Just a single day after I asserted on the INT Spec Podcast that Project Beast was almost definitely Demon’s Souls 2, new evidence has caused me to completely alter my opinion. The newly leaked FROM game Project Beast – probably headed by ‘Souls’ mastermind Hidetaka Miyazaki – is likely a new entry in the Shadow Tower series.
Shadow Tower is a first-person, action oriented role-playing game, released only in Japan on the Playstation. Sharing many similarities with the King’s Field series (the spiritual predecessor to Demon’s Souls), Shadow Tower is a dungeon crawler where you gain experience through killing beasts. Instead of choosing where to allocate your experience, different enemies instead automatically raise specifically targeted attributes associated with your character.
A sequel was released in 2003 for the Playstation 2, only offered in Japan, and possessed several genre and mechanical elements in common with Demon’s Souls and the King’s Field series. Oh, and there are guns.
Although firearms are present, ammo is incredibly scarce. You can hold a weapon in both hands, allowing one to dual-wield a pistol and melee weapon in the game, and weapons and armor have durability ratings. Also like Demon’s and Dark Souls, Shadow Tower focuses on collecting the souls of the dead in order to improve character attributes and the effectiveness of equipment.
If you examine the leaked title screen for Project Beast, you’ll notice that the font used is very similar to the font used on the Shadow Tower box art – especially the O. Coincidence? At this point, I don’t think so.
These connections probably would have been caught by Western audiences sooner if Shadow Tower had ever been released outside of Japan. The connection was revealed to me by Dark Souls writer and enthusiast dis_pear on twitter.
I think the game will still likely be 3rd person, based upon the screenshots, and that it will still retain a strong similarity to Souls-based combat since it’s held in such high regard. Also, the mechanics of Shadow Tower would undoubtedly need to be updated in order to facilitate a respectful modern release, and many of those updates would probably be in the form of Souls similarities, therefore making the game feel more familiar to Souls fans. That would account for the fog gate, for instance. It’s likely, however, that Project Beast will end up being a dungeon crawling game similar in vein and lore to Shadow Tower, while retaining Souls combat mechanics.
What do you think? Are you excited about the possibility that this will be Shadow Tower? I love the idea of being able to pick apart lore in a game series that’s entirely new to me. Let us know what you think in the comments.