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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is notoriously difficult to finish normally, let alone in under an hour. (Picture: From Software)

Notoriously difficult Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice beaten in under 40 minutes

The 39 minute and 10 second run is a world record, a title the player also holds for Devil May Cry 5

Video gaming
This article originally appeared on ABACUS

For most gamers, just getting to the end of a game is enough. But speedrunners are a different sort of gamer. They race to finish a game as quickly as possible, using every trick and glitch to get to the end faster than anyone else.

Breaking a speedrun record on any game is difficult. Breaking that record on a game as notoriously hard as Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, possibly the world’s hottest game at the moment, is even more so.
While an average player takes somewhere between 30 hours and 70 hours to beat Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, it took LostFeather just 39 min and 10 seconds, crowning him the fastest player on Earth at the game.  
The Chinese gamer beat the game before you can finish an episode of Doctor Who, and it’s not his only world record. The player finished Devil May Cry 5, another 2019 hit, in 1 hour, 59 minutes and 3 seconds.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is notoriously difficult to finish normally, let alone in under an hour. (Picture: From Software)

When asked how many times had he tried before getting his latest world record, he said, “I have tried about 50 times before… From planning the traveling routes and exploring all sorts of speedrunning techniques, it took me about 5 days.”

When watching LostFeather’s speedrun, the most mind-blowing part is not how efficient he is as a player (which he is), but how he bent the game to his will by taking advantage of all its glitches.

His knowledge of the game allowed him to avoid unnecessary fights, teleport between two completely different game scenes and trigger boss fights much earlier than they're supposed to happen.

In addition to expertly dodging almost all the attacks by the game’s minions, LostFeather also avoided a major boss fight. In fact, he managed to banish The Blazing Bull, one of the game’s hardest bosses, simply by saving the game at a peculiar time.

LostFeather told me that he didn't invent it, but he had to master it. “This is a must-learn move for all speedrunners. This skip is really hard.”

He’s not kidding about that last part. He said it took him 15 hours to master this move alone.

There are two other notable glitches LostFeather used to jump ahead in the storyline. The first is what he called the “ Fall from Altar Skip.” Here, he exploited a spatial glitch in the game that allowed his character to fall through the bottom of one game scene into another one.
LostFeather made his character penetrate what seems to be the bottom of the game to magically land in another game scene. (Picture: LostFeather/YouTube)
The other glitch LostFeather exploits is what he calls the “ Great Serpent Skip.” This one allowed him to trick the game into triggering the Great Serpent, another major boss, by committing suicide. This exploit brings in the Great Serpent earlier than in the normal game sequence, allowing the player to skip some quests.
LostFeather has his character commit suicide before resurrecting him to trigger the Great Serpent. (Picture: LostFeather/YouTube)

This all sounds impressive, but how fast is LostFeather really? Records for the game on show LostFeather is two minutes faster than the second place Russian gamer Danflesh. LostFeather is already working on widening that gap.

“Judging from what we know so far in terms of routes, the ideal record right now, which is also my personal goal, is around 35 minutes,” he said.

This estimate is just based on what LostFeather knows about the game today. However, the Chinese speedrunner is already looking ahead at opportunities to finish the game even faster.

“With time, gamers are going to discover more about this game,” LostFeather said. “When new techniques that allow us to skip more of the game are discovered later on, I think the game will be beatable in 30 minutes.”

LostFeather’s achievement is also illustrative of how China’s single-player gaming market has been revived after the country’s 15-year ban on gaming consoles. Now as gaming becomes more mainstream, more and more Chinese gamers are doing speedrun challenges, which have been more common in the West.

Why the impact of China’s 15-year console ban still lingers today

“There are increasingly more speedrun gamers in China now,” LostFeather said. “But it’s still a smaller number than that overseas.”

“But there’s quite a number of people who are watching online,” he added. “It doesn’t matter if you know how to do speedruns yourself. People still know how to appreciate all the techniques that you use to break a game.”

For more insights into China tech, sign up for our tech newsletters, subscribe to our Inside China Tech podcast, and download the comprehensive 2019 China Internet Report. Also roam China Tech City, an award-winning interactive digital map at our sister site Abacus.