Dark Souls II producer Takeshi Miyazoe promises the company has learned from the mistakes made with the PC port of the first game – and that the sequel will run more smoothly.
The original game was mired in problems on PC when it was released in August 2012 with an abysmal frame rate, locked resolution and poor keyboard and mouse controls, but was eventually saved by fan modding.
“This is going to sound bad but our main priority was to get the game onto the PC as fast as possible, because people wanted it on the PC,” Miyazoe says. “The PC market in Japan is so minimal that originally there were no plans to make it on the PC, but with the strong petition from the North American and European fans, even with the lack of experience of working on a PC platform we still did our best to try to get it out as fast as possible. [The problems] were expected to a certain extent.
“We did know there were PC-specific features like key-mapping and use of the mouse and keyboard, high resolution and higher frame rate, stuff like that, but… It’s not that we ignored it, but it would have taken too much time for us to implement it, test it and get it up to the level people expected. It was more of a publisher (Namco Bandai) decision to say, ‘Guys, don’t worry about this – let’s just get it out and see how this works on PC.’
“I think the game experience was fairly similar. We did recommend using a controller, and if [one] used a controller the experience was a Dark Souls experience I think. But we did learn from it. For Dark Souls II we are developing on PC from the beginning. We realise what PC games typically require, and I can assure you that the PC version of Dark Souls II will be a good PC experience for PC gamers.”
While Dark Souls II is developed with PC in mind, and with a release just a few weeks after the console version, it’s still a game best played with a controller, though Miyazoe is open to players with other preferences. “The current plan is [to allow] players to choose whether they want to use keyboard and mouse or a controller,” he says. “Both options will be available. Me being a console gamer and not a PC gamer, I would recommend a controller, but if you’re a PC gamer I’m sure you’d have a different opinion.”
Asked whether From Software and Namco ever considered a Wii U port, Miyazoe bluntly replies: “No.” When asked why, he explodes with laughter. “Wii U never came up, and we never doubted that (decision) either,” he says. “It was more of a company decision, so I wasn’t the one that decided this, but I think the audience for the Wii U is a lot different from the audience for Dark Souls.”
Similarly, From have no plans for a Vita version (“It’s not a handheld game, because of the network functionality.”) or for extending the Dark Souls brand in the same free to play direction taken by Soul Calibur, Tekken and Ridge Racer. Again, the notion draws laughter from Miyazoe. “Yeah, right!” he snorts. “Not yet, and not for a while I think. It’s one of our bigger IPs right now, but it’s a new IP, so I think it’s too young to go free-to-play. And with Dark Souls I think it would be hard to monetise in that way. Pay per death? That would be terrible. From Software especially don’t want to allow players to pay for an advantage.
“For Dark Souls 2, we don’t even expect any additional downloadable content because we want to deliver a full game, the full experience, to fans who purchase the package from day one. We did do additional content for Dark Souls, but generally downloadable content for Dark Souls II is not really being considered. Buy the package and you’ll get the full experience, and you’ll have as much fun as anybody else. Spending a couple dollars on certain items does not help the experience. So no free-to-play yet!”
For more on Dark Souls II’s new covenants, mechanics, and the ways the beta test reshaped the game, read Edge 263, on shelves now. Also available on iPad, Android and Zinio, and via subscription in print or on iPad.