Now that Dark Souls is completed as a franchise (for the time being at least), From Software is moving on to other projects. Given how they evolved Dark Souls over 3 games, we got to wondering how Bloodborne would evolve if they released sequels for it, especially since it’s so different from Dark Souls. What better a resource to thought experiment with than our own Fextralife community full of rabid Soulsborne enthusiasts! What follows is a breakdown of the features we would like to see in a Bloodborne sequel, with an eye towards what improvements we would like to see on certain features.
Weapons & Equipment
Weapons are obviously a huge component of Bloodborne and the Souls series games and players have no shortage of opinions on what their ideal form should be. Bloodborne was a departure in that it featured a significantly less amount of weapons than Dark Souls games typically feature, but these weapons were trick weapons which transformed, effectively doubling their amount. Combined with the firearms, there certainly were options for player builds, but the general sentiment leans towards including more weapons both melee and ranged, without skimping on their quality. The Old Hunters DLC attempted to alleviate the perceived shortage and it’s probably safe to hope that the base sequel will feature a few more tools for the toolbox. Beyond number, a meaningful take on the variants of regular, uncanny and lost would be welcome as opposed to just differing gem slots. Going beyond that, evolving the transformations seems like a good fit here, and From could go foundational and have the transformations result in more dramatic changes, or even go crazy and add more than 1 transformation per weapon.
There were certain favorites that we’d love to see return. Some of the weapons included in the first game were strongly attached to by players and although freshness is good, some old standbys are always welcome. Logarius’ Wheel anyone?
Regardless of new tweaks, split damages through arcane and elemental gems were not intuitive for players and were mostly frustrating. And speaking of gems, farming and grinding for just the right one was an exercise in tedium even by From Software’s standards. A removal of the obtuse and almost thankless nature of diving to get exactly what you need what be welcome. We don’t need to be swimming in them, but a little better payoff would be great.
Additionally Hunter Tools were great in concept but limited in usefulness, especially for those players who wanted a focused arcane build. Granted the world of Bloodborne is a low magic setting but these were enticing toys to play with. Tying them to quicksilver bullets, and making several of them costly really hampered our ability to make dedicated builds around them. It would be great to have a new mechanic apart from using bullets, or to preserve lore, some type of rune or stat scaling that minimized their costs.
Better PvP, With a Dedicated Arena
The Chime Maiden mechanic was an uneven implementation that pinned environmental PvP on the existence of a single NPC. The concept was interesting in theory, but in practice hurt the game’s online longevity by keeping players apart. It may be better to have them spawn instead in multiple locations and have them appear under more circumstances. In one possible method, perhaps a player who invades often and kills many hosts could have bell maidens start appearing in their own world even without ringing a sinister bell. Alternatively perhaps Hunters of Hunters could appear in a blood-addled player’s world without a bell maiden. Tweaks like these could make the online play more dynamic and also clump PvP players together, decreasing the barriers for interaction and giving everyone more of what they want. This was would also be an opportunity to further expand and improve the oaths and have them operate even more like factions for online interaction.
Another suggestion to improve the PvP experience would be a specific arena for dueling similar to Dark Souls 3. This is always going to be the easiest way to increase the game’s online competitive viability by giving players a dedicated venue to launch into. From Software has now demonstrated they grasp the concept of matchmaking options and these mechanics could be easily implemented, either through a separate launch in like in Dark Souls 3, a world location like in Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2 or even a chalice dungeon.
Furthermore, a player respec option like that found in the Dark Souls series would give PvP enthusiasts options for redoing builds with minimal grind and would give PvE players another option especially when facing a particularly troublesome section or boss. Being able to reallocate those points will go a long way towards keeping players motivated and engaged without cheapening the experience.
Improved Chalice Dungeons
Speaking of chalice dungeons, these (sometimes) procedural farming dives were one of the more polarizing elements from the first game. Some found them a treat in gem farming, others found them a tedious and repetitive excursion with little to no payoff.
Overall they could use an improvement to both their structure and mechanics to bring the idea to its fullest potential. Many of the story related dungeons were just a means to an end, because their primary rewards were just ways to unlock others. Having to clear a series of dungeons to get to the harder areas is one thing, but having them reward little for clearing each along the way really extracted a lot of their potential fun. When using the Short Ritual Root Chalice, better matchmaking options would be much better, allowing us to search through all the different parameters such as specific locations or rites. As far as rites go, increasing the variety of these offerings and other random dungeon effects would go a long way to making the dungeons more enjoyable and stay fresh longer.
As far as design, the samey nature of the dungeons made them boring over time for players, with the different dungeon settings all very similar to each other. Within these settings, the room layouts were very repetitive and ultimately predictable. Varying up both the dungeon themes for starker differentiation and adding more room layouts would give players more of the “game within a game” experience we hoped it would be. This can be expanded upon by tying drops to these locations and even to the types of enemy drops and where the enemy appears, similar to how the base game functions. This would give the dungeons more cohesion, make more sense (put a boss where they fit thematically for crying out loud) and give farmers more targeted direction on where they need to be hunting. When putting together a build, knowing which dungeons are going to deliver which range of gems will allow players of different specializations focus on a specific dungeons. Every dungeon could drop radials, and beyond each could be tied to its own specific shape. So when someone building for example an Arcane build comes along they know right away where to head to find radial and triangle gems.
The lore around these dungeons could use a boost. Right now, there really isn’t a good reason to go in there, other than because it’s there or because you’re farming. The enemies don’t match each other, and overall there really isn’t a logical progression at work here so putting specific bosses in there outside of the main game felt odd, especially if you were expected to trudge through a bunch of repetitive content just to encounter them. For such a big portion of the game’s available content, there really needs to be an impetus to spend any time there at all. Perhaps a shadow realm recreation of base game locations with a lore reason, or some full fledged level design like exploring the catacombs would add freshness.
The locations of the story were a hit with players but they didn’t come without their issues in how they were traversed. The most glaring departure from Dark Souls was the inability to warp to other zones. Instead, to enter other zones, you were forced to return to the Hunter’s Dream and then choose a different tombstone to travel to, similar to how the Nexus in Demon’s Souls functioned. This added an extra step that wasn’t necessary and it did not feel as tidy as it did in Demon’s Souls, whose archstones were leaner in amount of locations.
Once in the world, the locations all featured some of the conventions we were used to like unlockable shortcuts and hidden areas, but what they lacked was some verticality. Areas like Sen’s Fortress were so memorable because they let players play in 3D space, and had to pay attention to above and below. The insight system was also a new addition and while it revealed new things to players and added some new shop interactivity and resistance, it’s something that could really be built on, even to a point of increased distortion of the game world. If insight did much more dramatic things, similar to the world and character tendency mechanics in Demon’s Souls such as spawning new enemies, impacting drops or opening new areas it could really give a reason to play around with raising or lowering it. While we’re talking about alterations, these conditions could possibly even give rise to changes to the players themselves, such as changing them into beasts or kin depending on what criteria they meet.
NPC questlines have always been a fan favorite and if Dark Souls 3 is any indication, this is something we can hope to see expanded upon in Bloodborne 2. The few that were in the first game were great, but there was definitely room for more! These questlines really serve to tell the game’s narrative and create attachments to these characters and the stories they inhabit. Having the sequel chock full of interactions will really give a reason to spend time getting to know them and their motivations. And, when it comes to NPCs, no From Software game is complete without Patches. It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: Bring Patches back.
The lore and story in Bloodborne were stellar and unfolded exactly how a standard Soulsborne series game would, cryptic and full of half clues. At this point, we are quite accustomed to this formula and wouldn’t expect it any other way. Bloodborne had just the right amount of exposition and hidden info to keep lore hounds hunting without feeling like they were running into dead ends.
Overall we can see that Bloodborne didn’t do much of anything bad at all. It did many things great, and at worst a handful of its features felt unfinished more than just outright poor. We’ve collected a few of those incomplete features here, and believe with just a few more tweaks and some extra time spent developing them, these misses could easily become strengths. For a game we already scored a 9.5, shoring up these few areas while retaining everything that was good about the first could put the sequel in some rarefied air indeed. What are your thoughts? Hit the comments and let us know what you want to see in Bloodborne 2!
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