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.
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'.
A confession: I dislike almost all of the deified classics of early arcade gaming. Space Invaders? Rubbish. Tetris? Boring. And Pac-Man? Well he can just do one. Fortunately, Namco realised that they'd created an interminably dull top-down avoid-'em-up, and made Pac-Man Championship Edition DX+, which fixed the formula by adding an escalating cacophony of lights, sound, twitch maze navigating action, and - well - fun. Previously it had been locked away in the hidden world of the Windows Store. Now it's now due for a proper PC release, with a Steam listing announcing a late September launch.
Upcoming free-to-play Ridge Racer Driftopia—which already has kind of a cheeseball name—has coined a new term, "Free 2 Drift," which I'm sure is a name that nobody will regret within the fortnight. And it's out now. Kind of. It's technically in closed beta, but worming your way into the racing crowd is a cinch.
Reflecting JJ Abrams’ flashier, dumber Star Trek, the inevitable videogame spinoff is – you guessed it – a cover shooter. If you want to feel like the captain of your own starship, exploring the universe and seducing aliens, play Mass Effect. This is a game where you crouch behind bits of scenery and shoot giant lizards with lasers.
Ah, E3. Do we love you or hate you? On one hand, that single week of June is filled with so much flashy marketing it makes our eyes ache, but on the other, we get to learn awesome new things about video games. Even now, a full week before E3, we're learning stuff. For instance: a massive banner slapped on the LA Convention Center has today confirmed the release date for masochism-simulator Dark Souls 2.
Dark Souls is meant to be brutal and unforgiving - that's part of the appeal. Still, the PCs Prepare to Die edition might have taken the philosophy a bit too far. The heavy burden of a capped framerate, the blight of forced 720 rendering, the foul stench of Games for Windows Live; all signs that From Software had failed to overcome the demons of PC porting.
Dark Souls II director Yui Tanimura agrees. In an interview with ShackNews he said (through a translator), "A lot of it was not very well done, sort of half-assed." The good news is that, for the sequel, the team have been developing the PC version alongside the consoles.
"There are soldiers," proclaims the absurd launch trailer for Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2, "and then there are snipers." A slogan illustrated by a man heroically shooting at a helicopter pilot from a safe distance. Like its predecessor, Ghost Warrior 2 takes place in a series of extreme environments: in this case a jungle, a Tibetan mountain range and (er) Sarajevo, which by the looks of it appear to offer speedboats, stealth assassinations, and the classic Shooting at People from Blown-out Windows. The game is out next week, and now we know that it features a scene where you jump out the way of an explosion. Not very stealthy, that.
Dark Souls is meant to be brutal and unforgiving, but the game's PC port may have taken that philosophy too far. The framerate cap and dodgy resolution rendering can be fixed with mods, but if you want to play co-op with a friend, things become even more complicated. That's because a combination of summoning rules, awkward P2P connections and counter-intuitive advice can make successful summoning a nightmare. Fortunately, a Steam user has collected together a complete guide to the dos and don'ts of network connection.
According to Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart, Baldur's Gate 3 was on the table in a serious way not too long ago. In an interview with Kotaku, he revealed that Atari, owners of the rights to Dungeons & Dragons-based games, were interested in the project and had even given the verbal thumbs-up on a Mass Effect-sized budget.
Dark Souls 2 was officially announced last night at the Spike Videogame Awards, but our friends over at the Edge magazine hive-mind have already been to see it. Indeed, it's on the cover of their next issue, out on December 20th.
According to the data readouts from the Edge Seeker Drone dispatched to assess progress on the sequel, a good deal of creative control has passed into the hands of new directors Tomohiro Shibuya and Yui Tanimura, while Hidetaka Miyazaki ascends to a higher plane of management. How this will change the series direction is a big question - already the sequel would have to deal with conflicting pressures: the need to replicate the potency of Dark Souls' challenge and the need to make itself more accessible.
"Use cover to avoid fire.” That was the first in-game tip that Inversion gave me, and it explains the game more succinctly than I could hope to. It’s a third-person shooter in the Gears of War vein, set in a generic American city attacked by primitive cultists. You move between areas full of waist-high walls, duck behind them, kill everything in the room, then run (or, more accurately, waddle-sprint) to the next. Sometimes there’s a turret section – you know, just to spice things up.
First, I’ll give you something Dark Souls never does: a warning. Brought to PC by From Software, this port of the Japanese fight-heavy action-RPG is just that: a port. A straight port.
It plays like someone took an Xbox 360, packaged it up small, and slid it into your PC when you weren’t looking. The HUD is huge, the textures muddy, and such luxuries as control over field of view and vsync are nonexistent.
Ask yourself how you pronounce ‘PC game’. If your emphasis is on the ‘PC’, then run. Run far from Dark Souls and don’t look back. There is nothing for you here.
There are many reasons to run. The twisted, shrouded, uneasy medieval fantasy land of Lordran stretches away like the darkest night. Go the wrong way, probe too deeply into the inky depths, and the things that lurk there will get you.
My best analogy: it reminds me of being six years old and hearing a noise downstairs in a dark house.
Namco Bandai spent E3 carefully managing expectations for the upcoming PC port of Dark Souls. They've said that From Software aren't doing much to optimise the game on PC, but hope that the addition of new areas and bosses will make up for those shortcomings. It'd be reasonable to worry that Dark Souls PC might come with the bloated hard disk and processor requirements common among clumsy ports, but according to the system requirements spotted on the updated Steam page by Eurogamer that's not the case. If you've got a dual-core CPU, Dark Souls will sit primly on 4GB of HDD.
More curiously, Dark Souls PC's multiplayer mode "requires" a microphone headset, which suggests vocal communication will be an integral part of the upgraded multiplayer features that From Software are adding to the Prepare to Die edition.
Update: The mention of a microphone requirement was an error, Namco Bandai inform EG that Dark Souls PC won't support in-game chat. Bum.
There were some worrying noises from the Dark Souls camp during E3 last week. Dark Souls producer Daisuke Uchiyama told Eurogamer that From Software "haven't been able to step up into doing any specific optimisation for PC," admitting that the framerate problems present in the console versions will likely persist. “It’s more strictly a port from the console version," he said.
Later in the show, Graham asked Nobu Taguchi of Namco Bandai America about the challenges of bringing Dark Souls to PC. Taguchi painted a picture of a studio surprised by the sudden demand for a PC version, struggling to meet the expectations of a new audience. He admits that "from an experience background From Software and Namco Bandai ourselves, we don’t really have that strong PC experience."
Hugely-loved action RPG Dark Souls is coming to the PC. Woohoo! It might have Games for Windows Live. Boo! It definitely has a little gameplay footage and new screenshots. Woohoo! The gameplay footage and screenshots are also cursed.
The footage is in that traditional shaky-cam-with-silhouettes-moving-in-front-of-the-camera format so beloved of E3. It shows a new monster, a blue liony type thing with multiple accoutrements - wings, horns and a scorpion's tail. It looks like the kind of creature you'd make when you first installed Spore and didn't really understand it. Also, the hero dies. Funny that. See below for new screenshots.
FlatOut was a stunt racer with a mode in which players attempted to launch their drivers through the windscreen of their cars and over obstacles. Ridge Racer is best remembered as an arcade racer about blue skies and power slides. These two games combining is only the first counter-intuitive thing about Unbounded.
A huge petition from fans helped to bring Dark Souls to the PC. Great news. But then, like a horror movie villain waiting for the most dramatic moment to strike, Games for Windows Live leapt out of the dark and started rubbing its gurning corporate face all over our lovely RPG. Get off it, GfWL, go on, get! Back in the closet with you.
So, in response, a group of players organised another petition asking Namco Bandai to surgically remove all trace of Games for Windows Live from Dark Souls. "GFWL is unpopular, difficult to use, inconvenient, and can be very annoying for many users," says the petition. It has 20,350 signatures.
Namco Bandai have responded to say that the fans have been heard, and hint that the Games for Windows Live setup isn't necessarily a done deal. There may yet be hope.
The monsters in Dark Souls can get very big. The man-sized denizens that inhabit the RPG's castles and caves are enough of a threat, but it's the bosses that are really going to mess us up. The PC version will come with a few extra ones, because Namco Bandai know that we PC gamers can take it.
I'm not scared. Just look at the dragon in these screenshots, it's running away! And check out the giant, he's running away as well! Pfff, they're going to have to get a bit braver if they're going to offer us the sort of challenge console players have been complaining about.