Dark Souls 3 Doesn't Yet Acknowledge Dark Souls 2

I recently played through a demo of Dark Souls 3, which was as keen as anything to reference itself. But despite bursting at the seams with self-love, there wasn't one nod to the trials & tribulations of finding Vendrick.

File this one under "just saying". This is one of those times when I'm not sure if this is actually a thing or not, but... I just find it quite odd that in a demo full of fan-pleasing Easter eggs - and I mean, full of them - there's not one bit of love for Drangleic.

It took me an hour to beat the demo's boss. I was expecting far longer, because Dark Souls 2's E3 demo featured one hell of a souped-up Mirror Knight. But then again, that was right after producer Tanimura had commented that the game would be more "accessible", and From Software used the demo to prove that "accessible" by no means meant "easy".

But in the space of that hour, I noticed unmistakable throwbacks -- some typically cryptic, some blindingly obvious, but all of them pre-Vendrick.

In the covenant icon slot, there's an unmissable Sunbro icon. Right next to the demo's boss, there's a Red Eye knight -- and yes, it's harder. Various tombstones have epitaphs that reference the Lord of Cinder, as well as an exile who was haunted by a dark sun. The beloved Elite Knight armour is front & centre, as usual. Online, some have pointed out that Anor Londo knight statues are subtly present, and I have my suspicions that a statue in the main boss arena is actually Artorias. Not a small amount of nostalgia thrown into that one hour.

But what about *anything* from Dark Souls 2? What about the Pursuer? The Lost Sinner? The Flexile Sentry? Demon of Song? Velstadt? The Ruin Sentinels? Throne Watcher and Defender? The Smelter Demon? The Looking Glass Knight and his damnable squires? These are all iconic, memorable moments, and any Souls game coming afterwards is standing on the shoulders of Vendrick's giants.

As Youtuber VaatiVidya notes, you can actually feel the original Dark Souls in the controls as well. Its parry is a lot closer to the first one, and the more modern elements of movement and combat pacing feel moreso from Bloodborne than Dark Souls 2.

I actually spoke to Vaati to get his take, and he pointed out that a crown features prominently in one of the trailers, as well as a giant rising at the end of the trailer. That's a fair point, though there's no telling if the crown is a Crown or if the giant is a Giant. The giant in the trailer does emit embers as the Old Iron King would, but why would he suddenly be wearing armour?

Perhaps the best theory I've heard is that if Dark Souls 3 is all about the previous lighters of the flame, referred to in 3 as Lords of Cinder, were all rising again, then the events of Drangleic would be only as meaningful as every other link in the chain of fire.

That's the lore explanation, anyway. The real life explanation could be a lot more along the lines of Dark Souls 2 not being something From was proud of. Tanimura has spoke about problems during the project, and it's also possible that series creative Hidetaka Miyazaki simply prefers the content made directly under him.

I'm just a little bit worried that Drangleic is being written out of history. Some Souls fans might actually like that -- it's the weakest in terms of lore, though I'd argue it's the strongest in other aspects. Drangleic lore doesn't tie into itself as well as that of Lordran or Boletaria. We're used to there being hidden answers to the questions, and in Dark Souls 2, we never found them. But it's still a world we spent a crazy amount of time in, fell in love with, and were passionate enough about to down the most bosses ever in a Souls game (and best designed), as well as three DLC packs. The last of which, I might add, ends with one of the best moments in the series.

I just don't want to see all of that erased. I don't even want to think the creators want it erased. I don't even like knowing they're ashamed of it in any way, because I freaking loved it.

Lie to me, From. Lie to me with a smile on your face and tell me Santa is real. And embrace your history, warts and all. God knows Dark Souls wasn't without warts. Bed of Chaos, anyone? I'll settle for Titchy Gren's head on a pike (and covered in blood, natch), or the phrase "seek misery" casually thrown in somewhere.

Just as long as it's real.


Comments

    But what about the Pursuer? The Lost Sinner? The Flexile Sentry? Demon of Song? Velstadt? The Ruin Sentinels? Throne Watcher and Defender? The Smelter Demon? The Looking Glass Knight and his damnable squires?

    Yeah, actually... there was quite a lot I liked about DS2.

      There was a lot of good, but also a lot of bad.

        Never saw the bad, how do you know it exists?

          The bit that clicked for me that something was just not right was the Lost Sinner bonfire that was not safe. Archers spawn camping you? That's not Souls.

            Mmm, fair point that. Inconsistent with the rest of the series. Then there was that bonfire right after Freja (though it wasn't lit yet), where Vengarl's body comes swinging at you, lol. After that boss fight, all you wanna do is rest. Such Dark Trolls.

              Haha, I didn't mind that: I'm always on guard after a boss fight, just in case... so I was all "Aha! Vindication for my paranoia!"

      Problem I had there is 8 of those are big-knight-with-big-sword bosses and 9 of them the fights are pretty indistinguishable as far as the game play goes.

      Freja was cool but cheap, Covetous Demon was interesting but ultimately too easy to be memorable, Smelter was only memorable over how ridiculously OP he was prepatch.Bunch of other bosses seemed terribly designed so they solved that dilemma by throwing a bunch of other enemies in the arena. Demon of Song and Guardian Dragon were the only really great, unique bosses in the game at least how I found it.

      Didn't hate the game, was just lacking. The PS4 enemy remix I genuinely hate however. Super super cheap and unbalanced.

        UNPOPULAR OPINION: I... liked all the big knights with swords and dudes in armour.

    Loved DSII. I hope there are plenty of links fleshed out that come to fruition. Actually now that I think about it, I liked the DSII story more then the first Dark Souls and more then Bloodbornes story aswell.

    Thought: I may have missed a confirmed timeline somewhere but is it possible DS3 is set before 2? 2 was meant to be thousands of years after 1 right?

    I personally liked Dark Souls 2 a lot more than Dark Souls 1, both in terms of story and gameplay, so I'd be disappointed if it got written off from Dark Souls canon because of fan dislike/lack of Miyazaki involvement.

      I definitely enjoyed my time with 2, but I absolutely feel the first was a much better experience overall in terms of gameplay and story.

      It just didn't give have quite as grand "wow" moments for me like DS1, or Bloodborne, did.

      Dark souls 1 is a far more superior game thats fact sorry.

    Dark Souls 2 was great and so was the lore. I definitely enjoy the original Dark Souls more but I played 2 first and I'm sure I'm not alone, it created a sense of nostalgia, magic and wonder that would have been dampened if I played 1 first. I loved Majula, disappointment will corrode my adoration for the series if there isn't another Firelink Shrine Majula esque hub zone, comparing the 2 zones I feel like 3 needs to take elements from both, Majula felt warmer, less lonely while Firelink had a real sense of sombre peace but still felt connected to the rest of the world. I hope 3 takes from both, ds2 dlc was grouse and felt varied compared to Artorias. I think it'd be fantastic to have 2 or 3 hub zones.

    I'm actually thankful for everything that's been said. I wanted to like dark souls two, spent more time with it than it deserved, and came to the conclusion... It's just not a great souls game, the less its influence the better.

    Smelter demon looked out of place and would've been better suited in a blizzard game.

    Demon of song was unique, but man... Wrong series.

    The mechanics were sloppy and the presentation poor... I wish that wasn't my thoughts on it but they are, it just fell entirely flat for me, from the world to the lore, some of which is laughably bad.

    Actually people have pointed out what looks like items from Drangleic within some of the game demos, like Benhart's parma, the Drangleic Shield, and concept art that closely resembles a Loyce Knight. Who knows what they are, but it would be a little coy of From to act like Drangleic never existed.

    The difficult thing is how to fit Drangleic into the lore, I suppose. Dark Souls 2 had no "Link the Fire" ending, which is the whole basis of Dark Souls 3, that you're seeking out the old Lords of Cinder who sacrificed themselves to the fire, from what I understand. Also there's the difficulty that Drangleic didn't really expand the lore so much as try to clarify it, and even personalize it, turning it from the high concept quest to kill the gods that formed the background of the first Dark Souls, into a smaller tale about one land affected by the Curse, and the quest to find the King who you've been told might be able to save it. Then of course, you defeat the usurper Nashandra and essentially receive the Dark Lord ending from Dark Souls 1. Even with the DLCs there's no real elaboration of the lore, as good as they are, they're also simply more tales about lands infected by a curse. Dark Souls 2 was all about the futility of trying to escape the Curse, you realize everything from the past is simply repeating itself in the present. (Possibly a reference to working under the shadow of the huge expectations set by the first game?) But the third game seems like they may be actually trying to advance the storyline to some kind of ultimate crisis.

    Sorry, long-winded explanation there, but to sum up, the difficulty is how to fit in what was essentially a sidestory about another land affected by the Curse into this new game, which is more about advancing the main "questline."

    As to whether they'll retain some of the unique mechanics of the second game, well that might be more contentious. Not to bash the game too hard, but while they obviously made some improvements to the first, a lot of their decisions left you scratching your head. The game engine was fundamentally flawed to a lot of people. The physics just feels off - hitboxes are really squirrelly, even with good adaptability; the sense of impact is weirdly absent, like you're often not even striking a solid object; and the massive over reliance on overwhelming the player with sheer numbers and attacks coming from every side simply didn't work with the game engine. Whatever improvements they made to physics and such, with more fluid and controlled movement, and a greater sense of physicality, were also incorporated into Bloodborne, much more elegantly too, I might add. Which incidentally is a game that also throws many enemies at you at once, but which gives you the tools to not only deal with them effectively, but make it hugely satisfying to dispatch them.

    Personally what I found most unsatisfying about the second game is a little more esoteric, but very fundamental to the flaws I found in it. It's the smaller scope of the experience. The Souls games, including, and perhaps even especially Bloodborne, have always put action in the service of atmosphere, with some exceptions no doubt, but that's the fundamental direction they follow. The action is sometimes rather sparse, but that's deliberate, to focus your attention on your surroundings - and what surroundings they are! Tragic and melancholy in Dark Souls, terrifying and nightmarish in Bloodborne, but they evoke a realand very unique sense of place. Drangleic also evoked an atmosphere, to be fair, and what it evoke was - this place is old and tired "beyond the count of years," everything here has been done and seen before, and we're all waiting for this place to crumble and blow away in the wind. A worthy tone to explore no doubt. And yet it was impossible that sense of tiredness and repetition wouldn't seep into the player as well. The world of Drangleic was - perhaps intentionally - less "vital" than Lordran or Yharnam.

    So the developers decided to draw player attention away from the context of the world, which had always been the focus of Miyazaki's philosophy. Instead they plastered over the world design with constant enemy encounters and also, combat physics that demanded constant strained attention, like multiple enemies at once, and enemies that were unnecessarily difficult to counter, like Alonne knights. Some people might point to Bloodborne and say both those features are present there, but that ignores the point that those features serve the larger context, and you're also given the tools to deal with them. The sense of breathless nightmare is inseparable from the hectic encounters in Bloodborne. And you have the tools to counter these threats.

    But take the most egregious offender from Dark Souls 2, the Old Iron King DLC. You're constantly swarmed by enemies, and to survive you often must resort to ridiculous cheese tactics, while scurrying around like a frenzied squirrel to avoid the blows flying at you from every direction. And this was from the DLCs, which are substantially better than the core game. The reason they're better is because they realized the fundamental weakness of their game lay in the atmosphere, which had always been the distinguishing mark of the series. So they decided to paper it over with non-stop action. The Ivory King DLC actually redeemed the game to a great degree, by actually focusing on compelling atmosphere, but even that had the reprehensible Frigid Outskirts, which once again drew away from a truly evocative setting, with possibly the most enraging enemy encounters in gaming history. If Dark Souls 3 is to redeem the series as it appears it will, they will have to put the focus where it belongs, on lore and world-building, and put the game mechanics in service of those, rather than the other way around.

    So, there's my now extremely long-winded explanation of why many Souls fans are happy to have the captain back on bridge, so to speak. (What the hell, it's Labor Day here in America, and I had nothing bettet to do than explain my dissatisfaction with Drangleic!) I'm sure Miyazaki wouldn't entirely ignore the second game anyway, as that would come off a little petty, and Miyazaki strikes me as a nice guy, whatever his games would have you believe.

    I've played these games for years now, played Demons, Dark Souls, Dark Souls 2 and when I swapped out for a ps4 I got Bloodborne and Dark Souls 2 Sotfs.

    so..to my knowledge.
    Dark Souls 2 was made with a new engine - Miyazaki took what they had after finishing the Artorias DLC and made Bloodborne out of it - Tanimura created Dark Souls 2 from scratch whereas Miyazaki made Bloodborne from Dark Souls, and by extension Demon Souls; essentially well established tech. By the looks of it "so far" Dark Souls 3 is made from the same assets as Bloodborne, Dark Souls and Demon Souls..meaning when the time comes its quite possible Dark Souls 2 for better or for worse will stick out like a sore thumb.

    Pro's, Cons?
    Dark Souls 1 for all intents and purposes is a masterpiece, for many, many reasons. One of those reasons is its weighty, deliberate, clutch physics and highly reactive precise controls. Instead of taking this critically received baseline and tweaking it, or modifying it - the team behind Dark Souls 2 for whatever reason decided it would be best to completely replace a winning formula - by imitating it with a new engine and adding to that.

    What a lot of people wanted was Dark Souls 1, part 2..with all of the polish that came with it. Instead we got a completely different game with all of the fan service it could possibly contain for Dks1 fans. While Dks2 changed up back stabs, introduced power stancing and dual wielding and emote cancelling etc etc a lot of good things and interesting changes. It was also very clunky, floaty and imprecise; a journey through the games respective reddits would probably net someone valuable insight into the differences.
    (Demons and Dark feel more like sequels than Dark 1 and 2 do)

    I still play Dark Souls 2 and Bloodborne on PS4, I always need a fix. Though I would buy Dark Souls 1 30 fps again in a heart beat if it was made for PS4, and never look back. I'm hoping Dark Souls 3 is right on the money.

    I don't pay much mind to Miyazaki worshippers. I will admit though, if Dks3 is anything like Demons and Dks1, he may be more of an auteur than I previously thought.

      Well, if you believe, as it sounds like you do, that the Miyazaki games are all things considered, the superior product, I think you're in exactly the same boat as the "Miyazaki wirshippers." I mean, if someone proves they're the best for the job, especially after you've given someone else a whack at it and they've come up short, why not go with what you know?

      And it's not like he does the same thing every time, not at all. What Dark Souls 2 did was more distortion than evolution. As you yourself admitted, a lot of the changes they made were simply wrong-headed and led to puzzlement and frustration. If you want to see real evolution, see Demon's Souls - Dark Souls - Bloodborne.

      If you know that MacGyver is the only one who can figure out a particular sticky situation, would you call it "MacGyver worship" to call him first? I'm just saying, don't be too sure you're not in the fanclub yourself!

    Dark souls 2 is really bad, the only people that like it were the people that played it first. This goes back to demon's souls. People who played demon's souls likes demon's souls the most, people who played dark souls likes darks souls the most, people who played dark souls 2 likes dark souls 2 the most, but in reality dark souls 2 was a complete downgrade and very lacking in story. I wouldn't mind some throw backs as far as story goes, but don't bring back the slow fighting, the bad pvp connections, the downgraded back stab, the crappy parry animation, the oversized greatswords and only 4 of them, and most importantly don't bring back the dudes in armor for every boss.

    P.S don't let B team lead design oh my GOD the graphics were so bad for dark souls 2 and the levels had no thought put into them.

      I played ds2 first and I like ds1 more. Its not a bad game, it's better than a lot of games, if you've been paying attention to anything ds3 related you'd understand they aren't bringing any of the shit people didn't like about 2 rather drawing from the 1st. But 2 had its value in small amounts here and there, this article is about the fact ds3 is seemingly being ignored completely lore wise.

      Well that is not entirely true. I started with Dark Souls 2 on ps3 and half way of beating it...or what I thought was half way of beating it, I went out and bought demon's souls and dark souls. That's how much I liked dark souls 2 that I had to have them all. Well after hours of playing dark souls 2 and beating the game, I started playing Dark Souls.
      Now when I started playing dark souls, I noticed right away the difference in graphic design. The look and feel of dark souls was new to me after beating dark souls 2, that I just fell in love with the first one way more then 2. Even now when I have friends who play dark souls 2 sotfs, I tell them that after they beat it to play dark souls. Just because they will notice a huge difference from 2 to 1.
      It was nice that 2 had so many more bosses and longevity, especially adding new enemies in ng+ (one of my favorite features). But gameplay wise...1 is where it's at. The atmosphere is great and how the world all connects is just astounding. Now demon's souls is definitely the one that you can tell started it all. You just can not love demon's souls because without it we would not even have this great game series.
      I can understand why there would be a lot of DkS in DkS3. DkS2 just felt out of place, not knowing exactly what you were doing or where to go after coming back from the lost bastille. Then dlc came out after they specifically said that no dlc would be made for this game because they wanted a full complete game. So From must have thought..."well this game isn't really that complete, so let's give them dlc and bite our tongues on what we said before." So after already beating dark souls 2 without any dlc and beating ng+ without dlc I had to go back and create a new character just to play through the dlc, which I didn't mind...but I still went back to dark souls even while trying to complete the dlc in DkS2.
      The dlc in DkS2 felt more out of place rather then DkS where you could tell right away where you were at and already had an idea of who you were going to fight. Artorias was a great dlc and felt in line with the DkS game and even without it you didn't need it, was just nice to see what happened with Artorias and the Abyss. DkS2 you just got threw into a new place without even knowing where you were or how it fit in with Drangleic. Story and gameplay wise DkS was just a better fit and a better game to me. Either way they are all pretty good and I can just sit and play these games without a lot of disappointment.

    In Dark Souls 1, there's a bonfire at the start of Catacombs, and another halfway through. Except the path to it is behind an illusory wall later in the level, and the wall is on a different vertical level, so it's entirely possible to never find it. Even if you do, it's a decent slog to the end of the level, including a room of bonewheel skeletons. Then the boss fight. Then you still have to make progress into Tomb of the Giants before you get a bonfire. I don't care who you are, if you go into that area without knowing what to do, you probably won't have a light source, and you're definitely not getting to that bonfire without dying.

    Compared to that, having Vengarl after Freja is getting off easily.

      Exactly, ds1 isnt perfect and had some really tedious parts, I hated lost Izalith, I hated everything down past blight town (which even with frame issues I enjoyed) and you definitely mentioned the nastiest part of that game. The pinwheels killed that blacksmith in my game just as I was going for that big fire ember upgrade. Rubbish

    I'm still playing through Dark Souls 2 and it's fun but people are right when they say there are just crowds of bad guys everywhere.

    It got to the point where in Huntsman's Copse where I inched through killing everything to the point that nothing re spawn so at least I could make it to the end of the level

    This entire article is a joke, and your little handy providers, clearly are the punchlines.

    Dark souls two was disjointed-- none of the areas paired up, and it felt like it had a bunch of levels rather than areas.

    The bosses were bland and they held absolutely no standing when lined next to bosses like the Gaping Dragon, or Seath.

    There is an extreme lack of desperation, and I almost feel as if you were too incompetent to play the game well if that's what you experienced.

    Eleum Loyce is the only DLC area to hold it's own, and Sir Alonne is excellent, but that is only because of the low that backs them both, respectively.

    Asinine statements don't make you a damned reporter, only a blogger with too much time on his hands.

    It's disgusting what trash Kotaku allows on their site.

      The article was written in September last year, which changes things a little.

    I like dark souls 2 better than ds3.dark souls 3 to much bb in there for me.long play dark souls 2.

    It acknowledges DS2 a fair bit actually, 'Drang' mercenaries and their gear, Mirrah set and sword, some stuff related to the Giant Yhorm, Drakeblood knights, reference to the 'King of Want', they're all in there. Spoilers by the way.

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