Dark Souls, the spiritual successor to notoriously difficult role-playing game Demon's Souls, is guaranteed to be even more punishing. So says Dark Souls director Hidetaka Miyazaki, who also reveals that players - not just giant wolves and zombie dragons - will be inflicting more pain on each other.
Miyazaki explains in the new issue of Edge magazine that the game's messaging system that lets players leave helpful tips and warnings to other Dark Souls players can also be harmful. That was true of Demon's Souls, in a sense, as some players dropped disinformation from time to time.
But Dark Souls will reportedly feature a "keener competitive edge", with players seeing real benefit from actively tricking their fellow players. "It's how you play with people's minds, how you help or trick other people," Miyazaki tells Edge. "It's not necessarily about how skilled you are, but how smart you are."
Players will also be encourage - perhaps forced - to attack other players online. Miyazaki explains that we "may be tasked with hunting down a certain item that another has in his or her possession."
"It's usually posed a bit like a competitive version of Lord of the Rings in which one player has the ring and the other characters must find him, attack him and attempt to claim the ring for themselves," he says. Demon's Souls put players in the position of player-versus-player combat during a fight in which players assume the role of a major boss, the Old Monk. But it appears that Dark Souls will explore this notion even further.
Dark Souls' difficulty will be ratcheted up with another new aspect: the degradation of the player's mind. Characters will mentally suffer to the point where they may devolve into a "zombie or monster" in Dark Souls.
There's more information in the pages of the latest Edge, including Dark Souls' unusual approach to an ending, which is out at newsstands this week.
Dark Souls is coming to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 later this year, courtesy of From Software and publisher Namco Bandai.