There were three games that had a chance at being my GOTY. Dark Souls 2 (of course), Trials Fusion, and The Witcher 3. With the Witcher delayed, and Trials being a tad disappointing for me, the ol' Dark Trolls has it pretty much wrapped up. But it ain't perfect — and with the second of three DLC packs released today, my fingers are crossed the extra content will plug some of the holes in the lore.
Hindsight is important in the Souls series. Lore is sparse, deliberately understated so that only players who delve into it find answers. Even then, it's impossible for one player to find it all — it typically takes the wider community several months to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. I've likened the story of Dark Souls and Demon's Souls to a book that had every fourth page ripped out, leaving it up to the reader's imagination and clues found elsewhere to fill in the gaps. It's a brilliant by-product of producer Hidetaka Miyazaki's experience reading novels about the medieval West, in which he couldn't fully understand the English.
Trouble is, it's been a while now, and many big questions from Dark Souls 2 are still unanswered. With pretty much all possible information gleaned from the game, including cut content extracted by the data miners, we're left with puzzle pieces that don't really fit together. It's as if instead of writing the novel and then ripping the pages out, this time they simply didn't bother to write the unused pages — and it's not the same.
What did Vendrick retrieve from the giants? What's the true nature of Nashandra? How are the giants related to the dragons? How did Gwyn evolve into the Old Iron King, or is the answer actually just "something something Gwyn something something fire".
It's easy to speculate to speculate that this might be due to Miyazaki not taking the Producer role on Dark Souls 2, instead providing input on the project while overseeing his next game, Bloodborne. Perhaps that's reaching too far, but anyone who's read how he talks in Design Works knows how much thought he gives to why something is there. That's what's missing in Dark Souls 2. There are lots of interesting things... But why.
The community has been great in coming up with theories, and of course lore interpreters like VaatiVidya are in fine form, as always. But it's been long enough, now. We've been happy for a while to say the jury is out on Dark Souls 2 lore. Now, it appears the jury isn't coming back.
Enter the DLC. Three scheduled packs of content within three months, the second of which just went live today. I played through the first pack, Crown of the Sunken King, and it was well worth it for the large areas and boss fights. But, without giving anything away, there was an extra piece of lore hidden in there, and the promise of more afterwards.
Tonight I'll be hammering through the second pack. Literally — with a hammer. And I don't expect any major questions to be answered when I retrieve the second crown. But in a month, when I get that third crown? To not give us answers would be missing a huge opportunity. This is From Software's chance to retroactively fix the one lacking element of Dark Souls 2.
Maybe they did think about it, planned everything, and it's all there somewhere. If that's the case, then they should be looking at the community and saying, "Alright, nobody is even close to guessing it, it's time to throw them a bone."
Throw us a bone, From. We've licked the other bones clean of meat, and we're still hungry.