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.