Details have been slowly trickling out about From Software's upcoming, "Dark Souls," a spiritual successor to 2009's "Demon's Souls." No one is expecting the ride to get any easier after the last painfully difficult -- and comparatively rewarding -- game, but many questions have been asked about how the new game's online component will follow up on its predecessor's message-giving system and light co-op/competitive elements. We have some new answers for you today, compliments of the game's director, Hidetaka Miyazaki, speaking in a new interview featured in the latest Edge.
The previous game's message system will return, though now players will be encouraged to hinder as well as help. "It's how you play with other people's minds, how you help or trick other people. It is another tool that has evolved in 'Dark Souls' -- it's not necessarily about how skilled you are, but how smart you are," Miyazaki said.
While he doesn't delve into detail on how fellow players might be tricked, Miyazaki does reveal a potentially useful new method for providing aid. Players will be able to make use of "the beacon-fire system," lighting a special fire that others can see in their own game worlds. More than just places to rest, these beacon-fire locations can actually be set up to offer recovery items and message of advice to all comers.
In "Demon's Souls" players were always technically online with their games, though this manifested less as multiple players within one game and more as the notes left scattered around the world. The feature returns in "Dark Souls," though the key difference this time is that players will be connected with others in their general geographical area rather than through a server.
"Dark Souls" will also bring back player vs. player combat, though it is worked more seamlessly into the structure of the game this time around. Those weaker players who find themselves the unfortunate targets of a more powerful competitor will have the ability to transform themselves into an inanimate objecct, such as a broom or a barrel. The game will also create situations that demand paying a visit to another player's world.
"For example," Miyazaki said, "One player may be tasked with hunting down a certain item that another has in his or her possession. There will be several quests or missions in the game like that. It's usually posed a bit like a competitive version of 'Lord of the Rings' in which one player has the ring and the other characters must find him, attack him and attempt to claim the ring for themselves."