Why can't games like Dark Souls garner real success?

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#1 Posted by Popskinz (409 posts) -

  I’ll try my best to not come off as being biased, but I’ll make no bones about it: Dark Souls is a taut, unadulterated masterpiece that simply deserves more recognition. Dark Souls was probably the only game of last year that completely eschewed all the casual tropes we’ve grown used to in games: waypoints and maps to guide you along? Forget it. Forgiving checkpoint systems and minimal punishment for dying? To hell with that – Dark Souls is an absolute rarity in the sense that it doesn’t really provide you with any real exposition, and nor does it insist on holding your hand and wrestling the controller away from you so you can ogle at dry, scripted moments that feel more like filler than something that’s actually interactive.

Dark Souls redefines the term hardcore – you’re treated to a brief tutorial in the opening minutes of the game, then the developers pluck you in the strange and incredibly haunting world of Lordrean and says: “Here’s the world, go explore and stay alive”. It’s cryptic and mysteriously vague, not to mention a masterful design choice that makes the world around feel that much more alien and strange. And those Npc’s are just downright creepy.

So yes, Dark Souls is menacing, tough and incredibly brutal, but at the same time it will make you feel like an absolute god when you eventually and ultimately triumph over one of the game’s many, many challenges. Dark Souls isn’t tough in the sense that it’s cheap, but in the sense that it tests your mettle and skill to the breaking point, and thus leaves you incredibly satisfied after a particularly nasty boss or enemy encounter. Everything about Dark Souls, from the tactile combat, to the suffocating atmosphere, to the incredibly well-realized world and to the extraordinary online features can’t be matched; it’s brutal, punishing, rewarding and all-around incredible.

And the sad part is: it hasn’t even sold a million copies worldwide. Why is it that rehashed, unremarkable shooters like Call of Duty keeps cracking more than a whopping five million copies within the first few hours upon release, whereas games like Dark Souls that are bold and innovative simply get decimated by the competition?

Dark Souls is a game that’s still unknown to many and not even terrific reviews and the word of mouth has led to many sales figures. While the game is still making a run for the PC – a platform that harbors more of a hardcore community where it can hopefully garner some much needed success – I still find it disheartening to see masterpieces like Dark Souls get tossed by the wayside.

What do you think? Do you get upset when genuinely amazing games don’t get the attention they deserve?

#2 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5820 posts) -

I think Demons/Dark Souls did pretty well considering the type of game they are.

#3 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -

Its because its a niche game. I loved both games. However many people did not like how hard it was. And that if you die twice all your money is gone.  
 
Again it just goes down to A niche game. 

#4 Edited by benjaebe (2783 posts) -

Dark Souls and Demons Souls made a shitload of money for everyone involved. And Dark Souls won its fair share of GOTY awards. It has a niche audience but I think it's had tremendous success overall.

Also Dark Souls sold 1.6 million copies worldwide, so I'm not sure where you're getting your figures.

#5 Posted by Popskinz (409 posts) -
@benjaebe said:

Dark Souls and Demons Souls made a shitload of money for everyone involved. And Dark Souls won its fair share of GOTY awards. It has a niche audience but I think it's had tremendous success overall.

Also Dark Souls sold 1.6 million copies worldwide, so I'm not sure where you're getting your figures.

Oh, my bad then.
#6 Posted by VanderSEXXX (552 posts) -

Well Dark Souls didn't do so bad but yes I know you feel it should garner much more success than the rehashed franchises you mentioned. But lets face it! Almost none of the casual gaming market will have the patience to endure the punishment Dark Souls gives for incompetence, hell to some who even try it's likely even gonna be a survival struggle for their controllers since I've heard numerous stories regarding players who outright destroy their game controllers out of frustration for these kinds of games.

#7 Posted by Zippedbinders (985 posts) -

If it makes you feel better, I bought it and played six hours of it. It sits on my shelf now, sitting there and bullying me from afar.

#8 Posted by TruthTellah (8848 posts) -

I'm really not sure what you mean. Dark Souls sold a ton of titles and everyone and their dog played it. The first game and its sequel were surprisingly successful for seeming like such niche titles. Atlus was amazed that Demon's Souls sold over four times what it anticipated, and its sequel sold many times more than that. Both games are a great success appreciated by many gamers as triumphs of actual difficulty and tone.

Your wish for people to appreciate the game has already become quite true.

#9 Posted by BaneFireLord (2928 posts) -

Because it's a super niche product appealing to a very small minority of gamers.

#10 Posted by MikkaQ (10284 posts) -

Because Dark Souls is completely inaccessible. It makes no attempt to teach you how to play, which is a pretty terrible way to go about things if you actually care about selling plenty of copies. Somehow I don't feel like that was a priority for From.

#11 Posted by amir90 (2154 posts) -

It sold pretty well, at least from what I heard.

#12 Posted by CL60 (16906 posts) -

Huh? They sold tons of copies.

#13 Posted by laserbolts (5319 posts) -

You answered your question in your own post. It's because of the type of game it is.

#14 Posted by mikey87144 (1737 posts) -

Both games did really well if I'm not mistaken.

Online
#15 Posted by MooseyMcMan (10919 posts) -

For what those games are, they sell pretty well. More than I would think (not a quality judgement, I haven't played either, they just seem crazy).

Moderator
#16 Posted by believer258 (11814 posts) -

You can call me "casual" for the following response if you wish. I don't care.

But I don't really want Dark Souls because I'm simply not fond of the hardest difficulty in games. Dark Souls caters to the people who adore the hardest difficulty in games. Is it because I suck at games? No! I am very much capable of beating games on the hardest difficulty, I just plain don't want to. Every time I sit down to attempt to do that, I usually just drop it.

And if the mood were to strike me to pick it up, there's one thing that would stop me:

Forgiving checkpoint systems and minimal punishment for dying? To hell with that

I never enjoy having to replay something. In my mind, if I have passed a challenge, then I have proven that I can do it. I do not think that it's ever good design to make you have to redo the last challenge that you passed if you happen to fail the next one. I don't at all see how making you go back and replay thirty minutes of game that you've already beaten is "challenging". It's just tedious as far as I'm concerned. This is why I now play all of my old games on emulators, complete with save states. I don't have to put up with that.

#17 Posted by alternate (2697 posts) -

It is like asking why your favourite art-house subtitled black-and-white masterpiece is not up for an oscar. You might love it. It might be outstanding in it's genre, but it ain't going to be for everyone.

#18 Posted by Guided_By_Tigers (8061 posts) -

Niche audience maybe?.....I know I don't enjoy games like Dark Souls that's why I don't buy them.

#19 Posted by PSNgamesun (406 posts) -

They did good n also those games r tailored 4 one audience mean while COD is user friendly Which does not make it bad I really don't get the COD hate sometimes any how that's y their more Successful than demon souls or the sequel. Other ex. R Mario madden halo GTA all easy to Pick up n play n all real good games that the majority of gamers would enjoy...... Except madden those r NFL fans lol

#20 Posted by Karkarov (3080 posts) -

@benjaebe said:

Dark Souls and Demons Souls made a shitload of money for everyone involved. And Dark Souls won its fair share of GOTY awards. It has a niche audience but I think it's had tremendous success overall.

Also Dark Souls sold 1.6 million copies worldwide, so I'm not sure where you're getting your figures.

Uh I think you are messed up. I don't recall any major review site or mag giving Dark Souls GOTY. I know of one that gave it to Demon's Souls though.

#21 Posted by sawtooth (438 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@Popskinz said:

waypoints and maps to guide you along? Forget it. Forgiving checkpoint systems and minimal punishment for dying? To hell with that

Playable framerates? Pussy chow. Adequate translations? Forget that noise!

If the game was more polished and not surrounded by arm-linking mouth-breathers claiming it to be the hardest of hardcore then it would probably fare a little better. Still, there's going to be a limited audience for a grindy, storyless RPG regardless of the quality or perception of the game. The Souls games are the definition of niche titles.

agreed

#22 Edited by Willtron (243 posts) -

To be completely honest, Dark Souls really isn't THAT hard at all. It doesn't hold your hand, but it's still just pattern recognition. As long as you're patient, and you pay attention, it really doesn't become overly-taxing. Like, it ain't Ninja Gaiden hard-as-shit hard. Dark Souls kinda plays like balls. It's deliberate, yes. But the animations are complete shit. And the game is all animation priority. And you recognize that, and it's not that hard of a game. It's clunky. It's deliberately obtuse for no reason. If it wasn't deliberately obtuse, maybe people WOULD give it more attention.

And yeah, as stated, it's a niche game. I don't like hard games for the sake of being hard. I really don't. Maybe I'm getting old, or whatever, but generally I wanna play games for the story. Or if there isn't a story, I don't want murder things because I'm frustrated. I didn't think I'd like Dark Souls, but I do. I realize it is all pattern recognition. It's just grindy, and taxing, but it's rewarding. I'll give it credit for that. But yes, it is incredibly, incredibly niche.

#23 Posted by Phatmac (5725 posts) -

Limited appeal = limited success.

#25 Posted by Willtron (243 posts) -

Uh, Dark Souls is definitely not normal. It doesn't adhere to a lot of 'standards' of gameplay. Look at the OP's point about the game. He's trying to point out how not normal it is. And when something ain't normal, that's why it won't have much appeal beyond the 'niche'.

#26 Posted by Deusx (1903 posts) -

It sold well but yeah it deserves more recognition. It's the best game this generation.

#27 Posted by Marz (5649 posts) -

it sold 1.5 million across both platforms worldwide, so your facts are wrong.   

#28 Posted by TruthTellah (8848 posts) -

To me, this post is like asking: "Why can't Giant Bomb be bought by CBS Interactive?"

#29 Posted by JasonR86 (9659 posts) -

Those games sold fine. They'll never sell like a Mass Effect or Gears of War because they are too difficult. But they don't need to sell like those games to be successful.

#30 Posted by HadesTimes (804 posts) -

I believe Dark Souls did very well considering it's EXTREMELY challenging to say the least. Come on man, it's not going to do COD numbers. If people were that patient and interested in this sort of thing developers would still be making tons of them. There are still two kinds of gamers; mainstream and hardcore. I know no one wants to admit that, but the proof is out there if you look.

#32 Posted by Willtron (243 posts) -

Fair enough, sir.

#33 Posted by jacksmedulla (279 posts) -

@benjaebe said:

Dark Souls and Demons Souls made a shitload of money for everyone involved. And Dark Souls won its fair share of GOTY awards. It has a niche audience but I think it's had tremendous success overall.

Also Dark Souls sold 1.6 million copies worldwide, so I'm not sure where you're getting your figures.

#34 Posted by yoshisaur (2708 posts) -

Niche game, not everyone likes what you like. The reason people love the "mainstream" titles is because that is what is popular now. At one point it was platformers, another was adventure games, and now it's quick-paced FPS'. We'll see another trend soon enough when the fad switches faces.

#35 Posted by falling_fast (2210 posts) -

because dark souls is really hard and designed to force the player to figure out the game mechanics on their own (or, you know, through bloodstains/the internet)

I think it's very sad that games that try to do different things aren't always rewarded as they deserve to be, but the truth is that yr average person doesn't want a "hardcore" game like dark souls.

#36 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11642 posts) -

But, but... Dark Souls has garnered the attention it deserves. The entire conversation based around this thread is utterly meaningless because the game was both critically lauded and sold a surprising amount of copies for a niche game. This is like asking "Why hasn't the United States had a Black President yet?".

#37 Posted by PixelPrinny (1030 posts) -

As many have said Dark Souls received a ton of attention. Many of us, myself included, bought it purely out of the word-of-mouth buzz generated by friends and fellow gamers. Personally, I thought the game was a piece of trash with poor frame rates, incredibly clunky and frustrating controls, a complete lack of story (or any reason to care about the world or characters), and a crappy inventory system. But others absolutely loved those same things so all the power to em. Different strokes for different folks, etc etc.

Will the next game in the series fair as well? That's a tough question, as I'm sure many of us that bought it due to the hype and were disappointed won't be jumping back in for more, but at the same time, plenty of people who bought it because of the hype fell in love with it, so they're sure to buy the next one. I think that the chances are good that the next title will be quite successful, even if it doesn't sell as many copies as Dark Souls did (or maybe it'll sell more, who knows?)

As for a niche game I wish got more attention... I'd love it if people would go out and buy Tales of Graces F so we can see Tales of Xillia localized here sooner (and more Tales games in general). An unapologetic JRPG in a generation severely lacking such games, that has great gameplay and characters, and not one but two fully fleshed out endings and tons of content. Seriously people, if you have any love for JRPGs go buy it D:<

#38 Posted by JBG4 (411 posts) -

I bought it, poured 50+ hours into it, and it was my favorite game of last year. I loved it and I'm glad that it has been able to achieve the success it has because I can't wait for the next entry in the series.

#39 Posted by WilltheMagicAsian (1544 posts) -

The fact that they tacked on "From the makers of Dark Souls" to Armored Core V makes me feel like it was pretty successful for them.

#40 Posted by Aquablak (194 posts) -

I absolutely loved Dark Souls, and while I'd like for the rest of the masses to dig it as much as I did, I'm glad for the success that it has had. They're making it for PC, and they would not be doing that if they deemed it unsuccessful. It's growing just fine, and I can't wait for the next game.

A tiny bit off topic, but rather than creating a new one I'll broach this here: ANY chance at all Demon's Souls gets remade for the Vita? I highly doubt it, but that would be a system seller for me personally.

#41 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4676 posts) -

Because From care more about making a quality game then making a big profit. The game is success though, so i'm not complaining.

#42 Edited by Chop (1996 posts) -

I feel like Dark Souls got plenty of attention and hype from all over. Then again, my perspective is probably off because I hang around game sites, so yeah.

Either way, I think it's the best game this generation along with Demon's Souls. Sure, I think From deserve ALL THE MONEY for those two games, but I'm satisfied enough with the successes they achieved =/

#43 Posted by NTM (7344 posts) -

It's because most people don't want to enter that type of unfamiliar ground. They don't want to be challenged like that, nor spend all the time with it that they'll have to. I have both Demon's Souls and Dark Souls, I really enjoy them and fully understand the qualities of them, but I never beat them. I hardly got anywhere in Dark Souls. I know I can get through them, but for some reason I just don't want to take the time. I should though! It's really awkward having such quality games sitting there and hardly thinking about playing them. As much as I do like them, I just, I don't know; I don't want to play them over other great games.

#44 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4676 posts) -

@PixelPrinny: Is Tales of Graces F that good? I really like Vesperia for the Characters, Story, Graphics and combat system. I probably should of bought that game instead of Ninja Gaiden 3. All well, learn the way I guess.

#45 Posted by PixelPrinny (1030 posts) -

@ImmortalSaiyan said:

@PixelPrinny: Is Tales of Graces F that good? I really like Vesperia for the Characters, Story, Graphics and combat system. I probably should of bought that game instead of Ninja Gaiden 3. All well, learn the way I guess.

If you liked Vesperia, you'll most certainly like Graces F.

#46 Edited by Chop (1996 posts) -

@ImmortalSaiyan said:

@PixelPrinny: Is Tales of Graces F that good? I really like Vesperia for the Characters, Story, Graphics and combat system. I probably should of bought that game instead of Ninja Gaiden 3. All well, learn the way I guess.

If you liked the cheesy characters and terrible story from Vesperia, Graces is no different and you'll enjoy it. However, the combat and graphics are nowhere near the quality of Vesperia.

#47 Posted by DillonWerner (1526 posts) -

I think it has been pretty successful, I really like the game though because it just has a vibe to it that not many other games have.

#48 Posted by codynewill (166 posts) -

@Willtron said:

To be completely honest, Dark Souls really isn't THAT hard at all. It doesn't hold your hand, but it's still just pattern recognition. As long as you're patient, and you pay attention, it really doesn't become overly-taxing. Like, it ain't Ninja Gaiden hard-as-shit hard. Dark Souls kinda plays like balls. It's deliberate, yes. But the animations are complete shit. And the game is all animation priority. And you recognize that, and it's not that hard of a game. It's clunky. It's deliberately obtuse for no reason. If it wasn't deliberately obtuse, maybe people WOULD give it more attention.

And yeah, as stated, it's a niche game. I don't like hard games for the sake of being hard. I really don't. Maybe I'm getting old, or whatever, but generally I wanna play games for the story. Or if there isn't a story, I don't want murder things because I'm frustrated. I didn't think I'd like Dark Souls, but I do. I realize it is all pattern recognition. It's just grindy, and taxing, but it's rewarding. I'll give it credit for that. But yes, it is incredibly, incredibly niche.

Ninja Gaiden never gave me half as much trouble as Dark Souls has. Probably because, like you said, Dark Souls has incredibly punishing animation priority.

#49 Posted by PixelPrinny (1030 posts) -

@Chop said:

@ImmortalSaiyan said:

@PixelPrinny: Is Tales of Graces F that good? I really like Vesperia for the Characters, Story, Graphics and combat system. I probably should of bought that game instead of Ninja Gaiden 3. All well, learn the way I guess.

If you liked the cheesy characters and terrible story from Vesperia, Graces is no different and you'll enjoy it. However, the combat and graphics are nowhere near the quality of Vesperia.

I'll certainly agree with you on the story being bad (find me a Tales game where it isn't generic and cheesy as hell, though. :P), but the combat? Dwah? While Vesperia's was really fun, Graces improves upon it by having A-Artes and B-Artes (giving every character essentially two different playstyles -- ie Pascal can be a mage/buffer or long-ranged physical dps or a bit of both), along with an overdrive mechanic while still having the burst mechanic from Vesperia (though you can't Blahblahblah Tidal Wave! everything to death, I spose). I tend to use Sophie myself as she's a physical damage powerhouse and plays a lot like a rogue with dodging and riposting. Tis much fun.

#50 Posted by Slag (4269 posts) -

because Dark Souls is hard or hard enough really.

Study after study has shown the average video game player prefers relatively easy games.

I don't think Dark Souls is that innovative, it's just got some old school sensibilities. Been meaning to play it, but I haven't got it yet.

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