In this week's episode, Tyler takes the helm while Evan is in Canada and the crew poorly segues between news topics including Watch Dogs, Dark Souls 2, DirectX 12, Batman: Arkham Knight, and the latest Diablo 3 patch. Wes talks about The Walking Dead, Cory is playing Shadowrun Returns: Dragonfall, and Tyler talks about The Yawhg and says some really offensive things while quoting South Park: The Stick of Truth. It turns out Cory hates poop jokes.
Dark Souls 2
Yesterday, we finally confirmed that the PC version of Dark Souls 2 will arrive on PC on April 25. Today, Namco Bandai revealed what you’ll need to run it. As expected for a game that runs on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, the recommended requirements shouldn't be too demanding for any gaming rig built in the past four years.
Prepare your soul for destruction: the sequel to the all-consuming Dark Souls will arrive on PC on April 25. On the one hand, praise the sun! On the other, grrr, that's six weeks after the US console launch date of March 11. Those of us hoping to plumb Dark Souls 2's depths on PC will have to hide away from videos, guides and discussion that might spoil the new world and the nefarious bosses within. I propose we form a cult, head down into Darkroot Garden and slay stone knights until Spring arrives.
To call Dark Souls hard is to sort of miss the point. It was a challenge, to be sure, but mainly because its story and systems were obtuse and coy enigmas hidden throughout the game. Dark Souls 2's co-director Yui Tanimura has never shied away from using the word "accessibility", causing some to worry that the game's obscurities would be more clearly signposted for the sequel.
In an interview with OXM, Namco Bandai producer Takeshi Miyazoe has explained how the team have translated their philosophy of accessibility into a game that doesn't ruin the game's mystery or challenge.
"This isn't about death, this is about what you learn from death," says this trailer's narrator, which is a pretty apt summation of Dark Souls' appeal. Worryingly, the attempt at a rousing call to arms somehow manages to be less effective than Sean Bean's Train Simulator advert. Still, it's full of small details designed to whip lore hunters into an intrigued, soapy lather. And for the rest of us, there's a big ol' dragon getting chopped up.
Dark Souls 2 will be arriving on consoles in March, with a PC version scheduled for an as-yet-unappointed time shortly thereafter. How will the sequel build on the moody, punishing and beloved first game, itself an extension of From Software's RPG tough nut, Demon's Souls? What will the new covenants be like? Will there be a way to easily team up with specific pals? Will DS2's storytelling retain the light touch of its forebears? Who better to ask than DS2 co-director Yui Tanimura, who also answered questions about PvP, voice chat, the PC port and more in our recent email exchange, presented for you below.
From Software's Yui Tanimura already apologized for uttering the terrible word "accessible" in describing the studio's upcoming Dark Souls 2. Just in case there was doubt, however, that the game would do anything but torture you without mercy, a new detail that has come to light recently should scare you straight: In Dark Souls 2, other players can invade your game even when you're "Hollow" (in an undead state).
Obviously this new Dark Souls 2 trailer isn't an exhaustive round-up of the everything that wants to kill you, because, well, if it was, it would include everything. The sequel to the infamously gruelling third-person action-RPG will, at least, continue the tradition of creating imaginative and spectacularly designed enemies. Hopefully it's that sense of horrible wonder and intrigue that will keep you moving forward as some many-limbed monstrosity pounds you into oblivion.
The Dark Souls 2 Japanese beta is underway, which of course means that loads of delicious footage has snuck its way onto the internet. It's our biggest and best glimpse of the game yet, and if you want to remain purely unspoiled you definitely, definitely shouldn't watch it - even though you already have. The beta seems to comprise one area of the game, though each of the beta testers tackles it in their own way, picking from one of a variety of classes before delving in. I'm justifying watching it by telling myself that the game is months away, and it's likely to change from the state it's in now - once you've cooked up a similar lie, you can join me guilt-free after the break.
We've known since E3 that Dark Souls 2 will debut an upgraded graphics engine, but it looks like the sequel will share at least one core feature with its predecessor as we learn that the upcoming RPG will keep its Havok physics engine, according to a report at Joystiq. Responsible for collision detection and physical simulation, the system ran the memorable rag-doll corpse behavior in the first Dark Souls game.
Good news and bad: the good is that there's a new Dark Souls 2 trailer and it features lots of killing and dying and resting at bonfires. The bad is that Dark Souls 2 won't release until after the console editions, which have been confirmed for launches on March 11 and 14 in North America and Europe respectively. According to a Eurogamer report, game director Yui Tanimura hopes to release the PC edition in the same launch window.
Several new comments have surfaced today from Dark Souls 2 producer Takeshi Miyazoe on the game's idiosyncratic approach to a multiplayer RPG. Miyazoe emphasizes how DS2 isn't going to try and compete with or copy other sorts of multiplayer approaches, but rather focus on keeping player interactions fleeting and powerful, according to an interview with Shack News.
True* Gamescom fact: to cope with the hordes of heroic reporters, all furiously typing about the show's latest news and announcements, the governments of the world were forced to cordon off 12% of the internet. As a result, those cat gifs you love are loading around three seconds slower than usual. Has it been worth such a high price? To find out, have a browse through our collected round-up of news from the second day.
If you can't quite imagine what a sequel to Dark Souls might look like, From Software and Namco Bandai have you covered with this giant batch of DaS2 screenshots, which feature dragons, bonfires, fights with the undead, and a bleaker atmosphere than your average Danish crime drama. It's all stuff we've seen before, mainly in the E3 demo, but the images do show those scenes in a new angle - that angle being 'quite close to the ground'.
Considering how brutal Dark Souls is—a brutality that keeps many gamers at arm’s length–it’d be easy to think that its sequel would try to be more inviting for new players. My fears of a kinder, gentler game plagued my wait in line for the Dark Souls 2 E3 demo, even as I watched players ahead of me get crushed by the low-level undead warriors that populate the first halls.
Inevitably, much of the discussion around Dark Souls 2 is going to focus on its difficulty. It's not because Dark Souls was "hard". It was, sure, but it was hard in an interesting way - punishing mistakes and lapses of attention, rather than grinding you down in a battle of attrition. So naturally, people want to know if Dark Souls 2 can pull of that same delicate balance. According to the series' new director Yui Tanimura, that's exactly what he's focused on doing.
Now that the blinding glare of every major publisher simultaneously projecting marketing at us has dimmed, we have a clearer picture of what E3 2013 revealed, what's important to us, and what we expect to be playing on PC within the next couple years. And here it all is.
Dark Souls 2's E3 trailer showed a game that was unmistakably Dark Souls, albeit overlayed with a hilariously inappropriate nu-metal soundtrack. What was less obvious was the enhancements made to the game's new engine. Beyond a few nicer particle effects, will it really have a dramatic difference? According to the game's co-director, Yui Tanimura: yes, it will. Of course, he would say that.
Once you got past the spectacle of Microsoft and Sony competing for the honor of delivering the console that promised to annoy gamers the least, it was impossible not to see a fantastic year ahead for PC gamers. Across every genre and from the biggest studios to the greenest fledgling indies we found something on the show floor (an overwhelming arena of animatronic monsters, light shows, and pounding wubwub) to arouse PC gamers of every stripe. So that wasn’t the problem. The tough part was winnowing down the list of nominees for our Best in Show accolades.
This year's conference has been the best in years. We've seen lots of footage of announced games, and almost as much of until-now unannounced ones. Check our list to keep up with the best PC games of E3 2013, discover six reasons why the PC is winning the show and read our take on the press conference that PC gamers deserve for an overview of all that's gone on in the last few action-packed days in PC land.
To boot, we've also pulled all of the best videos of the show into one place so you can absorb moving images of the finest games on the show floor this year and decide which ones look most promising. Make a nice hot drink and enjoy the best that the show has to offer.