When Dark Souls released for PC in 2012, it came nearly a year after the console versions and with quite a few problems – most infamously, its 30fps lock. But I live in hope that the forthcoming remaster won't need a gaggle of modders to bring it up to speed, and today publisher Bandai Namco has sent through a list of promising changes. The port is being worked on by QLOC, under supervision of From Software.
Not a lot has changed, really. 4K resolution is supported, and 60fps will be supported out of the box. Texture and lighting effects have been improved, though it'll be hard to verify this until we actually see the game in action on PC.
As for the functional changes in the Remaster, that's when things get interesting. The original Dark Souls was bullish in its insistence that you play online with strangers – organising skirmishes or cooperative outings with friends was a mix of luck and laborious trial and error. But now, the Password Matching from both Dark Souls 2 and 3 will be available, with the summoned player's level (for both character and weapon) syncing with the host.
The maximum number of online players will increase from 4 to 6, and the Dried Finger item which facilitates six-player sessions will now be available much earlier in the game (from a vendor in the Undead Burg, rather than in the secret Painted World of Ariamis). Oh, and healing items won't be available in PvP with the exception of Estus, and phantoms will have their Estus Flask count halved. When a host smites an invading phantom, their Flask count is restored.
A few other online changes:
- The Arena will support 3v3 team and six-player death match now, as well as password matching and random respawn points.
- Online network is now a dedicated server rather than P2P
- Players can now turn on/off regional matchmaking
- Players can now prevent matched red phantom players from seeing your “White Sign Soapstone” sign via option.
- Players can no longer summon ally phantoms consecutively when in combat with enemy phantoms
- In online play, players who are outside of the Host’s parameter range will not be matched with each other (the players can still be matched via Password Matching)
There are a bunch of tiny changes to the UI and at least one to the game world itself. You can now use more than one item at once (useful when you're chugging down Lost Souls of the Undead), and you can even select exactly how many to use. You can now change Covenants you've discovered at bonfires, and a collected item will no longer automatically fall into your item slot – you'll need to put it in there yourself.
And as far as changes to the game world itself: there's a new bonfire! It's beside Vamos the Blacksmith in the Catacombs. Praise the, uh, dark catacombs.
As an aside: I played the PS4 Pro version of the Remaster last week (unfortunately the PC version was unavailable). It was hard to tell much of a difference with lighting, and the textures still look like they belong to a game from 2011. But I can confirm one thing at least: Blighttown doesn't tank the framerate.
Dark Souls Remastered launches May 25.