Dark Souls PC release date announced: new bosses, PVP modes, Games for Windows Live
Prepare to Die Edition. That's actually what it's called. Namco Bandai have announced that the PC version of Dark Souls - one of the most acclaimed console games of last year - will be available on August 24.
Aside from standard PC goodness like smooth framerates and extra resolutions, we're getting a PVP mode that'll make it easier to organise one-on-one battles and a new chapter of content. "Artorias of the Abyss" will bring new bosses, including a toothed hand, a disinterested dragon and a lion who's grown wings and horns. Oh, and Games for Windows Live - one of the most deadly fun-killers ever created by man - that'll also feature.
The console version of Dark Souls supported multiplayer but on its own terms. Players could join each other's games, but the co-op and PVP components were strictly anonymous experiences that didn't break the relentlessly punishing atmosphere. One of the most intriguing bits of Dark Souls is touching other players' blood stains to track their final moments before death - possibly providing intel to plan your own cautious advance. It was also the first game to disable the 360's voice chat in order to stop players talking about fun things when they should be in a state of perpetual dread.
Personally? I like playing games on my own terms. We have VOIP clients, expensive headsets and extremely talented modders. I doubt the Dark Souls client will survive its first week on release intact.
That might be why Games for Windows Live is incoming - it's an excellent delivery mechanism for frustrating interfaces, lost installs and connection drops, but it won't quell modders' desire to tweak the hell out of Dark Souls. That said, it could stop players from taking their tweaks online; Street Fighter IV - another GFWL game - received a healthy selection of mods, but only unmodified clients got to fight on the official servers.
Dark Souls online modes will almost definitely work in the same way; it'll get modded to hell and back but you'll likely need to use Games For Windows Live and the standard client to access the features that make the experience so distinctive.