Image source: Freedomcgc
Just two weeks before FromSoftware’s Dark Souls 2 hit shelves, publisher Atlus, who backed the Souls series progenitor Demon’s Souls, poured cold water on a series of rumors that had been circulating for months beforehand. Subtle if ambiguous hints from Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida pointed toward a direct sequel to Demon’s Souls, which ‘spiritual successor’ Dark Souls failed to provide, allegedly releasing for PlayStation 4.
Coupled with an unusual pervasiveness, it became almost commonplace to expect an announcement for the long-wanted sequel. Unfortunately, Atlus PR manager John Hardin stated, in reply to an inquiry on the PlayStation Blog, “[I] can 100% confirm that there will NOT be a Demon’s Souls 2.”
Atlus’ troubles in 2013—specifically the bankruptcy and subsequent assimilation of its parent company Index Corporation, who was purchased by SEGA—are a potential cause of the lack of Demon’s Souls 2. It’s equally probable that FromSoftware feels Dark Souls is now a more viable IP, particularly for a multiplatform market, and feels that resurrecting a PlayStation-only title is a needless risk. But whatever the reason for its dismissal, the fact remains that there is a game and then some lurking in the unlit corners of the Demon’s Souls universe.
Image source: Demon’s Souls Wikidot
That universe is Boletaria, a canonically unrelated but equally sullen sister kingdom to Dark Souls‘ Lordran. Crippled by the destructive advent of the Soul Arts and plagued by an all-consuming fog, it is a bleak and tragic landscape—but one rife with the quasi-sadistic traits that keep Souls fans coming back. Combat, methodical; bosses, colossal; demons, bloodthirsty; the sun, praised. Indeed, you’d have an easier time picking out the things Demon’s Souls lacks. And as you did so, you’d be surprised to learn that the former holds many unique mechanics.
Soul Form, for example, is a condition reached by dying and leaves your health halved until revived. Black Phantoms run amok as your World and Character Tendencies darken due to your deaths and actions; at the same time, enemies may weaken in the face of purer tendencies, achieved by aiding other players and vanquishing demons. And the many factions and cults backing Boletaria have spawned their own generals and leaders who would give Dark Souls‘ unsavory and colorful characters a run for their money.
Image source: Fireden
Even Dark Souls 2, fantastic and reminiscent as it is, lacks the ambiance Demon’s Souls wields. Furthermore, the Demon side of things is mechanically different enough to justify a direct successor, multiplatform or not. And what’s more, Demon’s Souls itself is incomplete, for its mysterious fifth Archstone—leading to the land of Giants (sound familiar, Dark Souls 2 players?)—was shattered and therefore rendered inaccessible. Plus, Old King Doran would beat Lord Gwyn and Nashandra into next week, and Dragon God deserves more limelight.
Just make Demon’s Souls 2, dammit.