When we revealed last December that Dark Souls II was to become “more accessible” than its fiendishly punishing predecessor, the hard, self-flagellating core of the series’ fanbase were disappointed – to put it politely. A year later and just three months from release, we’ve secured an exclusive assurance from Dark Souls II co-director Yui Tanimura that this purported change of direction was all a mistake, and another from producer Takeshi Miyazoe that the statement was “a mistranslation” on their part.
There’s a massive eight pages of further Dark Souls II information and impressions lurking in issue E263, on sale this Thursday, December 19 in print, on iPad, Android and Zinio (you can also subscribe in print and on iPad). But for your own peace of mind, here’s a sneak peek at what Tanimura had to say on the subject of Dark Souls II’s ‘accessible’ difficulty:
When we met last year, you spoke of making Dark Souls II more accessible than the first game. Since then, it’s become clear that this is very much a Souls game. What did you mean by ‘accessible’, and how have you balanced the desire to attract new players with the need to keep existing fans happy?
First of all, we apologise for using the word ‘accessible’ and misleading the fans. By ‘accessible’, what we mainly meant was going through the process of streamlining and carving away the fat to more clearly communicate the true essence of Dark Souls.
There are two main concepts we concentrate on when developing. One is the sense of satisfaction when overcoming the hurdles and challenges in the game. We aim for players to achieve a huge sense of satisfaction as they proceed through the game – for the highest sense of achievement possible, we make the game challenging. Second is the loose connections with other players in the same world. This is done through elements such as blood messaging, blood stains, summoning and invasions, [providing] a sense of the other players who suffer the same experiences in the Dark Souls universe.
Our main intent for Dark Souls II was to enhance the experience to better express these underlining concepts more directly to the players, and to cut away a lot of the tediousness that was included in Dark Souls that did not have to do with the communication of these concepts.
What of players who are daunted by Dark Souls’ difficulty? What would you say to them?
A main theme in all games developed by FromSoftware is to not fully explain all the elements of how to play and challenge players to figure it out for themselves. We would like to encourage players to conquer the elements they face by paying attention to the surroundings and also being creative in strategising [about] how to overcome the difficulties.
There’s much more in the new issue, which launches this Thursday, December 19, and can be read in print, on iPad, Android and Zinio. Subscribers save money and get their issues before they hit newsstands – you can sign up here.