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Dark Souls 2: the essence of series is to upset your expectations, says director

Friday, 11th October 2013 12:40 GMT By Dave Cook

Dark Souls 2 is a hard game, understandably, and that is precisely what fans of the original wanted. However, From Software director Yui Tanimura has stressed that he doesn’t want to give you exactly what you want, as he feels the essence of the series is in upsetting your expectations.

Speaking with Eurogamer, Tanimura said, “I try to be deeply cynical in terms of the things I put in the game. I’m not only interested in creating things that players will enjoy, per se. I also want to include stuff that is somehow iffy. It’s also about challenging expectations and not necessarily giving people what they want. That, in a way, is the essence of Dark Souls: upsetting expectations.”

Part of this ‘upset’ is in the way Dark Souls 2 and its forebears throw you constant curve balls that challenge your perception. It’s definitely one of the series’ most attractive qualities, difficult aside. They both go hand-in-hand however. On this issue Tanimura continued, “If people talk about difficulty it’s crucial that it’s never discussed in terms of, say, the control scheme or the character not doing the things the player wants it to. That kind of ‘difficulty’ leads to pure frustration.

“It’s that knowledge that keeps a player going. alongside the chance to go back and make better decisions. Understanding that changes the way in which we design the game. We’re designing to inspire players to make poor decisions. That might seem perverse but it is where the game’s power is found: anyone can play and succeed, regardless of natural talent. They just need to pay attention.”

I touched on this issue in my insightful Dark Souls making-of interview with the original game’s director Hidetaka Miyazaki, and again in my recent Dark Souls 2 chat with Namco’s Takeshi Miyazoe. Check them out.

Do you enjoy Dark Souls’ attempts to skirt around your expectations? Is the From Software smart to follow its gut instinct? Let us know below.

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5 Comments

  1. TheBlackHole

    “anyone can play and succeed, regardless of natural talent. They just need to pay attention”

    I’m sorry, but as much as I love these games, this is just simply not true.

    #1 12 months ago
  2. Thugz99

    @1 it kinda is, all people need to do is be patient and pay attention to enemies movements but they never do that anymore due to nowadays games general difficulty

    #2 12 months ago
  3. TheBlackHole

    @2

    Not everyone has played games since they were children and are accustomed to the way modern control and gameplay mechanisms work. Many make that assumption because they simply know no different.

    You play a new FPS and you just know the basic control layout – not because you’re psychic, but because it’s a learned standard. You understand the process of completing certain missions in RPGs because they are familiar to you.

    Try speaking French when you’ve never heard it spoken before or never been taught how to speak it. You wouldn’t even know what sounds to make.

    Dark Souls is like that – it’s surmountable, providing you have a solid grasp of French and understand the principles, but try and hold a conversation when you’ve never heard the language before?

    Different story.

    #3 12 months ago
  4. An0n42

    @3 The quote is refering to Dark Souls 2, not every other games. So nobody can say yet if it’s true or not.

    #4 12 months ago
  5. Blackened Halo

    Dark Souls is a specific game because of its specific difficulty. It really isnt frustration that leads the game’s difficulty but the awesome gameplay, awesome AI of monsters and great written battles, the RPG system and the RPG world or Lordran.

    Dark Souls 2 = the most anticipated game of 2014 for me

    #5 12 months ago

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