In a couple of days, we'll finally all get to play what will most likely be my game of the year. It's loaded with secret content that will keep people talking and playing for a long time. But the lead-up to its release has been less than stellar, and has hindered part of what makes the series great.
I think we'll all get over it after playing it, purely because the game is great. Those waiting on the proper Western release date have a right to be mad, and it's something worth talking about, but it's just hard to stay mad when you're experiencing some of that classic Souls brilliance in storytelling and design.
For starters, there's the promotional material, which actually contains a lot of content close to the end of the game. I won't say much more than that, and I suppose it's not technically a spoiler because you don't know how late it comes. But after finishing the game, I think some players will think back and be a little shocked that all that was shown pre-release.
The latest Dark Souls trailer is thrilling, but like the rest of its promos, a bit spoilery. I advise full media blackout before April 12th.
— Jeremy Ray (@TheJunglist) March 30, 2016
Then, there's the Japanese release. Dark Souls 3 was released in Japan on the 25th of March. From Software is earning a reputation for doing whatever the hell it wants, whether its release dates, interviews, or whatever. Rest of the world be damned, it'll come out a couple of weeks early where they are.
That meant those who could access the Xbox One store with a Japanese account could download the game and flip the language to English, and with a little help from the super-spoilery Japanese Reddit page, it wasn't too hard to puzzle out what all the stats and item descriptions said.
That wasn't fair to Playstation owners, so the option was opened up to them as well. On top of that, many streamers, Youtubers, and journos were given the English version of the game a couple of weeks early. They were allowed to show limited amounts until the embargo of the 4th of April, after which everything was fair game.
Unsurprisingly, many Souls gamers felt a bit left out when Souls content started populating their Youtube and social media feeds. Dark Souls is a game about coming together as a global community and figuring everything out. You can't possibly find everything in one playthrough, so you contribute what you can to the discussion, and have your mind blown after putting everything together.
The unfortunate thing is, this time around, a decent chunk of the game will have been figured out by the time it's properly released in the West. It's kind of sad to think that someone might passionately post a theory up to a forum or Reddit about some of the lore implications, only to be told that it was debunked weeks ago. The product is there, but the process won't be.
That said, I think the Souls community understands this. People have been great about keeping all the spoilers in the Japanese Reddit and keeping the main version clean. Hopefully everyone who jumped the gun will be considerate.
It was enough for Bandai Namco to request that streamers actually stop showing the later stages of the game. Some played ball, whereas others took the attitude of "I'm playing the Japanese version, you can't do anything!"
So, I can no longer do Dark Souls 3 on the 7th/8th. Earliest I can stream it is now April 11th at 5pm CST. See you then for it, I guess?
— LobosJR (@Lobosjrgaming) March 31, 2016
Apparently now we're not supposed to release DKS3 content between April 1st and 11th (launch), so prepare for a spate of DKS3 vids tmrw
— Ryan Letourneau (@NorthernlionLP) March 31, 2016
It's a bit like trying to put the genie back in the bottle.
The whole thing is a bit unfortunate, but as I said, I think people will forget the launch bungles when the game is released, purely because it's everything they've been hoping for. The hype is real, and justified. For those on total media blackout, keep it up. It's worth it. Stay strong, Unkindled. Don't go Hollow.