The Future of the 'Souls' Franchise

#1 Posted by TerraMantis (283 posts) -

This video is furtive... YES... Indeed.

One point that I don't touch base on is regarding the issue of difficulty for the future of the franchise. Personally, I think it's fairly unanimous - people don't want it to be easier. As far as I'm concerned I thought Dark was easier than Demon, I'd like the next game to be even more difficult than the previous titles.

I also think people really disliked the 'story' of Dark Souls, but before we go any further let's please not confuse a narrative with lore. The narrative that plays Dark Souls' events is terrible, it's as easy as that. You're undead, you leave a prison, you ring two bells, you get the lord vessel and then fill it, lastly making your choice. The LORE, on the other hand, is amazing. Dark Souls is more about placing you in a world and nothing is handed to you (just like the overall theme of the experience), it's up to you to put the pieces of a puzzle together through item text or what little dialogue there happens to be in the game. It's more like you're an archaeologist and you've just landed on the ruins of some dead (or dying) society. No one is there to help you, it's up to you to place the pieces together to formulate what's happened in the PAST. What you are doing throughout the game is extremely important to that mythos, but what is perceived as a traditional gaming story is not nearly as impactful as the experience you have to create for yourself. You're given the tools, but the player must construct the experience. It's a trade off and I think it's a good one.

There are a ton existing elements regarding the Souls franchise that could be brushed upon or completely new ideas that could be implemented. I'd like to hear some of your ideas of how you think Souls could improve its existing features or what you'd like to see changed, or just ideas that you believe would could improve the experience but are completely new to the series.

Have at it.

#2 Edited by Karkarov (3008 posts) -

That guy doesn't realize you can't shoot a dude who is way the heck in the distance with over the shoulder aim. Also if he thinks backstab is bad here I know he didn't play Demon's. His inability to use ground aoe spells is funny too. Community boss, no, what happened to offline and online should both be complete?

#3 Edited by Hungry (165 posts) -

I wouldn't say that the story is bad because it isn't terribly involved. If the actual plot of Dark Souls was trying to pull you in and make you think but completely failed then it would be bad. I would not call Megaman 2's story bad, just minimalistic because that isn't what they wanted to do with their game.

There is plot to the individual NPCs which is pretty great, but that doesn't really involve the main plot that much so I can't really count that. But the lore and those plot lines I think prove that FROM can write.

#4 Posted by psylah (2162 posts) -

@Karkarov said:

That guy doesn't realize you can't shoot a dude who is way the heck in the distance with over the shoulder aim. Also if he thinks backstab is bad here I know he didn't play Demon's. His inability to use ground aoe spells is funny too.

I went back and played Demon's Souls again after finishing Dark Souls, and only then did I realize how difficult it was to get a backstab in the first game. I also realized there was no ability to jump, there was no kick (only a gentle nudge, literally) and no plunging attack. The combat in DaS was such a light evolution over DeS that I didn't think they had changed or added anything at all, and thought I could run+jump+kick in DeS.

#5 Posted by Casey25 (138 posts) -

These games seem right up my alley. I built a decent gaming pc about a month ago, so id be down to play these on pc.

Should i start with the first or just jump into Dark Souls.

#6 Posted by Turambar (6677 posts) -
@Casey25: There is no PC version of DeS
#7 Posted by Hungry (165 posts) -

@Casey25:

Well Demons Souls is a PS3 exclusive, so you can't play that on PC or 360. It is definitely not required to enjoy Dark Souls but it is interesting to see the changes in the game. Personally, I think Dark Souls is better (even if Demons Souls has more challenging encounters, who cares when you can farm up 50 Full Moon Grass), but both are a ton of fun and worth playing.

#8 Posted by Itwastuesday (939 posts) -

Dark Souls was fine because it got the game to more platforms and the open world format worked way better than Demon's weird archstones. However, to prevent the series from becoming stale, I very much hope the next game isn't basically just a new big Dark Souls world and they try some different things.

#9 Edited by TerraMantis (283 posts) -

@psylah said:

@Karkarov said:

That guy doesn't realize you can't shoot a dude who is way the heck in the distance with over the shoulder aim. Also if he thinks backstab is bad here I know he didn't play Demon's. His inability to use ground aoe spells is funny too.

I went back and played Demon's Souls again after finishing Dark Souls, and only then did I realize how difficult it was to get a backstab in the first game. I also realized there was no ability to jump, there was no kick (only a gentle nudge, literally) and no plunging attack. The combat in DaS was such a light evolution over DeS that I didn't think they had changed or added anything at all, and thought I could run+jump+kick in DeS.

Yes, I thought the little touches added to combat in Dark were subtle but they were quite brilliant and really hone it into a much better game than Demon (combat-wise). That being said, is right, I've never played Demon's Souls ever before because I didn't mention backstab being faulty for multiple iterations... Me dumb, me dumb dumb blerp, blerp. Flerv.

@Hungry said:

I wouldn't say that the story is bad because it isn't terribly involved. If the actual plot of Dark Souls was trying to pull you in and make you think but completely failed then it would be bad. I would not call Megaman 2's story bad, just minimalistic because that isn't what they wanted to do with their game.

There is plot to the individual NPCs which is pretty great, but that doesn't really involve the main plot that much so I can't really count that. But the lore and those plot lines I think prove that FROM can write.

You bring up some extremely valid points, almost enough to change my perspective, but then I just have to go look at the dialogue that role the game. More often than not FROM can write for sure, but sometimes it's just bad. Sometimes the dialogue is quite brilliant. For Example, when you first meet Solaire and he talks about why he is giving you the soapstone to call upon him because people rip in and out of space-time because the world there is not a fluid stream of time, I mean that's pretty awesome while simply being a way to tie in reasoning for why players need to summon one another because of a game mechanic. Within that same conversation though Solaire does a stupid ass sinister laugh at the end of his dialogue, and that laugh is used in more dialogue than just him. I'd say upwards of 80% of the NPCs end their dialogue with some cheesy chuckle, I feel like I'm taking to the Librarian from Symphony of the Night (HeHe, Thank you!). Anyway, the use of that chuckle is so poorly implemented and used so often that it becomes a cliche' within the confines of Dark Souls itself, you don't even need to look to other titles. That's pretty bad.

So, I still have to go with the lore is awesome, there are some really interesting characters, but the story you're specifically thrown into is just okay at best.

#10 Posted by Hungry (165 posts) -

@TerraMantis:

I will have to agree that the actual plot is just okay (I think it is only interesting if you put it into the perspective of the detailed world you are put in, which isn't an excuse for it's okayness). However, I have to disagree about the chuckle.

Some of that can be chalked up to voice acting direction. While I think most of the lines are spoken pretty well, I felt like the reason everyone chuckled is because they were trying to comfort themselves a little bit. Lordran is absolutely fucked and everything wants to kill you. Most of the games' aesthetic revolves around an atmosphere of oppression and utter hopelessness, with sudden sparks of hope to drive you forward. The bonfires are a pretty obvious symbol here. The way your character bows in reverence (and when I first saw it I would assume relief) when you meet with Gwynevere is also a good sign of this. So personally I felt the chuckle was like "Haha... we're all so fucked... but we must press on anyway." I think Siegmyer and some of the really twisted people are the only ones with genuine chuckles, but that is because they are a bit messed up in the head or don't really understand how fucked everything is.

#11 Posted by phantomzxro (1565 posts) -

Great topic but its kinda hard to me to look for things to improve other then just making a better dark souls. The only thing i would add see i would love for them to play up the online part of people joining your world and the clans or whatever its called part of the souls games. Their are great moment when you are faced off with other players. If they could get the online part of it right and have more events where you will need a another player to take down on optional boss or a boss where here summon to players to fight it out to face him at the end.

This would mean the online part of it would have to be a step ahead of dark and demon souls. I also would not mind an increased focus on DLC but more on the line of expansions that would add more story and or more bosses, areas, PvP maps where they can play around with the system of the souls game without changing the core souls experience.

#12 Edited by TerraMantis (283 posts) -

@Hungry said:

@TerraMantis:

I will have to agree that the actual plot is just okay (I think it is only interesting if you put it into the perspective of the detailed world you are put in, which isn't an excuse for it's okayness). However, I have to disagree about the chuckle.

Some of that can be chalked up to voice acting direction. While I think most of the lines are spoken pretty well, I felt like the reason everyone chuckled is because they were trying to comfort themselves a little bit. Lordran is absolutely fucked and everything wants to kill you. Most of the games' aesthetic revolves around an atmosphere of oppression and utter hopelessness, with sudden sparks of hope to drive you forward. The bonfires are a pretty obvious symbol here. The way your character bows in reverence (and when I first saw it I would assume relief) when you meet with Gwynevere is also a good sign of this. So personally I felt the chuckle was like "Haha... we're all so fucked... but we must press on anyway." I think Siegmyer and some of the really twisted people are the only ones with genuine chuckles, but that is because they are a bit messed up in the head or don't really understand how fucked everything is.

Right. I agree, it definitely works with some characters. Siegmyer, for example, seemed really... naive or oblivious, like one of those "Jolly-HO I'm just happy to be a Knight" types. He was someone that was written to feel like he didn't really fully comprehend how dire his surroundings were. So, his laugh didn't come off as feeling forced and or sinister, it felt genuine. And the Pyromancer (found in the barrel, I can't remember his name), I thought he was one of the most believable characters in the game, but he also never does one of those laughs. What I'm trying to convey is that in some circumstances it works (Siegmyer) and when it wasn't used at all with the Pyromancer he came off as one of my favorite charcters, but that is the problem in and of itself. It's used so often and with characters that it doesn't fit their mentality or dialogue that it becomes cliche' and cheesy. With Leutrec, it makes sense with him, the guy that sells absolution in the bell tower, it makes sense with him, but the rest, not quite as much. The sinister laugh seemed forced more often than it felt natural.

#13 Posted by NecroMongo (64 posts) -

They definitely need to make the next souls game harder. After 2 games in this style most a lot of people will be getting used to the tropes they use and the overall experience may be at risk of being predictable. I've got faith in From Software though.

#14 Posted by ExplodeMode (852 posts) -

I think adding a stat that negated backstabs would be enough. Maybe you could get it with a certain amount of armor vs the weapons crit stat and maybe resilience (which would make it useful) could lower the amount of armor needed.

You're right about aiming. It could be faster and more intuitive.

The public boss sounds like a cool idea, but no idea how to implement that.

For what's next, I don't really think it matters to me. Demon's souls 2, Dark Souls 2, Whatever Souls, Whatever Ring -- there are enough positives for any scenario that I don't really mind so much.

#15 Posted by WarlordPayne (694 posts) -

I want to be able to manually aim spells like you do with a bow, I want to be able to combine smaller shards to make larger ones, I want a very real reason to want to be alive and be automatically revived when killing a boss(like in Demon's Souls), and I want better balance. The stupid ring that prevented lock-on was so broken that it ruined the PvP aspect of that game.

Also, no super cramped rooms, especially boss fights, if the camera is going to be as shitty as it has been so far.

#16 Posted by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

@WarlordPayne said:

I want to be able to manually aim spells like you do with a bow, I want to be able to combine smaller shards to make larger ones, I want a very real reason to want to be alive and be automatically revived when killing a boss(like in Demon's Souls), and I want better balance. The stupid ring that prevented lock-on was so broken that it ruined the PvP aspect of that game.

Also, no super cramped rooms, especially boss fights, if the camera is going to be as shitty as it has been so far.

You CAN manually aim spells.

I mean, good luck hitting shit with anything that isn't lightning spear or fireball, but you can totally do it.

#17 Posted by Bobby_The_Great (1002 posts) -

@TerraMantis said:

This video is furtive... YES... Indeed.

One point that I don't touch base on is regarding the issue of difficulty for the future of the franchise. Personally, I think it's fairly unanimous - people don't want it to be easier. As far as I'm concerned I thought Dark was easier than Demon, I'd like the next game to be even more difficult than the previous titles.

I also think people really disliked the 'story' of Dark Souls, but before we go any further let's please not confuse a narrative with lore. The narrative that plays Dark Souls' events is terrible, it's as easy as that. You're undead, you leave a prison, you ring two bells, you get the lord vessel and then fill it, lastly making your choice. The LORE, on the other hand, is amazing. Dark Souls is more about placing you in a world and nothing is handed to you (just like the overall theme of the experience), it's up to you to put the pieces of a puzzle together through item text or what little dialogue there happens to be in the game. It's more like you're an archaeologist and you've just landed on the ruins of some dead (or dying) society. No one is there to help you, it's up to you to place the pieces together to formulate what's happened in the PAST. What you are doing throughout the game is extremely important to that mythos, but what is perceived as a traditional gaming story is not nearly as impactful as the experience you have to create for yourself. You're given the tools, but the player must construct the experience. It's a trade off and I think it's a good one.

There are a ton existing elements regarding the Souls franchise that could be brushed upon or completely new ideas that could be implemented. I'd like to hear some of your ideas of how you think Souls could improve its existing features or what you'd like to see changed, or just ideas that you believe would could improve the experience but are completely new to the series.

Have at it.

I found Demon's to be easier than Dark, seriously.

#18 Posted by Nodachie (77 posts) -

I am a simple giant who has simple wishes. I want "Souls" to be harder, more epic and full of terrifyingly-horrifying dangerous monsters.

#19 Posted by Ares42 (2591 posts) -

First off, anyone that starts off by saying "Almost nothing needs to be changed in the Souls franchise. Dark Souls is my favorite game in almost 15 years" is not someone you should listen to when it comes to furthering the franchise. A stale franchise is a dead franchise.

Anyways, if you ask me, the weakest points of the game is actually some of the boss mechanics. Encounters like Ceaseless Discharge and Bed of Chaos are just badly designed. And even if you disagree and think their mechanics are great, both fights can also be completely exploited to screw with their mechanics. Other than that the game would probably also be served by straightening out it's progression curve instead of the extremely logarithmic approach it has. It just makes the game very front-heavy.

Either way though, as far as I know they've been pretty public in saying they are done with Souls games. That doesn't mean they won't go back to the well if they get desperate though, but that's also sorta the worst circumstance for a game like this to be made.

#20 Posted by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

@Ares42 said:

First off, anyone that starts off by saying "Almost nothing needs to be changed in the Souls franchise. Dark Souls is my favorite game in almost 15 years" is not someone you should listen to when it comes to furthering the franchise. A stale franchise is a dead franchise.

Anyways, if you ask me, the weakest points of the game is actually some of the boss mechanics. Encounters like Ceaseless Discharge and Bed of Chaos are just badly designed. And even if you disagree and think their mechanics are great, both fights can also be completely exploited to screw with their mechanics. Other than that the game would probably also be served by straightening out it's progression curve instead of the extremely logarithmic approach it has. It just makes the game very front-heavy.

Either way though, as far as I know they've been pretty public in saying they are done with Souls games. That doesn't mean they won't go back to the well if they get desperate though, but that's also sorta the worst circumstance for a game like this to be made.

Nobody will say Bed of Chaos was a good fight. In fact, the boss design really took a nosedive after Biggy and Smalls. However, other than perhaps better managing their timetable and making things like covenents fucking work, there really is nothing that SHOULD be changed. The Souls games are popular for a reason, and it's because it brings something to the table that nothing else does.

#21 Posted by JackSukeru (5906 posts) -

Solaire's laugh isn't supposed to be "sinister" it's supposed to be "hearty".

I just relistened to it though and it does sort of come off that way.

#22 Posted by MiniPato (2721 posts) -

I think the next Souls game needs to rein it in in terms of the scope of the story they want to tell. I thought it was way too complicated for a minimalist storytelling method. Discerning lore from weapon descriptions and NPC dialogue is great, but in Dark Souls, I didn't really feel that those snippets of world lore added up to anything cohesive. Demon's Souls' story succeeded because it started off on a very simple note, the kingdom of Boleteria has been enveloped in fog cause the king unleashed some old evil. Now demons have overtaken the realm and the fog is slowly creeping beyond the kingdom's borders and will soon envelope the world. Many have entered the kingdom to attempt to free the kingdom, none have returned. You are the latest warrior to take up the challenge. It's a simple story hook that players can grasp onto and then build upon it by talking to NPCs, reading weapon and world descriptions, or even just finding corpses of fallen heroes with their signature gear on them.

Dark Souls' story started off with some kind of war between a fire kingdom and dragons, but wait the world was always ruled by dragons and then humans discovered fire? Now the flame is fading, is that a bad thing or a good thing, cause King Gwyn is supposed to be evil? Why am I starting off in an asylum and why am I undead? You get lots of lore from playing the game and talking to folks and reading item descriptions, but unlike Demon's Souls, it has a very shaky and convoluted foundation that these details don't really mean much. The bits of lore are interesting, but when looking at it from a wider scope, they don't really come together to form a well realized world.

#23 Posted by NecroMongo (64 posts) -

@Ares42 said:

Either way though, as far as I know they've been pretty public in saying they are done with Souls games.

Source?

I find this hard to believe considering how much of a success Dark Souls was.

#24 Posted by gaminghooligan (1424 posts) -

@Karkarov: it's true, I was shocked at how much better the backstabbing was in Souls

Online
#25 Edited by Ares42 (2591 posts) -
#26 Posted by project343 (2812 posts) -

@Casey25: If you hurry, you can still snag Amazon.com's 50% off Dark Souls sale. It poops out a Steam key, which is amazing. If you happen to live outside the US, just change the country and postal code on your billing address.

#27 Edited by phrosnite (3518 posts) -

I want the next Souls game to be what Dark Souls was to Demon's Souls :) Remake the game again... hehehehe. Also... are there people who say that Demon's Souls is better than Dark Souls?

#28 Edited by TerraMantis (283 posts) -

@phrosnite said:

I want the next Souls game to be what Dark Souls was to Demon's Souls :) Remake the game again... hehehehe. Also... are there people who say that Demon's Souls is better than Dark Souls?

I don't know that I've heard anyone directly say they thought that Demon was an all around better game than Dark, but that doesn't mean that person is out there. I think that overall most people agree that Dark improved upon the ideas of Demon. On the other hand, I do believe a lot of people think there were specific aspects that were better in Demon's Soul, or aspects they wish didn't go away. I for one thought that the connectivity of the online interactions ran much smoother (less latency/lag) in Demon, and I know there are people out there that wish they'd bring back world tendencies. I for one thought covenants were vastly superior to the tendency system, but that doesn't mean they couldn't incorporate the two together in some fashion and covenants could also be improved upon as they stand currently.

I'd definitely like to see them explore new ideas with the covenant systems. Perhaps there could be bosses that were specific to what covenant you're in, like being sent to kill Frampt if you're a Darkmoon or vice versa wherein you'd be sent to kill Gywdolin if you were a Dark Wraith with Frampt. I don't know, it's just an example.

Anyway, yeah, I hope the next installment improves upon the ideas of Dark in the same way Dark did over Demon's - enough to make it feel fresh and tweaked just right to add small nuances in an attempt to perfect the combat system, but nothing too drastic.

#29 Posted by Casey25 (138 posts) -

@project343 said:

@Casey25: If you hurry, you can still snag Amazon.com's 50% off Dark Souls sale. It poops out a Steam key, which is amazing. If you happen to live outside the US, just change the country and postal code on your billing address.

I just ordered it off your link. Thanks!

#30 Posted by project343 (2812 posts) -

@Casey25: I also get the distinct impression that the PC version needs a bit of modding to be playable (fix some of the FPS issues, rendering issues, etc.). There seems to also be a pretty solid retexturing effort.

#31 Posted by PulledaBrad (612 posts) -

This dude has a pretty good handle on the lore from what I'e gathered, he's got the best idea of whats going on in DaS.

http://youtu.be/Balq4yCcAJg

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