Dark Souls II was announced during the 2012 SpikeTV VGAs on December 7, 2012 with a CGI trailer. FromSoftware confirmed via their official Twitter account and their website that the game would be released for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.
On April 10, 2013, IGN released a 12 minute 'hands-off' gameplay trailer, demonstrating new lighting effects, enemies, areas, weapons, gameplay mechanics, and the improved graphical fidelity. One notable new mechanic involved hitting back axes a new enemy would toss at the player. Some other things demonstrated involved enemies breaking through walls, the ability of the player to move while using a bow as well as while healing, to light a torch to explore darker areas, and to now have up to at least three weapons or shields per hand equipped at a time.
Games for Windows Live (GFWL) support, which many PC gamers disliked in the PC port of Dark Souls, has neither been confirmed nor denied. Given that GFWL will be shutting down permanently on July 1, 2014, it appears very unlikely that Dark Souls II will use it.
The game will mark the departure of previous series director Hidetaka Miyazaki, who will now act as supervisor, while Tomohiro Shibuya and Yui Tanimura take over as directors. The new directors initially stated that the game would be 'more straightforward and more understandable,' but Miyazaki later made statements reassuring fans that the 'core' of the series would be protected. Thanks to the 12 minute gameplay reveal, it appears that most of the game's core elements were kept intact.
The game will have a new setting, and will not take place in Lordran. The game will be released March 11th of 2014, the PC version to be released "shortly after."
Network Beta Test
On September 5, 2013, the European PlayStation Blog announced that a closed beta test of Dark Souls II would be held in multiple phases in the coming months. The first phase is slated to be open only within Japan on September 29, from 21:00 to 22:00. The second phase will be open to all regions worldwide in staggered shifts on October 12, from 21:00 to 23:00. The third, and final, beta phase will be open to all regions worldwide simultaneously on October 27, from 16:00 to 19:00.
To enter for a chance to be selected to participate in the beta test, EU players may download the "Dark Souls II Beta Registration Ticket" from the PlayStation Store on their PS3s. Players in North and South America need not take any prerequisite steps, as they will be sent a special message from SCEA via their PlayStation 3 XMB with instructions to enter the beta. It is to be announced later when these messages will begin to be sent out. Entrance will be on a first-come-first-served basis, with up to 5000 participants to be accepted for the second testing phase and more than that to be accepted for the third testing phase.
Tokyo Game Show Preview
During Tokyo Game Show 2013, games press were invited to play the beta test version of the game for impressions. Many new details about the game were thus revealed, including the following:
- As in Dark Souls, a player may be in human form or undead form; but, in Dark Souls II, each successive death while in undead form will incur a cumulative penalty to the player's maximum health, up to a maximum penalty of 50%.
- While in undead form, the player's character will gradually decay in physical appearance, including skin going green, face becoming disfigured, and hair falling out.
- Players may now be invaded in both human form and in undead form.
- The first covenant has been revealed, called the Way of Blue (name may not be final), which, if you belong to it, will automatically summon another player as a blue phantom ally to defend you when you are invaded.
- Summoned ally phantoms now have a limited time duration before they are automatically dismissed; a phantom's time limit will decrease faster the more enemies they kill.
- Stats have been altered in many small and large ways, such as removing Resistance, adding Agility, transferring spell casting speed from Dexterity to Attunement, adding scaling for Bleed and Poison effects to Dexterity, seemingly adding elemental damage scaling to Intelligence and Faith, and other unconfirmed changes.
- The speed of the player's rolling is no longer dependent on their equipment weight, but depends instead on their Agility stat, which is described as affecting "swiftness of movement," including parrying speed, shield readying speed, and possibly more.
- Player inventory has been made denser, with more information on screen at once and a grid view of items instead of a list view.
Along with the standard edition of the game, Namco Bandai and From Software have announced there will be two versions of the game available at launch.
Dark Souls II: Black Armor Edition
Free upgrade for pre-orders
- Standard Game Disc
- Steelbook case
- Dark Souls II Original Soundtrack
Dark Souls II: Collector Edition
- Standard Game Disc
- Steelbook case
- Dark Souls II Original Sound Track
- 12" Knight Warrior Figurine
- Authentic Cloth Game Map
- Collectable Art Book