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New Dark Souls II details surface: accessibility, release timeframe, and direction

on 29 January 2013

Dark Souls II will focus on time and eras as key elements, the game will not take place in Lordran, the story will once again follow a cursed warrior, and the transition for Dark Souls players to the new game may be "awkward." That is about all the team has to say about the sequel to the hit game at this time, but there's also a good chance it may not be released this year.

Fans of Demon's Souls and Dark Souls have a lot of questions about the upcoming sequel, and it's clear from a recent interview that the development team is remaining relatively tight-lipped on the details. Dark Souls II was announced late last year at the VGAs and since then From Software has carefully released tidbits to keep eager fans anxious about potential changes.

In a recent interview with Edge, co-director Tomohiro Shibuya tried to give some more details on the new direction of Dark Souls II. "The concept of time and the existence of time is something that will be key to Dark Souls II," he said. While he said he didn't want to spoil the surprise for players, he did use the word "eras" instead of time, leading us to believe it could be a similar focus as was the case in the Prepare to Die Edition which sees players travel to a different era.

Dark Souls II is a direct sequel to Dark souls yet it will not take place in Lordran. Shibuya explained that the name of the world "will be key to the story," so it's likely rich in lore. "We will reveal it eventually, but not in the first announcement. If Lordran was to be an area in the world called, say, Earth, the setting of this game will be somewhere completely different." It sounds like the "visual concept" will keep the world together, but it's a bit unclear on the game's actual setting.

Some fans were drawn back when they learned Dark Souls director Hidetake Miyazaki wouldn't be directly involved in Dark Souls II's direction. Some may have worried about the dreaded A word--accessibility. But Shibuya used a different A word to describe the potential transition for Dark Souls players into Dark Souls II players.

"Ideally we want Dark Souls players to smoothly get into Dark Souls II," he told Edge. "But at the same time I am implementing a lot of different aspects as well. So there might be a sense of awkwardness at the [beginning] when experienced Dark Souls players pick up Dark Souls II."

He went on to say that Dark Souls II will have the same general feel and he doesn't intend to change the controls.

In regards to accessibility, Shibuya said he personally felt the covenant system in Dark Souls was hard to experience, but he plans to bring it back in Dark Souls II. This time, covenants will be more accessible to players, he said.

"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," he said. Dark Souls basic concept will remain intact, but the game's hidden story elements may be a bit more clearly presented. He admits he's 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 more understandable."

Dark souls II has a much bigger development team than Dark Souls. For example, the world creation team has doubled. The game is only about 25 percent done and the game is now likely not due out in 2013.