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Now it's been a couple of days since the announcement trailer, at the VGA of all places:
There has been hype, there has been hate. Since this is the internet the full spectrum of possible human emotions was as usual concentrated into extremes. The trailer looks different than your usual Souls-trailer. It seems much more character-focused than in previous games of the series. I'm also missing a certain DUM-DUM when it comes to the music. The shift in focus doesn't come as a surprise, given that there is a new director: Tomohiro Shibuya. Will the next DaS2 be more Monster Hunter? Hidetaka Miyazaki is still there in a 'supervisor' role, but I remember an interview where he sounded doubtful about his involvement with the next title in the series and what direction it will take.
Apart from wild speculation, there is not much known up until now. The trailer shows some dragons and dragon skeletons. The dragon with his third eye looks a lot like Kalameet from the DLC. I also noticed the absence of shields. Sword & shield has been a staple of Souls games but the main dude in the trailer seems to prefer two one handed weapons. Will 'dual wielding' become more prevalent? Will it be a direct sequel of Dark Souls? Then it might pick up after the 'dark lord' ending, judging by the narration in the trailer of undead having no fire or hope. Will the new game get away from Bonfires again? Will we have archstones again another hub like the Nexus in DeS? Is the woman in the trailer Velka? Or is she perhaps what will later become the maiden in black? Questions over questions...
__________________ Currently playing: Dark Souls 3
Interesting video - I like the citadel on the mountain top; I hope the game is set there. I like the rope bridge, it reminds me of the Painted World.
The guys with the enamel/porcelain masks - there were guys like these in the Malazan books, and they were badass motherfuckers. However, the hero is fighting them while stuck with arrows - maybe they are a mob like the poison dart guys in Blighttown.
What's with the girl and the feather? Maybe she's telling you to go fight a big Owl-y bastard.
Interesting that the director doesn't seem to have done much since 2007. The game is bound to suffer from the removal of Hidetaka. However, I am still amazed that they were able to follow up Demons with such a strong game - what are the chances they can do it three times in a row? I think we are blessed to get two games, so I'm happy that they just give it their best shot.
I truly believe they will go completely mainstream with this sequel. Say farewell to the pitch-black horror of Demon's/Dark Souls. They are aiming for Dragon Age/Skyrim status here. Namco basically fired Miyazaki. Hopefully he is working on a sequel to King's Field. Dark Souls 2 will be Dragon Age 2. Mark my words.
I try to be positive about it, but with each piece of information it's getting more difficult. With Miyazaki gone the Souls games will not be the same anymore, that's for sure. I'm not sure if it's a mistranslation, but the dude in the trailer is referred to as "main hero" and the mo-cap actress playing the woman in the trailer claimed she's playing the "hero's love interest". If that's true, this would mean goodbye to creating your own character and choosing your own path towards the ancient land of the lords.
Another worrying thing is that player options should be "more limited" "at the beginning", which could just mean a better tutorial, but also mean a more linear (scripted?) experience (i.e. corridor-level-design). The world should be as large as in Dark Souls but "more dense". I never thought of Dark Souls being too empty, there is something trying to kill you at every step of the way. I always found it one of the great things about the Souls-games that they don't limit which direction the player wants to go. Would be sad to see this freedom gone.
Apparently they hired a lot of extra staff to work on Dark Souls 2 and their intent is clear: increasing the market share by making things simpler and easier to understand. I'm no enemy to simplification, but as mentioned by ckzatwork already, Dragon Age 2 has shown how the attempt to appeal to a larger audience by simplification can alienate the core fanbase that made the series a hit to begin with. Would hate to see that happen with the Souls-games. I'm just amazed by how little studios learn from the mistakes of each other.
Wtf is the little horse and cart thing? I guess it'd have to be a fairly wide open area for her to do you any damage. Anyway, if someone had shown me artwork of that monster from Demon's with the bird on its head, I wouldn't have come within a mile of that game.
Very worrying news though, putting two guys as director probably does signify the end of a strong coherent vision:
Guy 1: "I see a pit, and in the pit there's this fat hairy guy. And wait, he's got a BIRD on his head!"
Guy 2: "Eeehhhhh...."
Denser areas? I have no clue how they will achieve that. So help me god, if they turn it into Dragon Age, I will fly to Japan and commit seppuku in From Software's lobby. *
* I won't.
Czkatwork! I thought you had given up games or something! I hope all is well with you? What are your games of the year?
I don't know about the chariots, according to the interview there will be chariots or horses (or mounts in general), but it's not specified if it's for the player as well (we're only 10 years behind on the latest trend of vehicle-sections...) or just for enemies. I could see myself fighting against such a chariot in an arena, or colloseum.
I AM SPARTACUS!
The game won't be in Lordran, but in the same world. Maybe we see the demon's spread to Carim and meet more friendly people like Lautrec or Oswalds entourage?
__________________ Currently playing: Dark Souls 3
Dark Souls stands apart from everything else and it's brilliant for it. So when new game director Tomohiro Shibuya said he'd like Dark Souls 2 to be "more straightforward and more understandable" well he sure gave us the willies.
Demon's Souls/Dark Souls director Hidetaka Miyazaki has eased a few of those fears in an interview with Japanese magazine Famitsu (translated by Polygon). He said there was a core experience that needed protecting.
"I'm talking about how we think about the difficulty level and how you achieve things in-game, about the concepts behind the mechanics and level design," he said.
"Outside of that core, though, it's better to leave things to the discretion of the director. There's a lot around that core that we need to fix or adjust besides, and individual touches always tend to come out in the world setting and artwork, so I'm not meddling in that very much."
Solitude and desperation are key components of that core, Miyazaki mentioned, and he feels both were expressed in the really-quite-something Dark Souls 2 CGI trailer (below).
One key area of evolution for Dark Souls 2 will be multiplayer. Like Demon's Souls, Dark Souls 2 will have dedicated multiplayer servers - these were dropped for Dark Souls which had a peer-to-peer approach. Their resurrection means Dark Souls 2 can do more.
"Setting up a dedicated server lets you retain your data, making it easier to share it with other players. We'd like to evolve the asynchronous message-oriented online support from the previous game; we're imagining a framework where players are able to directly interact with each other," Shibuya said.
Miyazaki added: "Having dedicated game servers will be the source of a lot of new potential in DS2. There was a lot with the original Dark Souls I wish I could have done if we had the ability to have those servers, so in that way I'm pretty jealous of the new director here.
"The concept behind online play in Demon's Souls and Dark Souls was pretty plain to gamers, so I'm hoping we can evolve on that concept here without removing ourselves too far from it."
I picked up the print copy of Edge this morning and there is little to no information in it apart from some prerendered scenes from the game and the developers stonewalling like mad. They do say that development started in Sep 11, 2 months before Dark was released, and that it's currently at 25% completion, which means that a 2013 release is unlikely. They would not be drawn on whether it was for this, or the next generation of consoles.
Most of my fears were put to rest with the 12 minutes gameplay video on IGN earlier this year:
... and the subsequent interview:
Dark Souls had a couple of new elements compared to Demon's Souls and I hope that Dark Souls 2 will bring in some new elements as well. I like the part in the demo where he needs to light a torch to see in the dungeon. It seems there is a difference between day and night. That reminded me on Dragon's Dogma, where the first nights outside are terrifying, which would suit Dark Souls nicely. There is already plenty of speculation if the character depicted in the trailers is the forsaken son of Gwyn. It would fit the voiceover, which sounds like an angry old man denouncing his firstborn: http://youtu.be/hdtBiHz2syo?t=28s
Perhaps DaS2 is themed around him the same way the Artorias of the Abyss is centered around the knight of the same name, even though the final challenge is someone else entirely.
Since we're at trailers, despair:
__________________ Currently playing: Dark Souls 3
Yeah, they certainly talk a good game. I am nervous though, given that they finally have an AAA marketing budget, and the vision is being supplied by two game directors (are they Capcom guys? Please god let them not be Capcom guys!).
So firstly, we've seen what happens when games are made more 'accessible' - cf Dead Space, Hitman etc - in order to justify those massive budgets.
As an aside, and this is just a fun what-if?, what would you think if they introduced difficulty settings? I'd be ok with it, I think, but the big drawback there is you are no longer playing the same game as everyone else.
Secondly, having two directors could mean the game is designed by committee. Pure speculation of course, but I think it is a danger.
To be fair, I've just watched that gameplay video again and it does look very good.
The magical stone thing is interesting - I wonder if it'll add a minor new strategic layer to the game (in that you can choose where to use these things, which pieces of content you unlock at what time etc).