Dark Souls III: New Ways to Die With Creator Hidetaka Miyazaki
Dark Souls III was heavily promoted at this year’s E3, but its showing got the closed door treatment. Lucky us, because these special screenings were presided over by the game’s mastermind Hidetaka Miyazaki himself. With the help of his translator, he carefully guided us through some of the grand new world he’s created.
This is the first Dark Souls game to be created specifically for next gen systems and you can tell the difference straight away. In Dark Souls III, the end times have arrived and the series’ primary antagonist, the Lord of Cinders presides over a realm of even greater ruin and grim beauty. Storms of ash made from dying and dead dragons randomly drift through the landscape. The tattered rags on your armor blow dynamically with the wind, and even the sparks from your torch move with surprising new life. Miyazaki showed us an area called the Wall of Lodeleth which features a huge castle in the distance, surrounded by towns, various other structures, towers, and places to explore. He assured us that you can explore everything you see – no matter how distant. Nothing is there just to be background filler.
He then discussed improvements to the combat system. It’s very similar to previous iterations, but surprisingly different in very appealing ways. Your avatar is much faster and dodges better. While this might initially seem like something that will make the game easier, that’s quickly taken care of by the game’s difficulty being raised across the board. Weapons have also been improved and each have special abilities and move sets all their own. In the previous games, you could switch from one handed to two and it would change the way a weapon attacked and defended – in Dark Souls III this is taken one step further.
Miyazaki stated that once again everything has been made to kill you. Enemy skills, enemy placements, fire breathing dragons… The game should be played with careful observation. It’s not a game to run through while you hack and slash. Learn where the enemy is, how he moves, split them up, and strike. What’s more, enemy spawning is far more ruthless. Now they respawn without limit when you rest at a bonfire.
Enemy knights have also come back in a big way: large, heavily armored, super-fast, with devastating attacks. You’ll have to use all of your wits and skills to defeat them – Especially the ones with spears, of which Miyazaki laughed and said, “you know there’s going to be trouble when you see a spear knight in a Dark Souls game. They have extremely long reach and can charge at you instantly. There’s no escape but death sometimes.”
Miyazaki then showcased how bosses would be more dynamic, more unique, and bring more pain. His example was a boss called “Dancer of Frigid Valley”. She’s a huge distorted figure covered with thin metallic armor and face mask with a veil. She looked and moved like a belly dancer (minus the sensual undulating) and carried a gnarled, flaming sword. Battling her, every slash caused the ground to spark and ignite – changing where you could walk safely. Then we were introduced to a new feature: the boss went into a second phase. Another sword appeared, this one covered in water, and the dual wielding monstrosity now summoned waves of water followed by streams of flame. This was devastating, as it should be, and the demo presenter died in a big way.
As we were nearing the end of our presentation, Miyazaki took a few questions from the audience. Since no one in the showing aside from me was an English speaker, consider all of these quotes paraphrased.
Q: What was your inspiration for the game?
Miyazaki: Fantasy. I love Bloodborne, but it’s more of a gothic horror game. I welcomed the return to fantasy with Dark Souls III.
Q: Since bows have been upgraded, is it possible to just play the entire game with them and beat it?
Miyazaki: You can certainly try. [Laughs] This game is designed so you can use whatever you’d like, but if you stick to the bow the whole game, you’re going to encounter major challenges you may not be able to overcome. Is it possible? Yes, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
Q: Will arcane be used in this game?
Miyazaki: Yes, we are not showing it to you today but just like with combat, it’s going to be similarly evolved and improved upon.
Q: What are the consequences for dying in this game and are they severe?
Miyazaki: There will be consequences for dying, but we are not ready to tell you the details. Please stand by.
With all these improvements and increased difficulty, this is no doubt the best Dark Souls yet. Prepare to die (again) early 2016.