It’s been five months since FromSoftware closed out the Dark Souls series with the final piece of DLC for Dark Souls 3, The Ringed City. The full game was, as expected, critically acclaimed, and one could be forgiven for expecting the company to keep the Souls train a-rollin’. Thankfully, that does not seem to be the case. Company President Hidetaka Miyazaki confirmed that Darks Souls 3 was the series swansong, and that he wanted to create something completely new for future games. The developers have pushed the boundaries before with the release of Bloodborne, a game that stuck close to the already established mechanics of the Souls series while toying with the new, Victorian London-esque setting of Yharnam. But what can we expect from… From… next?
As yet, the developers have been tight-lipped about what direction their next game might take. After a brief flurry of recruiting new talent to the company, all has been silent. So, in lieu of actual news, I thought I’d throw a few speculative spitballs at the wall and see what sticks.
I think it’s a pretty safe bet to say that the next game will steer clear of the medieval style setting of the Souls series. From have done the sword and sorcery thing to death now, with steel-clad knights and dagger-wielding thieves stretching across four whole games. The success of Bloodborne, a game many (myself included) consider to be one of the greatest games of all time, must have bolstered their courage to think a little outside the box and experiment with interesting new settings. I’ve seen some people speculate that a sci-fi world may be next in store, or perhaps something set in a more realistic, modern-day world. Personally I’m hoping for their take on a present day, post-apocalyptic kind of setting. A modern day apocalypse designed by FromSoftware is one of the most horrifying things I can imagine. But would the tried and true Souls gameplay stand its ground in a new setting like that?
It’s hard to think about a sci-fi Souls game and not consider the Surge from developers Deck 13, or a feudal Japan setting and not think about Nioh by Team Ninja. Other creators have taken note of From Software’s success and attempted to emulate them, in turn beating them to the punch on these new time periods. These games also have a variation on the Souls RPG elements; punishing, checkpoint based nature, tight, visceral combat, deadly enemies and huge bosses. The question is, I think, are From going to try and fix what isn’t broken and veer away from their previous accomplishments, or move forward and continue tweaking what they’ve already accomplished? Again, I’d have to refer back to Bloodborne as proof that they can do essentially the same thing with minor differences and make a huge impact on the final product. I would hope that next time they’ll push the boat out just enough to stay interesting, without going too nuts on new features. Yharnam had trick-weapons, a minor change with big implications on the standard gameplay. But a more futuristic setting, for example, would have vehicles and technology to consider. Small changes that open new game design doors.
The soundtrack is totally going to be awesome you guys. I can feel it.
So… What now?
Now we… Keep waiting. While they were initially aiming for a 2017 release for anything new, as it’s now September with no word I think we can safely assume it’ll be 2018 at the earliest before we get any scraps of info from the FromSoft table. But hey, that gives us plenty of time to speculate! What do you think? What would you like to see from their next game?