Dark, mysterious, rewarding, and highly unforgiving – that is the philosophy From Software lives by. The Japanese based company stands tall and proud for its work on a set of franchises that are absolutely unparalleled when it comes to a mix of challenge, quality, and immersion.
Yes, this is the creator of Demon Souls, the creator of Dark Souls 1 & 2, and most recently the creator of Bloodborne. There’s a repeating pattern in all these games; brutal difficulty that teaches the true meaning of the moral ‘try try again’, with mechanics that have heavy emphasis on rewards.
The margin for error is kept minimum, be it fighting against an ordinary foe or a towering boss. At times these games look seemingly impossible, but after two dozen re-attempts, the impossible turns out to be highly possible.
This brilliant idea to engulf players in a cycle of virtual life & death coupled with unique story-telling methods is what has defined the work from From Software.
All this is the brainchild of the genius that is Hidetaka Miyazaki, who has not only managed to impress just about every dedicated gamer, but has also attracted Sony Worldwide Studios President Shuhei Yoshida into the loop.
Such is the pull of the Souls series, and such has been inspiration of Bloodborne. Many thought the Dark Souls series ended with Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin, but just last week rumors of a new Dark Souls game along with screenshots appeared.
Dark Souls 3 seems to be in the works, and there is a general expectancy of its official presentation during the E3 conference.
The true question is not whether it will live up to the greatness of its predecessors, but whether Dark Souls 3 will succeed in conveying the iterative (yet brilliant) lore and unforgiving combat at the same level as the previous Souls games and Bloodborne.
From Software is currently at an all-time high, and deservedly so, but does that warrant yet another Souls game?
As an avid fan of the Souls series and an admirer of the deep, dark lore of Dark Souls, the immediate answer that comes to mind and mouth is yes. However, there’s an intrinsic fear within each fan of mighty franchises – one that resonates most when the all-time high is achieved.
“What could better Dark Souls 1 & 2?”
Is From Soft creating Dark Souls 3 merely because of the success of the series, or do they have something specific in mind? That is the question most would find themselves pondering over.
Dark Souls 2 reached a convincing conclusion towards the end of Scholar of the First Sin, and one would find that its heavy emphasis on an inevitable cyclic fate would mean that irrespective of what happens, the repetition of what has happened and what happened before will continue to happen.
Dark Souls 3 cannot take the generalization path of modern games, of creating sequels just based on the popularity and reputation of its predecessors.
Many franchises have died in this futile attempt, while others have become standards for mockery. An elegant, highly esteemed series like the Souls should not succumb to such an unfortunate fate.
Then again, a deep trust in Miyazaki’s work is what brings me calmness in such regards. The man has never failed in his ideas, and has always succeeded in being within the same spectrum of all the target audiences.
However, the never-quenched thirst for more can be a dangerous requisition, as it often leads the sanest to greed.
Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty, and various other franchises have fallen victim to the grave error of creating for the sake of creating and continuity, and the true question for Miyazaki and From Software is are they doing the same, or is there a truer purpose to a new Souls game than just advantaging from the title’s reputation?
My opinion of games is similar to what I hold for books – defined sagas of multiple volumes in a series that should be predetermined, written off, and then left on the high-rostrum where they are forever remembered as eternal jewels.
The most successful series in books have followed this trend (Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, A Song of Ice and Fire), and I feel games should follow the same. After all, Miyazaki has shown he has the imagination and ability to come up with new wonders (Bloodborne).
I will certainly be playing the next Souls game. I will certainly wait for it with eagerness, and thoughts of it will certainly invade my dreams.
However, till the day I have completed it to pass full judgment, I will always be wary, wondering if From Software’s walk is true, or whether it is simply following the footsteps of the rest of the consumer lords in the gaming industry.