From the original Demon’s Souls to the succeeding Dark Souls trilogy, the Souls franchise by FromSoftware has essentially paved the way to a new genre.
The games have been praised for their deep lore, haunting vistas, some of the most amazing (and horrific) battles, and most importantly, for their high levels of difficulty. The Souls moniker is always attributed to brutal gameplay where players must often perish to make any progress. Such a description would be considered criticism except that the Souls franchise has a cult following in the millions.
Inspiring other games to be borderline Souls as well such as the recent Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and the upcoming Elden Ring; the following is how the actual Souls games have registered in sales over the years.
The game that went on to birth an acclaimed franchise was actually never expected to do much. Demon’s Souls was released in Japan exclusively for PlayStation 3 in February 2009 to rather slow sales and negative receptions due to the high difficulty ceiling. Sony decided against releasing the game in the west for fear that Demon’s Souls would only perform worse over there.
Atlus took up publishing for the United States and brought Demon’s Souls to the west nearly five months later in October 2009. The game performed far above expectations, selling well over three times its projected sales.
By 2011, Demon’s Souls had sold over 1 million copies worldwide. The strong sales convinced Sony to add the game to its Sony Greatest Hits collection in September 2010, nearly a year after Sony was fearing for the worst.
Unlike Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls received a cross-platform release. The first in a trilogy was released in Japan in September 2011 and in the west a week later for both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 before the arrival of the PC port a year later.
By April 2013, Dark Souls had sold over 2.3 million copies worldwide across all platforms and which included sales of the Artorias of the Abyss edition.
By June 2015, Dark Souls and Dark Souls: Prepare to Die (bundling Artorias of the Abyss) were confirmed to have sold over 2.8 and 2.7 million copies worldwide respectively, bringing sales in entirety to over 5.5 million copies sold.
Dark Souls was also remastered down the road and saw a worldwide release in May 2018 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, and in October 2018 for the Nintendo Switch. The sales of Dark Souls Remastered were never revealed to the public but it was confirmed that in Japan, the game sold over 131,000 copies (physical + digital) on PlayStation 4 in the first week alone.
Dark Souls 2
Improving on the same cross-platform model, Dark Souls 2 was released in both Japan and the west in March 2014 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game was then released for PC a month later.
Dark Souls 2 sold over 2.5 million copies worldwide across all platforms within the first year. The game was then updated to Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin in April 2015 which included all three post-release expansion packs in addition to other improvements. The compilation was confirmed to have sold over 600,000 copies worldwide across all platforms in the first couple of months.
By June 2015, both Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2 were confirmed to have collectively sold over 8.5 million copies worldwide across all supported platforms.
Dark Souls 3
Dark Souls 3 concluded the trilogy and was released in Japan in March 2016 and in the west a couple of weeks later for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Dark Souls 3 sold over 3 million copies in the first month alone. By May 2020, the game had sold over 10 million copies worldwide across all platforms. The game was later updated to Dark Souls 3: The Fire Fades in April 2017 which included all post-release expansion, sales of which remain unknown.
By May 2020, the Dark Souls franchise had crossed 27 million lifetime sales (physical + digital) across all supported platforms.
Bloodborne was technically not part of the Souls franchise. Even game director Hidetaka Miyazaki confirmed so himself. However, the Lovecraftian inspiration and gameplay design made Bloodborne a close sibling to the Souls franchise.
Bloodborne was released worldwide exclusively for PlayStation 4 in March 2015. The game sold over 1 million copies in the first month and over 2 million copies by September 2015. Sony never came around to provide another update but did state that Bloodborne sales “exceeded” all projected expectations.
By January 2019 though, the game had reportedly (unofficially) crossed 3.1 million copies sold. However, the numbers did not include digital sales.
Which Souls Game Sold The Most?
Dark Souls 3 was the best selling Souls game in the franchise to date. With over 10 million copies sold worldwide in roughly four years, Dark Souls 3 sales account for nearly 30 percent of overall sales of the franchise.