The experience of Dark Souls is a unique one. On the one hand you are alone. Crushingly alone. But on the other hand you are never alone. There are messages from other players scrawled on the path in the actual game and then there is the community itself. Whenever someone starts Dark Souls there is a group of players cheering from the sidelines — on twitter, on forums. Fans want other people to play it, to understand it, to get it.
It's for this reason that I completely understand Shuhei Yoshida, President of SCE Worldwide Studios, when he discusses how Dark Souls and Demons Souls influenced the design of the PS4.
The PlayStation Blog ran a really interesting podcast today and managed to get Shuhei Yoshida onboard to talk all things PlayStation 3. After naming his top 10 games of that generation, he went on to discuss how Dark Souls influenced some of the ideas of what Sony wanted to bring to the PS4.
"Lots of things these games – Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls – did, like leaving the message to other people asynchronously, so you feel connected, but not really connected at the same time, all of these things inspired us when we were designing the system features for PS4," he explained.
"I enjoy so much watching people play Dark Souls on YouTube. These games still have a special place in my memory."
I loved that feeling. You are completely alone in this harsh unforgiving world then, a message. Someone has been here before. This person understands my position. We know one another. We've felt the same things. Messages in Dark Souls were a connector. Usually in video games encounters with another human mean battle. We are used to fighting to the death, not helping and empathising with one another. It was a different, alien connection, but a beautiful one all the same.
And just for reference, here are Yoshida's favourite PS3 games...
1. Journey 2. Demon’s Souls/Dark Souls (tie) 3. Demon’s Souls/Dark Souls (tie) 4. The Last of Us 5. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves 6. Sound Shapes (Favorite PS Vita game) 7. Persona 4: The Golden 8. LittleBigPlanet 9. Grand Theft Auto V 10. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
You can listen to the podcast in its entirety here