Details of Dark Souls 2 have started to emerge. Famitsu magazine have been talking to Hidetaka Miyazaki - director of Dark Souls, now in a supervisory role for the sequel - about the connection between the two games.
In the interview (translated by Polygon ), Miyazaki said, "If we're going to announce this as a sequel to Dark Souls then I think there's certainly a core that we need to protect. I'm talking about how we think about the difficulty level and how you achieve things in-game; about the concepts behind the mechanics and level design."
That should be reassuring to anyone worried that the follow-up wouldn't also be bastard hard.
"Outside of that core, though, I think it's better to leave things to the discretion of the director. There's a lot around that core that we need to fix or adjust, besides, and individual touches always tend to come out in the world setting and artwork, so I'm not meddling in that very much."
In particular, it seems, the setting will be a rather big change, with the story not necessarily following on from its predecessor. "The game is set in a different part of the same planet -- to put it another way, if the first game was set in the North Pole, this one would be in the South Pole; that sort of contrast."
He also teased that "time" was one of the central keywords. "I can't give concrete details about this yet, so hopefully you'll be able to use your imagination for now." Sure thing: the characters of Dark Souls 2 are all robots, the game takes place in the future, and the whole thing is performed for the entertainment of sentient gas clouds. On second thoughts, maybe not.
Tomohiro Shibuya, the game's new director, did admit to one feature From Software were pursuing: dedicated servers. "Setting up a dedicated server lets you retain your data, making it easier to share it with other players. We'd like to evolve the asynchronous message-oriented online support from the previous game; we're imagining a framework where players are able to directly interact with each other."
"I think the concept behind online play in Demon's Souls and Dark Souls was pretty plain to gamers, so I'm hoping we can evolve on that concept here without removing ourselves too far from it."
Is more direct interaction with players something you'd like to see in the game?