AX 09: Demon’s Souls: The Full Story

At Anime Expo, Atlus gave fans us an inside look at upcoming PS3 title Demon’s Souls. Takeshi Kajii, Demon’s Souls producer from Sony Computer Entertainment Japan, was in attendance to give us some perspective from the producer’s eyes.

Demon’s Souls is an action RPG set in a dark fantasy world, with the concept being “back to basics” for its gameplay, says Kajii. It’s set in a classic RPG style, but has online capabilities, mixing old and new. If you’re thinking that this title looks like From Software’s King’s Field, you’re onto something: Kajii was a big fan, and he worked with one of the original producers, Hidetaka Miyazaki, on Demon’s Souls

There was no intention of making a game where you’d be better at it with faster reflexes, says game director Miyazaki. It’s more of a strategic game, even though it’s still an action title. Had it been a turn-based game, there would have been too much strategy for the player ot handle with the traditional menus. With action, they were able to innovatively use fighting styles and strategies instead of boring menu commands. 

Read on for more on Demon’s Souls.

They are calling the game’s online play a shared multiplayer learning experience. It’s a unique method of playing with others, a sort of reverse method from other online games. Kajii says that the online capabilities are to enhance the single-player experience. When you start the game, you start in the game’s world alone — each player lives in a parallel world where their own story will progress. Other online players are connected in a shared knowledge, where you can help each other through contact.

Notes come in the form of blood stains. These messages are left by you for other people to warn of, say, a trap, or of a particularly heavy upcoming challenge. You pick these notes from templates, and place them in the world to help others. In turn, their notes will help you in your quest.  Other uses can upvote or downvote these messages as they wish. Watch out, though, as some might be leaving notes to fool you. You cn see other players’ deaths in some situations, which serve as a sort of warning to you in your game for the same area. Lots of blood stains would serve as a good warning that the upcoming area might be difficult.

Cooperative play involves letting you offer your services to other online players. When you die, you take on “soul form,” where you are disadvantaged. To get your body and full power back, you would need to defeat the boss of the stage you are in. You can offer up your services as a helper that can come into another players’ world to help them defeat a boss. Once invited, and boss defeated, you can be revived in your own game. A Player vs Player option will also let you come back to life — you’ll need to go into another’s world and kill them. It’s up to you on which path you take to get back.

On the game’s difficulty: even Japanese gamers are calling Demon’s Souls an extremely difficult game. Kajii says that this is part of the “getting back to basics” mentioned earlier. They did not set out to make a hard game, though. It’s more about planning and strategy before jumping into attacking.

Demon’s Souls was influenced by classic games. They looked back to the world of Wizardry and the like when making it. Kajii says that he was going for something different from all of the JRPGs available now. And being a fan of dark fantasy, he was pushing for this style in the end product.

Demon’s Souls is coming to North America on October 6th for the PlayStation 3. Priced at $59.99 in a standard edition, it will ship with an art book and brand new cover art. Additionally, the game will be served on new North American servers. Atlus calls out Final Fantasy XI’s online experience as a reason for the new servers. Ooh, burn.

The Atlus Spoils program continues with a $69.99 “Stop Importing It” edition. It will come with a 150+ page strategy guide and a fancy slip cover, too. 

Again, both will be released on October 6th, which was announced here at Anime Expo for the first time. 

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Dale North
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