Dark Souls II will focus on "freedom" and "accessibility," looks gorgeous

With the reveal of some gorgeous screenshots of Dark Souls II and a glimpse of its masochistic gameplay yesterday, there's been quite a bit of buzz about From Software's brutal action-RPG. Last week, game's director Yuri Tanimura lead a round table discussion dishing about some of the more ideological goals of the new game.

"In terms of freedom what we mean is Dark Souls had this seamlessly connected world with free exploration, and we tried to enhance that further to provide more options for the players to choose from and decide how he or she wants to play based on their play styles."

The new Dark Souls II gameplay footage shows exactly what he meant: you'll have more options for approaching and attacking enemies. But the scale isn't tipping completely in players' favor: monsters and bosses can now bust through walls and rip you to pieces.

Yuri Tanimura also mentioned accessibility, a word which might make players wince with apprehension. He said fans could rest easy: "So, just to clarify, when we said the word 'accessible,' I'm sure there were people who took that as the game becoming a little bit easier, which is not the case."

I didn't and still can't get too far into Dark Souls, or its spiritual prequel Demon Souls. I tend to run through games on easy just to get the story, then go back and beat myself over the head with more punishing difficulties. More broadly, I'm glad to see brutal games like Dark Souls join XCOM, DayZ, and roguelikes like FTL in finding a level of mainstream success.