- William is the main character in Nioh. He is a pale, blond-haired protagonist whom you play as in feudal Japan.
- Please see Stats and Skills pages for character development.
- Though he is based off the Englishman William Adams, the protagonist William is Irish.
- He is the only character who speaks English through the entire story, but is able to translate Japanese.
William Character Directory Entry
William is an Irish-born English Sailor. While still a boy, he lost both parents in the Irish war with England, but also met his Guardian Spirit Saoirse; the two have been inseparable ever since. Overcoming these early tragedies, William grew to be a strong and capable young man and threw in his lot with an English navy privateer-a pirate ship in all but name. Saoirse's special ability to locate powerful Amrita spirit-stones allowed him to flourish as a pirate for a time, but when he stumbled upon a secret military project to weaponize Amrita, he was imprisoned in the Tower of London.
Just before William escaped the Tower of London, the alchemist Edward Kelley stole Saoirse from him. Determined to get Saoirse back, William followed Kelley doggedly across perilous seas all the way to Japan. But nothing he had heard about this fabled "country of gold" had prepared him for the realm of supernatural peril and death it proved to be.
On Kelley's trail with Hattori Hanzo, William was favored with an audience with Hanzo's lord, Tokugawa Ieyasu. Although Ieyasu's deep karmic debt forced him to sacrifice much that was dear to him, he remained grimly determined to build a world without war. A question from Ieyasu led William to begin rethinking the meaning of his own power.
William Adams History
The main character in Nioh is based on a real-life figure, a sailor called William Adams. He was the first Englishman to reach Japan, stranded to the island on 1598 while sailing a ship (de Liefde) for the Dutch East India Company. Unable to return to England, Adams settled in Japan, learned the language, and became the first ever "Western Samurai".
Due to his interesting background and foreigner knowledge, William became an advisor to the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, aiding in the construction of the first western fleet for Japan and assisting in the development of foreigner relationships with other Asian and European countries. Ieyasu named him "Anjin Miura" (the pilot of Miura, a peninsula in Japan) and he was referred to as such in real life (as well as the game).
According to an interview with director Fumihiko Yasuda, the decision to use William as the main character is as follows:
"The protagonist is based on a real-life historical figure named William Adams who was basically a pirate from England who arrived in Japan in the early 1600s and eventually trained as a Samurai, which is a very very rare occurrence throughout history. So we were just really fascinated by his story and thought he was a real badass, and that is why we wanted to use his story as our main character’s. Since the game is so based around his story, we decided not to have any custom character creation.
Although, one thing we would really like to consider for the future is more facial customization for online play. We do already have armor customization so that should bring some diversity between players online for the time being."
If you want to learn more about William Adams in real history, click here.
Hairstyle & Beard
William will have four different hairstyles in Nioh: Ponytail, Samurai Knot, Pirate Bun, Wakajishi. Three types of beard: Sailor Cut, Five O'clock Shadow, Jurojin, Youthful Look.
In order to unlock hair styles, press Triangle to talk to Tome at the blacksmith (while in the blacksmith menu). Select “I have a request for Tome” and then “Unlock Barber Menu”.