Publisher: Namco Bandai
Platforms: Xbox, Playstation 3, PC
Insanely difficult, bulky, inaccessible and user-unfriendly, these were undeniable characteristics of the first Dark Souls, but they were also the reason why the game was so appealing to its fans. The hard and unforgiving gameplay made this title the right choice for players that were desperately looking for a challenge in the mainly casual-oriented video game market of today. But things could change drastically with its recently announced sequel, Dark Souls 2.
The question here is: What are their concrete intentions? In an interview was stated that they would love to make their franchise as known and established as the The Elder Scrolls titles, which are good, but from all attributes you can assign to them, they are not "hard" games. And the difficulty of Dark Souls was what made it unique, outstanding in a time where games are trimmed for easy access and a low player skill.
Dark Souls filled a niche, and it did that perfectly. To then go on and shock their whole audience with a sequel that throws everything and jumps on the casual bandwagon would be a very unwise decision by the developers. Games like Dragon Age 2, which caused giant protests in the community because of its sudden reversal in terms of gameplay compared to its predecessor, already showed how miserably these kinds of changes can fail.
But let's not judge the game too early, maybe FromSoftware suit the action to the word and keep the game as challenging and unforgiving as its predecessor, while at the same time improving accessibility and usability.There have been games in the past that successfully made the switch, like the Mass Effect series for example, even though you can't necessarily compare Dark Souls to them.
One just can hope...