EDGE Magazine Provides New Dark Souls 2 Details
Miyazaki's diminishing role in the series heavily discussed.
With the surprise announcement of Dark Souls II, fans are no doubt clamoring for new details to tide them over til release, and this month, EDGE Magazine has the goods.
Recently they got a chance to sit down with the Dark Soul producers, discussing the accessibility Namco Bandai now seeks to inbue in the series, and creator Hidateki Miyazaki's diminishing role in the IP. As previously reported, Miyazaki will not direct the sequel's development, instead taking on supervisor responsibilities, such as monitoring their time restrictions and ensuring they meet deadlines. He also says he recommended they make the switch from PvP back to server based play, a much-celebrated decision. His involvement largely seems to be in name only, as he goes on to say that he's working on a new IP altogether, declining to provide any further details.
The goal of the game's new directors Tomohiro Shibuya and Yui Tanimura (From Software employees that were chosen to helm the series' fresh take) is combining the signature aspects of Dark Souls' with an early in-game accessibility that appeals to new players.
"I personally feel the covenant system was something that was difficult to fully absorb and experience [in] Dark Souls, and I intend to make it more accessible to players. And that's not just with the covenant system,but with a lot of other aspects that I felt were difficult to fully adapt to.
"I will follow the same concept as Dark Souls, but there were a lot of hidden story elements that some players may not have caught before, and I'm hoping to make some of that a little bit more clear or directly expressed to the player as well--not just in the story, but messaging. A lot of elements were very subtle in Dark Souls, and that was something that was characteristic of Dark Souls. But I personally am the sort of person who likes to be more direct instead of subtle, so I think that part of me [will result in] a difference [for] players when they pick up Dark Souls II. It will be more straightforward and understandable."
While this certainly flies in the face of creator Miyazaki's original vision (based on his experiences with Western fantasy literature, where his limited English forced him to fill in the many blanks), Shibuya promises there will still be hidden elements to the new Dark Souls world, details that can be easily missed. The map will be roughly the same size but promises more content and areas of interest. He also says the creative team has increased in size substantially, and that currently the game is about 25% complete (as EDGE notes, on that timeline, do not expect Dark Souls II in 2013).
EDGE was also privy to ten minutes of footage from the game, and say the graphics are much more polished, citing improved lighting, animations and particle effects. They also say there were given a wink wink nudge nudge "non-denial" of the possibility of Dark Souls on PC (the demo they played was actually on a high powered laptop) but a polite "no comment" on whether they were preparing for the next generation of consoles. Namco Bandai seems to be throwing a lot of resources at Dark Souls, their first compelling new IP in some time, meaning that weather implementation (a possibility of which Shibuya spoke wistfully) may be possible in the future. They're also implementing ocean and coastline features this time around, another series newcomer. Shibuya also mentions that he'd like to enhance the action and combat system.
Going back to the topic of Miyazaki's role in the series, there seems to be some question as to whether he was asked to step down, or did so of his own volition. He at first credits himself with bringing Shibuya and Tanimura on the project, then says it was Namco Bandai's decision. For their part, Namco says:
“For the IP to evolve and provide a new experience within the Dark Souls world the new wind from directors Shibuya and Tanimura is key to providing players with a brand new Dark Souls experience. In order to maintain expectations and satisfaction and the rewards players experience this was the time to bring in new characteristics and tastes of the directors for the series to continue evolving.”
Whatever the case, whether Miyazaki left or was asked to leave, it seems they have quite a challenge on their hands. Shibuya seems pretty hell bent on shaking up the formula at least a little, and the balance between appeasing fans new and old will be a tedious one.