In this interview video, Dark Souls II director Yui Tanimura discusses the core of the series, trying to innovate while staying true to what made the last game so successful from a design perspective, and challenges faced during development.
Toward the end, talk of the game's closed beta is brought up and with it, a snippet of footage showing messages, bloodstains, summons, and invasions. Notice the White Phantom's health bar on the left-hand side of the screen, which comes in addition to the one located over the player character's head? Nice. Very nice.