Will on the Blade: An upcoming martial arts-based ARPG

Become one with martial arts, wield your weapon, and survive in this vast, complex, and ambitious sword-fighting open-world action role-playing video game crafted by a solo developer.

JUMUN - Will on the Blade

Creating a video game as a solo developer is an extremely challenging task, fill with obstacles, difficulties, and important goals that make the journey far from being a walk in the park. We’ve addressed this topic in depth in an extensive article, dedicated to the many solo developers who tirelessly work to achieve their dreams and see their ambitious project finally released.

We can only imagine the joy, satisfaction, and excitement of seeing hundreds of gamers appreciate the video game you have developed single-handedly, without the support of anyone but yourself.

It is from these premises that we wish to introduce you to JUMUN – Will on the Blade, a visually stunning martial arts-based action role-playing video game with Souls-like mechanics, developed by an anonymous solo developer.

It’s a challenge far from simple, as you might expect, requiring dedication, care, and an unwavering attention to detail from the developer, especially considering the competition posed by industry giants in the world of video games, particularly other open-world Action RPGs. A prime example of this is Elden Ring (you can find our review here), the latest masterpiece from FromSoftware, which epitomizes the perfect fusion of open-world game design and the mechanics and level design typical of Souls games.

However, if there’s one thing that’s not lacking in the vocabulary of the mysterious developer of JUMUN, it’s the word “ambition” — the ambition that is evident in their project: a video game rich in style and with excellent prospects that could truly make its mark and earn its place in this multifaceted landscape.

So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at JUMUN – Will on the Blade.

Some basic information to get started

Unveiled on X for the first time over a year ago, specifically on January 14, 2023, the project quickly caught the attention of a wide audience on the platform, gathering a considerable and numerous community in just over a year since the account’s creation.

As far as we know, the project is still in its early stages of development and will be developed using the powerful technology of Unreal Engine 5. However, very little is known—practically nothing—about its creator, an unknown solo developer who has not disclosed any personal information, nor publicly revealed a fictitious name. We know him and refer to him simply as the creator of JUMUN – Will on the Blade.

The primary information channels through which the developer is spreading the word about JUMUN are, as mentioned, the game’s official X account. Here, you can find the developer’s devlog, featuring clips and demos showcasing the game’s biomes, gameplay mechanics such as teleportation and martial arts, the combat system, and a glimpse of the expansive open world promised by the game. Additionally, there is a YouTube channel, which, aside from a brief clip, has remained relatively inactive to date.

Now that you have all the basic information, let’s delve a little deeper into the heart of the project and explore it in more detail!

What is JUMUN – Will on the Blade?

As you may have already gathered from the introduction, JUMUN is a classic open-world action RPG where martial arts and melee combat play a crucial role. In fact, we could say they are the dual soul that best characterizes the project. Even before the setting and lore, it’s the gameplay mechanics and combat that serve as the core of JUMUN.

If we were to use more specific terminology, with the developer’s permission, we could simply describe it as a martial arts-based action RPG set in a vast and diverse fantasy open world, given the fundamental importance of martial arts within the game.

JUMUN - Will on the Blade

From the footage provided by the developer, we also notice that the developer has placed great emphasis on the stealth component, with the implementation of various dedicated stealth mechanics. In terms of combat, there is a substantial influence from the Souls genre (but not limited to) and FromSoftware’s productions, notably Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.

Before delving into this, however, let’s try to frame the geographical area, starting from one of the aspects the developer is focusing on: the setting and biomes of its vast open-world.

Where will JUMUN be set?

Although the developer hasn’t disclosed specific details about the geographical area and historical period in which the game will take place, we can attempt to deduce it by following some subtle clues. It’s important to emphasize that these are merely our conjectures.

The brief clips shared on JUMUN’s X account lead us to believe that, most likely, the game will be set in Japan, during a historical period still shrouded in mystery. However, certain elements of the setting, such as architecture, and especially the clothing and weaponry of the in-game characters and protagonist, suggest that the game could take place during Japan’s feudal period, possibly amidst the turbulent political crisis of the Sengoku period (Sengoku jidai) between 1467 and 1615, or during the Edo period, spanning from 1603 to 1868.

JUMUN - Will on the Blade

Our theory could gain further credibility from a subtle detail: the headgear worn by both the enemies and the protagonist, which appears to be a kind of reinterpretation of the kasa (笠). There are various types, ranging from ceremonial kasa (Torioigasa), commonly worn during events like the Awa Dance Festival, to wickerwork kasa traditionally worn in some Japanese folk dances (Amigasa), and even the flat-topped Amigasa often worn by Rōnin (Roningasa), and last but not least, the Jingasa.

This latter headgear, possibly serving as a reference for the developer, was commonly worn among Samurai and Ashigaru and could be crafted from a variety of materials, including iron, copper, wood, paper, bamboo, or leather, which seems to be the closest to the headgear seen in the clips.

On the other hand, there is another aspect to consider. It is highly probable, if not almost certain, that JUMUN – Will on the Blade will not be set in a real historical age, but rather in an alternative timeline, reimagined by the developer in a unique and unconventional version of Japan. To draw a comparison, think of what FromSoftware did with Sekiro, but with less emphasis on folklore and a much darker fantasy tone. There are several clues that can support this theory; for example, the growth of diseased brambles contaminating the surrounding environment, likely indicating a sign of a spreading illness. Additionally, the protagonist’s paranormal abilities, and perhaps most notably, the monstrous enemies showcased in the clips.

The Japan the developer is striving to depict is far from the one we know today. It’s a land that, while still retaining the beauty and charm of its flora and robust ecosystem, has fallen victim to the encroachment of something far more menacing and dreadful. This force hasn’t just overrun nature; it has also subjugated the living beings that inhabit these lands, transforming what was once a paradise into a veritable hell on earth. Here, humans find themselves as mere witnesses to the world’s corruption, locked in a struggle against each other and vulnerable to the lurking dangers of the external world, which has now become the ideal hunting ground for the most voracious predators, eager to satisfy their insatiable hunger.

As for the game world, players can expect to find various biomes, each with its own set of unique enemies, boss encounters, and environmental features that will significantly influence our approach to exploration and the combat system. In the videos on X, we can catch a glimpse of JUMUN’s game world, with a sneak peek at some of the biomes that will make up the game, including lush forests, a snow-covered area, a desert region, and a vast aquatic zone.

JUMUN is set to feature a vast and immersive open-world system, open-world system, as revealed by the developer, encompassing considerable size and a diverse array of areas. Our hope is that the developer will adeptly balance the experience to encourage players to interact with the game world in various ways, motivating them to explore even the most remote corners of the setting without the experience becoming too dull or tiresome. This is somewhat the mission of of contemporary open-world games—to create a balanced gaming world that offers players the right amount of freedom, albeit with careful consideration and compromises.

However, a question arises: How will players navigate the game world quickly, considering the apparent absence of horses or other land mounts?

Well, as you may have guessed, JUMUN – Will on the Blade will not feature a traditional open-world system, and exploration of the game world will be quite different from other open-world video games you’ve played before. Why would you need a means of transportation, a horse or any other land steed, when you have the mystical abilities of the protagonist at your disposal? These abilities will allow you to soar above the tallest trees and traverse miles at lightning speed, along with a spectacular acrobatic ground sprint that lets you cover vast portions of the game world in seconds, not to mention your instantaneous transportation ability. In short, everything you need is inherent in the body and mind of the protagonist.

And what about aquatic areas? If you tire of your abilities or need to cross the sea, you can always rely on perhaps an unconventional but incredibly useful and equally faithful mount: a massive aquatic snake.

JUMUN - Will on the Blade
Apparently, this aquatic snake will be your friend

It’s not just about martial arts

As we reach this point in the article, you might be wondering, what are the main features of JUMUN’s gameplay? And how does the combat system work?

At this stage, providing a clear answer to this question is challenging, as the developer has yet to reveal the defining elements that will shape the style of its open-world. However, it’s a different story when it comes to the combat system, a specific aspect that the developer has carefully showcased multiple times on the game’s social channels, from which we can glean some intriguing details to try to understand its structure.

Combat in JUMUN will adhere to the rules of classic melee combat—fast-paced, bloody, and mastery of which will depend heavily on how quickly the player learns its mechanics. Additionally, the game will feature some mechanics that we believe will make happy Sekiro fans, including the use of the grappling hook in combat (as well as exploration and stealth phases) and parrying, which will be one of the fundamental mechanics underlying the player’s success or failure in combat encounters.

Melee combat

Players will have the choice to act in the shadows, relying on stealth phases that reduce the number of enemies or simply allow them to navigate complex situations without drawing attention, or to follow the path of honor by confronting enemies openly, sword in hand.

Now, let’s turn to martial arts, the techniques upon which the combat system of JUMUN – Will on the Blade is based. If combat previously appeared to be a blend of Sekiro and Ghost of Tsushima, the developer’s decision to prioritize martial arts as the primary element of combat is an intriguing addition that gives the game a completely different feel.

Designing a combat system focused on martial arts is no small feat, especially considering the potential competition the game might encounter. Putting aside sports-themed video games like EA Sports UFC, which fall outside the scope of our discussion, when we think of exceptional examples of martial arts implementation in the gaming industry, series such as Yakuza, Tekken, or indie titles like Sifu immediately come to mind. These are all examples of video games where martial arts take center stage and have been excellently integrated into the overall experience.

What’s particularly interesting, however, is the clever use the developer of JUMUN is making of martial arts in the title. Building a video game around martial arts doesn’t necessarily mean that players will exclusively approach combat from this angle. Undoubtedly, in JUMUN – Will on the Blade, martial arts will play a pivotal role in combat, enabling players to string together combos and unleash devastating attacks to bring enemies to their knees. But if you think martial arts are the only arrow in your quiver, you’d be mistaken. For example, instant teleportation will prove to be an immensely useful tactic for swiftly moving from one place to another, confusing your enemies, and striking their weak points.

Furthermore, the protagonist can draw upon their abilities and arts for various unique purposes that extend beyond mere martial applications. As previously mentioned, we can use our abilities to traverse long distances quickly, such as with the ability to fly and perform acrobatic sprints, without necessarily resorting to fast travel. And if you ever find yourself facing a boss unprepared, overwhelmed by fear and uncertainty, use instant teleportation to slip away unnoticed. Alternatively, if you’re feeling particularly daring, employ invisibility to approach them covertly, without raising suspicion, and confront them in a manner that best suits your style. Just be sure not to get killed in the attempt.

As you can see, it’s not always just about martial arts!

The great challenge of JUMUN – Will on the Blade

As we’ve reached this point, it’s time to take stock, conduct a brief recap, and anticipate what lies ahead for JUMUN in the future.

The concept behind the game is undoubtedly intriguing and highly ambitious, particularly impressive considering that such a monumental project is the brainchild of just one individual.

The main essential step the developer must take, in our view, is to find a way to differentiate their open-world from the standards we’re accustomed to today. Naturally, we are well aware that this won’t be an easy task, but it will be crucial for the project to offer a different experience to carve out a space among the many open-world video games in the gaming world, and the many ambitious titles that are on the horizon in the coming years.

What does it mean to distinguish oneself among the various open-world games available today? It entails crafting an excellent main quest and intriguing side quests that entice players to explore them thoroughly, meticulously attending to the various types of interactions that players can have with the game world, and, perhaps most importantly, breathing life into a world that is intelligently filled, alive, and brimming with points of interest that doesn’t appear empty, lifeless, or, worse yet, devoid of content.

That said, from what we’ve seen so far, the project holds great promise and could indeed have all the right ingredients to become a surprising and engaging open-world experience, especially for fans of Action RPGs.

JUMUN – Will on the Blade currently does not have a release date or window, and there is no official Steam page for the game. According to the developer, the game will be available on both PC and consoles, or at least that’s the plan.

Awaiting further details, if you’re interested in the game, we recommend checking out the developer’s devlog on X, and of course, continue to follow us to stay updated on the project and receive all the latest news.

That’s all for today. Thank you for being with us.

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Grown up with MediEvil and DOOM and fascinated by the video game world since 1998. This passion stems from a desire to discover and research the videogame at 360 degrees, with particular attention to the Indie scene.