Dark Souls II Announcement, Trailer, Speculation & More

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

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Dark Souls II

At last Friday’s VGAs, an unexpected world premier trailer was shown for Dark Souls II. And let’s just say the inner Souls fan in me went nuts. Announcements like this make even award shows like the VGAs worthwhile. Then the Souls community already lined up with speculation for every scene and little detail the trailer has to offer.

Dark Souls II

Now to start off, the trailer’s music is one of my beefs as it poorly represents the events that are happening in not only the trailer itself, but it also just doesn’t have the same fitting emotional attachment that would normally be associated to the series (One exmaple is the song ‘Nameless Song’ on the Dark Souls soundtrack which was a perfect meloncholy track that fit with the underlying tone of the story and plot). While I don’t hate it, it just felt generic and I can only hope that From Software has better tracks up their sleeves. Of course, this is just a trailer so it’s not a big deal.

Another thing that made me question the trailer was the way it was presented — instead of opting for a CGI representation of the game’s combat or showcasing the game’s setting and lore with a history lesson, they direct the focus  towards the characters; especially the main guy walking around and fighting. Very, very character driven with close up shots of eyes and faces for every character that appears. This is only an observation of what we’ve seen, so I’m not saying it’s a bad thing per say, just different for a Souls title is all.

With that out of the way, I too have many things to question from just this trailer: With the look of the pendant above, does this mean the setting will be more of an ice world (there’s one motif that shows a winter area) or maybe in the snow globe? Does it even mean anything — remember the last tease Miyazaki pulled with Dark Souls pendent gift (Oh Miyazakai you troll)? Is the first picture possibly illustrating Lordran, or the City of Gods Anor Londo? Is the dragon depicted in the trailer the Black Dragon Kalameet from the Artorias of the Abyss DLC? Does the picture with the worn out bridge have a possible connection with the Painted World which starts you on a bridge that looks eerily similar to the one pictured? Fans have even speculated that we see Dark Wraiths in the trailer. Can the area with brimstone and lava be the First Kiln of Fire? Can that woman shown be the goddess Velka due to the ravens? Will it be a true sequel or prequel or a new game entirely? This is where the fun begins!

Of course, all this speculation can be picked apart with closer examination of the trailer. While soon after all the buzz surrounding the trailer, Namco Bandai released a press release on what platforms it will be available on, the reveal of the official website and so much more:

Hopelessness, Despair, and Impending Doom Arrives With Dark Souls II

SAN JOSE, Calif. – December 7, 2012 – Leading video game publisher and developer NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. today proudly announces that the critically acclaimed Dark Souls™ saga marches forward with Dark Souls™ II, currently in development at FromSoftware in Tokyo, Japan. Dark Souls II will continue a legacy of goading its passionate fan base with unrelenting challenge and suffering that are considered a hallmark of the series; while presenting new devilishly devised obstacles for players to overcome. Dark Souls II will be available for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, and PCs.

Built upon the foundation established by Souls series creator and Dark Souls II Supervisor, Hidetaka Miyazaki with development helmed by FromSoftware Director Tomohiro Shibuya, Dark Souls II will feature a new hero, a new storyline, and an unfamiliar world for players to survive in while delivering its signature brand of unrelenting punishment that players hunger for. Epic battles with gruesome enemies and blood-thirsty bosses await adventurers as they traverse through a devastated world filled with death and despair; only those who are strong willed or cunning can survive this journey to achieve great glory. Players seeking to share their experience will discover a revamped server-based multiplayer mode that will put a distinct Dark Souls II twist on the concept of playing with others.

“Dark Souls II retains the core essence of Dark Souls while evolving to present new twists and challenges that are sure to please longtime fans and attract new comers to the series,” says Carlson Choi, Vice President of Marketing at NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. “FromSoftware is going to take a very dark path with Dark Souls II; players will need to look deep within themselves to see if they have the intestinal fortitude to embark on this journey.”

“This new chapter in the Dark Souls saga presents opportunities for us to drive innovation in gameplay design, develop an entirely new story, and expand the scope of the world in which the player interacts with the game. We have taken these necessary steps with Dark Souls II in order to evolve the overall experience of the Dark Souls series,” says Tomohiro Shibuya, FromSoftware Director on Dark Souls II. “The entire development team is striving to make Dark Souls II an experience that is fresh while not forsaking its roots in presenting players with challenging gameplay. Our goal is to surprise and delight our fans with new experiences and plot twists while enticing new players to join our dark journey.”

More details surrounding Dark Souls II will become available in the months leading to its release. Begin your Dark Souls II journey at www.DarkSoulsII.com or join the Dark Souls II conversation on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/DARKSOULS or follow us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/Filthierich

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The press release just furthers the speculation and makes the fanbase question what was already discussed in such a short timespan. The announcement that the game would support dedicated severs can be a good thing or bad thing, as neither Souls game had a perfect solution for net-coding when it came to the online CO-OP and PVP. We can only hope for the best I’m afraid. The fact that it will only be on current generation consoles plus PC has some people question From Software’s mindset. Personally though, I’m not surprised nor is it a deal breaker to me as I truly believe that the current generation consoles can still muster up some great experiences.

One thing that seems to have confused a few out there, while this may still be considered speculation on my part, when the press release said “unfamiliar world” I think they meant new environments for Lordran, which was the main setting to the first Dark Souls and not a completely different world in a literal sense. So whether it is a sequel or prequel, given what we’ve seen, it will most likely still take place in Lordran, or at least be a journey towards Lordran. The wording before that has others questioning even more, “new hero,” speculating that From may indeed be drifting away from the “Role Playing” aspect which was a very important component to both Souls game. To be honest, I don’t think it means much; I interpret this as that they were simply stating that it won’t be the same character from Dark Souls nor will the character have any part in this or, at least, not be playable.

The  most striking part of the announcement is the fact that Miyazaki will not be directing this time, but instead supervising it. Instead, Tomohiro Shibuya will be occupying the director’s chair. I won’t lie, this has me being a bit pessimistic and the way he describes the game further heightens this (I must stress this though, the Skyrim comment was made by Edge, NOT From Software to which I strongly, but also politely, disagree with the interviewer; no – I don’t agree and do not want the game’s narrative or the game in general to be more like the Elders Scrolls series or changed in such a way if that’s what you were implying). To his credit, Shibuya did work on the Monster Hunter franchise that I truly adore with all my heart as well and is a challenging series in its own right.

However, challenge is not the only component that made both Demon’s Souls & Dark Souls so beloved by its fans, including myself. It was the subtle and non-direct way of telling its stories, lore, and character backgrounds that would normally be expressed nowadays by dialogue trees or simple linear narrative. Instead the games had small dialogue exchanges, imagery, symbolic nature of set pieces, and item descriptions that show us bits and pieces throughout the game and has the player put them together like a puzzle; rather then having the information told to us outright. This aspect truly set the two games apart and revered among its peers. With him wanting a more direct approach, since that’s more to his style, will the series be getting a drastic change in the way the story is told? It’s possible if we truly go by the way the trailer is presented, but again it was just the first trailer.

Namco Bandai assures everyone that the challenge and appeal of the series will be respected and not be forsaken which is all fine and good. So I say I don’t blame those who are worried, but I also say that any fan shouldn’t be jumping the gun and say the game is doomed already; think positively. Which to the fanbase’s credit, even when pessimistic, when all is said and done have easily warmed up to the new game, which honestly makes me happy. Besides, Miyazaki is still an integral part of the team as Hideki Kamiya is still a major part of the Bayonetta 2 team as supervisor himself. I’m positive that the game is in good hands and they will deliver more Souls goodness in the near future. Hopefully an October release of next year? Crossing my fingers!

Oh — and let the speculation continue!

About David Fernandes

(Community Manager) David is an assistant admin and community manager at oprainfall. He joined the Operation Rainfall Campaign at the beginning, and became one of the staff as the first wave of new volunteers were needed back in mid June. He is an avid video game collector, and lover of most game genres. David spends much of his time in a futile effort in clearing out his ever growing video game backlog.