The Dark Souls trilogy is known for its high level of difficulty and frenetic fantasy. Set in a world where characters fight and loot for Dying Light, these games wowed gamers everywhere. Today, at the end of the first season of Origin of the Series, we'll look at how these games were created, starting with the founding of From Software and continuing to the present day. Welcome to the Origins: Dark Souls series.
De Software e King's Field
By any standards, 1986 was an amazing year for video games. The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Dragon Quest and Bubble Bobble are just some of the games released that year. What made 1986 special was that Naotoshi Jin would have a life-changing experience that led him to found From Software. That experience was a motorcycle accident that left King bedridden during his recovery. During his injury, he thought about how to use the insurance money paid to him after the accident and decided to start a software company. From the wreckage of the accident, From Software was born. Initially, From Software created business and commercial applications such as agricultural software to manage pig feed.
Then, in 1990, an economic downturn hit Japan, prompting From Software to start thinking of ways to diversify or change the industry. Several company employees became interested in 3D modeling and its possible applications in game design. While Jin likes the idea of breaking into the gaming industry, he isn't excited about the hardware capabilities of any current PC or console. From Software ended up waiting a few years until their opportunity came in 1994 with the launch of the Sony PlayStation.
Sony's PlayStation, currently in its fourth generation (or fifth if you count the upcoming PlayStation 4 Neo), was born out of a failed partnership with Nintendo. The usual way to play games at the time was via cartridges - which the PlayStation eschewed in favor of more economical discs. Naotoshi Jin and From Software saw an opportunity to develop a new console, which required third-party support. The result of that effort was a first-person RPG called King's Field.
King's Field tells the story of a young king who searches for his father while dealing with an evil that has arisen from an abandoned graveyard in the land of Verdita. One thing I love about From Software's games is that all the realm names have something to chew on. Verdite, Boletaria, Lothric and more. The game is extremely challenging, with dark and dank settings reminiscent of lo-fi versions of later Soulsborne games. King's Field hits theaters December 16Yes, in 1994, just 13 days after the original PlayStation launched. It was the first RPG to use the new system and was successful enough in Japan to warrant a sequel.
In an interview with Game Informer in late 2015, From Software CEO Masanori Takeuchi mentioned that despite the massive success of the Souls games, King's Field is the most important game that From has released. Not just because it's their first game, but because it encapsulates the consistent worldview and game design aesthetic that From has been known for since its release in 1994.
King's Field II will appear in the US and will be simply called King's Field. Renumbering for different markets was common in the 1980s and 1990s. Other examples include the Final Fantasy series, with Final Fantasy 4 and 6 released as 2 and 3 in the US, and Super Mario Bros., whose sequel was renamed The Lost Level and another game called Doki Doki Panic disguised as brothers Super Mario O. 2.
Nothing happens in a vacuum, and the King's Field series is a testament to the very essence of the Soulsborne games that existed within the walls of From Software long before they were developed. From would continue the series with two more King's Field games, but its focus in the late '90s and early '00s shifted from Darkest Dungeons to the bigger mechs of the main armored series, which Hidetaka Miyazaki will start.
If you were to talk to Hidetaka Miyazaki today and ask what his influences were, he would provide a list of books, manga, etc. Casual quotes from him include Devilman and Berserk, as well as George R.R. Martin and Umberto Eco. He also keeps the RPG rulebook handy. That is today, but as a child his literary experience was very different. Hayao Miyazaki's family was poor and he rarely had the opportunity to buy books as a child. This led him to find his way to the library, where he checked out books that were often beyond his reading comprehension.
Whenever Miyazaki found passages he couldn't understand, he would often use his imagination to fill in the gaps in the story. Growing up, he studied at Keio University and earned a bachelor's degree in social sciences. Miyazaki sums up his childhood this way: "Unlike most Japanese children, I had no dreams. I had no ambitions." We are all our harshest critics, but I can certainly understand Miyazaki's lack of purpose in his youth. Finding a passion sometimes takes time, and for Miyazaki it took years. After college, he landed a typical account manager job at Oracle. He will work there for several years.
It wasn't until he met some college friends that Miyazaki's life began to find the spark he felt was missing. One of his friends suggested that he check out the Ico game. For those unaware, Ico is the first game from the team behind Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian, and it puts players in control of a young boy named Ico as he tries to escape a castle with a princess named Yorda. The game, like later games created by Team Ico, features a minimalist design and 3D puzzles.
Playing the game awakened something in Miyazaki. He started applying for jobs at game studios across Japan and was eventually accepted by a company. of the software. As part of his first responsibilities at the company, Miyazaki found himself directing a sequel to the company's popular Armored Core series. After years of fighting mechs, an opportunity within the company arose and it was a natural choice for Miyazaki.
Demon's Souls is From Software's first game to partner with the publisher, and the first game they intend to release globally. According to Takeuchi, the project was originally started around 2004 or 2005 with the intention of creating a new game with the same design philosophy as King's Field. However, the game was a failed project. Miyazaki saw this as a golden opportunity. In an interview with the Guardian, he put it this way: "I realized that if I could find a way to control the game, I could turn it into anything I wanted. More importantly, if my mind fails and nobody cares - it's already a failure." Unfortunately, the project faltered. Miyazaki's work and leadership completely reinvented the game. However, as a near-failure, it was released with low expectations, especially after a poor showing at the Tokyo Game Show.
Demon's Souls had poor initial sales and lacked publisher support. Shuhei Yoshida, Sony's head of WW, thought the game was terrible because of its challenge. Because of this, they released the game in North America and Europe. However, Demon's Souls found itself with a strong pedigree of games like its predecessors Series Origins: Civilization and The Elder Scrolls, which achieved cult status on the back of strong word of mouth.
Diehard gamers in North America began importing games across the Pacific, and eventually the appetite for games led Atlus to take over North American publishing, while Bandai-Namco published games for Europe and Australia. With the game finally hitting the global market, it has managed to attract players looking for something new and challenging. As a testament to the game's popularity, the servers hosting the online portion of the game remained online after the planned shutdown date in 2011.
The story of Demon's Souls is a bit clearer than later games. It centers on the kingdom of Boletaria, which has been shrouded in hellish fog after its ruler, King Allant, performed dark rituals to gain more power. Rituals freed the Old Ones, and as such rites often do, the mists and demonic legions entered the realm. Knights from neighboring lands often try to spread the mist so that they never return. Your character is a brave knight who manages to break through the mist and even go deep into the castle before encountering a demon called the Herald. It was one of those planned deaths.
From there, your spirit awakens in the Nexus and you are told you can never leave. However, you can restore your body. From the Nexus, you can travel to different parts of the realm and face the evil army invading the realm.
Demon's Souls' combat system is similar to future Soulsborne games. Caution, defense, and timing are key when you're up against enemies that can kill you with the right combos. My personal feeling, after playing Demon's Souls for a long time, is that I wish Dark Souls 3 was tough even on Extreme Challenge, but not as smooth as later games.
In an interview with Game Informer, Miyazaki stated that he doesn't like to use the word "difficult" and that difficulty isn't really the point. Instead, he wants players to feel a sense of accomplishment in overcoming obstacles. "The element of failure... our employees", but he wanted another chance to apply what he learned in Demon's Souls.
It didn't take long for Miyazaki to get the chance to perfect the concept for Demon's Souls. However, the next game, Dark Souls, will be discontinued and will be a new IP, giving the opportunity to choose a new editor for the game. When the game was first announced, From kept tight-lipped about the details, teasing only a logo and title, with "Project Dark" arguably being the name of the game's internal project. The game had an official announcement in February 2011 with the title and details. Aside from the title, an interesting twist between the initial teaser and the wider announcement is the game's exclusivity. Originally planned as a PS3 exclusive, the game was also announced for Xbox.
Despite the similar appearance and gameplay, there are several key differences between Demon's Souls and Dark Souls. The core model will be de-emphasized and replaced with a more complete world. A penchant for souls, a trait in Demon's Souls that won't make the new franchise make the leap. Another difference is the difficulty, or according to Miyazaki, challenge. Miyazaki and the team wanted Dark Souls to be more challenging than its predecessors. A sentence from the game's producer, Daisuke Uchiyama, can explain the problem very well. “We want players to scream and scream and get frustrated.” Not as eloquently as Miyazaki and Takeuchi's claim that the theme is the feeling of overcoming obstacles, but no less accurate.
The story of Dark Souls is very simple. To call it shallow would be unfair. Dark Souls' plot runs like a rabbit hole. It doesn't look like much on the surface, but you'll be amazed at how far you've come when you start descending and have no choice but to hit the bottom. I won't delve into that here, there are several channels with comprehensive knowledge reviews. I'll link a few in the description below. The short version is that long ago dragons ruled the land and everything was gray and undying. There is no gap. The fire then emerges from the depths of the earth, giving power to the humanoids that dwell there. Among those in power is Gwen, who and her companions slew the dragons and brought life and death, darkness and light to the world. When Dark Souls started, it was much later and the original flame was dying. When that happens, the world will be plunged into darkness. hard times.
Dark Souls outperformed its predecessor in just one week, further positioning From Software in the realm of high-end developers.
Dark Souls II and the Bloodborne Curse
When Dark Souls 2 was announced at the Spike Video Game Awards in 2012, there was a lot of excitement about getting into the Souls verse again. Excitement for some turned to dismay when it was finally revealed that Hidetaka Miyazaki would not be starring in the project, but would only serve as a consultant. Instead, the game will be handed over to From Software founder Naotoshi Jin himself. Some fans expressed disappointment with what they saw as From Software's "B" team, a harsh assessment of the team behind the sequel.
Although some rumors started to spread. One of the gaming blogs I checked out during the research phase even had a post asking if Miyazaki was working on another big project and couldn't possibly be working on Dark Souls 2. Turns out that's true.
Dark Souls 2 has the same design philosophy as its predecessor. Game director Yui Tanimura said in an interview that he sees two aspects to this: the sense of accomplishment from overcoming challenging obstacles, and the sense of accomplishment from indirectly connecting with other players. Regarding the second point, part of the team's goal is to create stronger bonds between the players who fight in the game. The software tried to be very sensitive about not changing the core of the game, but realized that changes had to be made in the sequel. Tanimura mentioned in the same interview: "... if we try to keep everything the same, it prevents us from giving players new experiences and worlds."
March 11Yes, released in 2014 to critical acclaim. It sold nearly 3 million copies worldwide and won multiple Game of the Year awards. With the success of Dark Souls II, From Software's prestige and value are high. In May 2014, they were acquired by Kadokawa Corporation and underwent a corporate restructuring. Kim Nao-joon, who just created the hugely successful Dark Souls 2, is stepping down from the company he founded to take on a consulting role. Hidetaki Miyazki will take his place. Next month at E3 in June 2014, Souls fans will find out why Hayao Miyazaki wasn't in the main cast of Dark Souls II with the announcement of the new Bloodborne IP.
Bloodborne is similar to the Dark Souls games in some ways, but different in others. The game's setting is more like Victorian England than a King Arthur meets medieval fantasy upside down. Development on Bloodborne began when From finished Dark Souls: Prepare to Die and proceeded concurrently with Dark Souls II. Prior to the game's release, screenshots of the game titled "Project Beast" were leaked online, sparking some speculation about what From was working on.
PS4 exclusive Bloodborne was also a huge success for From Software. While it lacked the cross-platform exposure of other Souls games, it did extremely well, selling over 2 million copies.
Dark Souls III My Legacy
Looking back, it's fun to realize how busy From Software must have been in 2013. Dark Souls 2 and Bloodborne were in development, then Dark Souls III came along and Miyazaki did double duty of finishing Bloodborne and starting the process of creating Dark. Souls Country of Soul III. Miyazaki has been saying for some time that he sees Dark Souls III as a turning point for the series and for From Software. Normally, when people think of that phrase, they assume things will go from good to bad or vice versa, but in this case, Miyazaki is simply referring to change. Dark Souls III would be the last game he worked on as a game designer rather than game designer and president slash.
Some feel that Dark Souls III has taken the best elements of the original game and Bloodborne and found a balance. Combat in Bloodborne is more aggressive, but in Souls games, aggressive play is often silly. Dark Souls 3 is still conservative in terms of attack, but it gives players more leeway. Still, the game was harder than ever.
As with previous games, Hayao Miyazaki did not consider it from a difficulty point of view, but from an "irrational" point of view. While this might seem like a semantic difference, I can see what he means. The famous difficulty levels in Battletoads are not just difficult, but unreasonable. It is unreasonable to expect that a person would have to develop such muscle memory to perform so flawlessly. Dark Souls III, on the other hand, gives players the chance to overcome great challenges and learn how to overcome them after dying.
Dark Souls III concludes the trilogy and current story. The story is as vague and mind-boggling as ever, but the elements needed to understand all three games are there for anyone to watch. When it comes to Miyazaki's relationship to the plot, I've read some very interesting things in Miyazaki's interviews. As I mentioned earlier, Miyazaki often uses his imagination to fill in the gaps in the story that he cannot understand. In an article for The Gaurdian, writer Simon Parkin interviewed Miyazaki, who wrote: "...the story is ambiguous. You, like the young Miyazaki, must use your Fill in the blanks with your imagination and co-create stories ..."
Combined with Miyazaki's idea of the "most correct" story for a Dark Souls game, all the different endings but not sharing what it was, suddenly gives you a mind-blowing idea of the overall impression of aesthetic satisfaction from Miyazaki's design.
Like its predecessor, Dark Souls III was another critical financial success for From Software. Although Miyazaki intended it to be the final chapter in the series, he didn't rule out the idea of another From Software designer calling for the series to return in another decade. Hayao Miyazaki completed the trilogy. For his fans, he assured that although he is now the president of the company, he will continue to be involved in the game design process and that From software is already working on a new IP, as well as a return to the old Armored Core.
This episode is different from the previous ones due to the relative freshness of the series. It's too early to attribute a legacy to a Dark Souls game. So at this point I'll end with a quote from Miyazaki himself:
"Honestly, I really don't care what they think of me. All I care about is continuing to create something special."
Thanks everyone for watching. In the description below, I'll list the fonts I used to make this video. If you like this content, please consider liking, commenting and subscribing to this channel. As always, if you find anything in the video that isn't true, please point it out in the pinned comment below. I'll end up doing video fixes for my first season of Origins. This officially wraps up Season 1 of Origins, I don't have dates planned for Season 2 yet, but follow me on Twitter @spoilerkevin and I'm sure I'll be posting there soon.
But that's all for today, until next time, take care everyone.