Japanese gaming bible Famitsu’s lifted the veil on the first concrete details on From Software’s sequel to Demon's Souls – now officially titled Dark Souls.
Announced under the moniker of Project Dark back at TGS last year, Dark Souls will apparently boast a higher difficulty than its predecessor, and adheres to the original’s theme of learning from your mistakes and the ‘joy of discovery.’
According to early leaks (via Andriasang), Dark Souls won’t share any connections story-wise to Demon’s Souls, though the gameplay remains very much in the RPG mould of character creation, snagging fresh items and weaponry and levelling up.
The most significant change however is the scale of exploration available to the player. You’ll be able to venture to distant locations that you can spot in the distance, with all maps seamlessly connected rather than having to move to each location via a shrine.
In terms of layout, environments will sport a far more complex land structure, with varying levels of height to traverse. Weapons, meanwhile, possess a far more diverse range of motions and special functions, and the game will support a copious amount of magic and item types. This allows dungeon crawlers to slog through the game in their own unique style of play.
As for online play, the developers aren’t saying much at present, though the magazine did reveal that Dark Souls will include cooperative and competitive multiplayer functions. If you’ve got yourself in a bit of a pickle, you’ll be able to call upon other players to give you a helping hand.
Gamers will still be able to receive messages from deceased players among other such familiar online components, though the Soul Tendency feature won’t make a return, primarily because Dark Souls won’t have its own servers. Further online elements will be detailed in the future, notes Famitsu.
Dark Souls is scheduled to ship in Japan at some point in 2011.