to the likes of Ninja Gaiden and Nioh. Much like Elden Ring, the studio is adding a new wrinkle to that legacy by diving into the open-world action-RPG genre.

Rise of the Ronin characters, factions revealed

The three major factions of Rise of the Ronin are the Sabaku, Tobaku, and Obei, with each one being led by characters based on real-life historical figures.

The Bakumatsu was an era of widespread conflict for Japan, and these three factions are at the heart of it all. The first faction, the Sabaku, supports the ruling Tokugawa shogunate and wants to solidify its hold over Japan. Naosuke Ii and influential geisha Taka Murayama are the go-to figures for the faction in Rise of the Ronin

The Tobuka are an anti-shogunate faction hellbent on restoring imperial rule over Japan. The rogueish Ryoma Sakamoto and methodical Kogoro Katsura are the major players of this faction. Lastly, the Obei are the Western forces looking to enter a trade partnership with Japan and support the country’s westernization. United States Commodore Matthew Perry and British diplomat Rutherford Alcock are the characters that players will run into during Rise of the Ronin.

While all of these named characters are real historical figures, they will likely be exaggerated for dramatic effect. This will likely be familiar for many, as this period has been thoroughly tapped for historical fiction. Characters from Rise of the Ronin have been adapted many times over, with the most notable example in recent years being Ryoma Sakamoto being represented by Kazuma Kiryu in Like a Dragon: Ishin.

ryoma sakamoto like a dragon vs rise of the ronin
Ryoma Sakamoto in Like a Dragon Ishin vs. Rise of the Ronin

Will Rise of the Ronin have multiple endings?

Rise of the Ronin is seemingly set to have multiple endings, but it’s unclear what this entails.

The official description states that the player’s choices will “shape the course of history.”  The Bakumatsu was a turning point in Japanese history and Team Ninja may or may not be leaning toward some alternate history for Rise of the Ronin. Each of the three factions has a unique agenda, and the player gets to decide which of them succeeds, though only one of them succeeds in reality.

As a ronin, the player does not start as loyal to any particular faction, giving them the freedom to shape their destiny. The assassination of key political figures will be a key element of the campaign’s branching paths, and given Team Ninja’s history, these assassinations will be brutal. Rise of the Ronin will be released on March 22, 2024, exclusively for the PlayStation 5. 

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Written by Gab Hernandez

Gab Hernandez has a particular love for video games that give players control over the narrative direction, such as Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Disco Elysium. Gab spends just as much time playing games as they do gushing about them online to anyone who will listen. Their work has also been seen on TheGamer, Gfinity, and Wargamer, and you can follow them on Twitter / X at @HardlyWorkinGab.

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