We've already talked about how Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is going to be different from the Souls series (it has a pause button!), but Game Informer managed to dig deeper with communications manager Yasuhiro Kitao.
Apparently Sekiro's hub zone (Dilapidated Temple) is massive, and can be teleported to from any idol (bonfire) after you unlock it. It also sports a number of NPCs including a Maiden in Black/Emerald Herald/Doll character that levels you up called The Sculptor. Someone named The Immortal Soldier will help you with training, and you can unlock more NPCs by finding them in the game world just like the Souls series.
Kitao clarifies that the hub won't be a Firelink Shrine of sorts, but rather a more tempered location that leads to areas with more forks. The fascinating thing is that director Hidetaka Miyazaki repeats that Sekiro will be "on the higher end of the spectrum in terms of the freedom the player has to explore the world if we’re to compare it to our previous games," especially from the "mid-game onward."
Seeing is believing. It's great that we have all of this info but at this point I just want to go in and tear this game apart from start to finish.
Here's What You Can Do In Sekiro's Hub Area [Game Informer]