Last week the Dark Souls community was invited to go celebrate the launch of Dark Souls II, with From and Namco, in San Fransisco. I was the lucky son of a bitch who got to go represent us all. I got to meet up with J. Kartje, the Community Manager for Namco and have lunch with him at In & Out Burger (it was just as good as I remember). We talked about Dark Souls II and BSed for a bit before he had to go (as you can imagine it was a rather busy day for him). Then I was left to my own devices for a couple of hours before the event (I may have hung out with Vaatividya during this time, but that’s neither here nor there).
While hanging out at the party I got to talk with some of the QA testers and ask them some questions about the game. The following are things I learned and verified it would be ok to share: Click below if you want to see them!
WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
- @Manatubear: Summoning range will be determined by a combination of 2 factors: The player’s summoning range and the amount of souls acquired by that player’s character. This means that as you obtain more and more souls your summoning range will increase. If you like to hang out at low levels and gank people, eventually over time, you will be forced out of this summoning range into a higher one where this won’t be possible. This is to try and alleviate some of the ganking of new players.
- @White Corvid and Serious_Much: NG+ got a HUGE overhaul. Now there are new enemies, harder enemies and new loot in NG+. This is to reward the player for continuing on and extend the longevity of the game. From what I understand the game assumes you know how to play from the very beginning and punishes you throughout. NG++ and up don’t add anything new, only harder difficulty. Another important thing to note is that players in NG+ will NOT be able to play with players who have not reached NG+ or above. As far as I can tell this was done to prevent the use of the more powerful gear obtained in NG+, like the Backstab Ring, from being used on weaker characters.
- THE BACKSTAB RING!! There is now a ring that protects you from backstabs by draping a corpse over your back that absorbs the damage of the backstab. I was told that this ring can break if it takes too much damage, but wasn’t given any more specifics other than that on how it works. This ring is ONLY obtainable in NG+.
- There will be an arena at launch and it will be available near the beginning of the game.
- In the Forest of Fallen Giants there is a thick fog area with invisible enemies where it is nearly impossible to see invaders until they are almost in your face. This will be a huge invasion area as invaders can actually see through the fog better than players in the forest. From what I understand one of the covenants protects this area similarly to the Darkroot Forest in Dark Souls 1.
- I was told that all weapons are viable in Dark Souls II. One of the QA testers even beat the game from start to finish with a Cestus.
- The Blue Sentinels and Brotherhood of Blood will actually have statues they can pray to that will begin a duel with other members of their covenants and can rank up this way as well.
- After joining the Dragon covenant you will obtain a Dragon Eye that will allow you to see the summoning signs of other members of this covenant. Even after leaving you will still have this ability as long as you possess the Dragon Eye.
The Launch Party started at 6pm but I was asked to show up a bit early, so I arrived around 5pm. There was already a line of about 50 people and many of them had been there several hours.
I spoke with several members of the community that could make it out, while they were setting up inside, and many of them knew of the wiki and forums and were happy of their existence. One member even told me it was the reason his friend started playing Dark Souls. Was awesome to hear that!
The event started shortly thereafter, and we got to play the game and the place was packed!
During the event I got to interview Takeshi Miyazoe, the producer of Dark Souls II. He was, by the way, the friendliest most approachable person I met at the party. He actually stayed a couple rooms down from me at the hotel. These are some of the questions I asked him:
Did you get everything into the game that you felt that you wanted to get into it? (asked by Devokai)
” I think so. When I speak with the developers and directors, the main concepts that we wanted in Dark Souls II have been met. You know, in the early stages there was a lot of things that we talked about that would be really cool and really new and stuff, but I think in the end our concept of a high sense of achievement, the loose connection for a unique online system, all that has been really well put together. Hopefully next week when the game comes out the experience will be a very full one.”
Are you aware of the community perceives you to be as the only game developer to listens to what the community actually wants? (Asked by Anubis)
“(Laughs) Great. As game developers, we try not to be influenced too much by the fan feedback. It’s not that we incorporate everything that everybody says. I think FromSoftware really sticks to their philosophy and really strives to create the game that they want to create. But fan feedback is always great. It’s good to understand how the fans understand and experience the game. It’s always great feedback to incorporate into the ideas.”
What was the hardest thing to develop in this game?
“Well, the most challenging was probably really determining what to maintain from Dark Souls I and what change for a new experience. You know technically, the technology that we used to develop a new engine, better graphics, all that stuff, was challenging but was more from a game design, game development perspective. We didn’t want to upset the fans by changing the game too much. We wanted to maintain what Dark Souls really should feel like and we also needed to give a new experience and I think that was the biggest challenge. I think we were able to provide justice and an immersive experience”
Will there be future patches after release for balancing issues and updates? (asked by DarkSeven)
“No, I don’t think so. In Dark Souls II we spent a lot of time… We tried to develop without considering patches.” (Cas note: I learned from QA Tester that the game will instead be “calibrated” server-side.)
If you could say one thing to the Dark Souls Community, what would it be?
“Well you know, in Dark Souls II we wanted to generate a new Dark Souls experience, new innovations, more immersive world for players to sink deep down into. All of that while having a great time facing the difficulties and challenges and hopefully they can really take part in the world of Dark Souls and enjoy it, enjoy dying, and are repeatedly challenged until the end of the game.”
Well there you have it. I had a lot of fun and it was great seeing all the members of the community out enjoying the game (and open bar). I hope I got you guys some information you wanted and hope that I represented us all well. I’m proud of the community here and am very excited for Dark Souls II!!
You can read more Dark Souls articles here.