Dark Souls 2’s messaging system is most often used for good, according to From Software.
Dark Souls 2, like its prequel and Demon’s Souls, allows users to select from a list of words and cling them together in pre-determined constructions, jotting notes down on the landscape for other players to find.
Sometimes it seems like these messages only exist to trick you into dying, but according to game director Yui Tanimura, positive messages far outweigh trolling.
“The majority are helpful messages or messages reflecting on the game,” he told VentureBeat.
“The overall trend is for users to be helpful to one another and to share their thoughts and reflections about the game. Only a handful of messages are left to make other players slip-up.”
From my own experience on the European servers, I’d say the majority of messages in early areas are highly contrived messages of sexual contempt for female NPCs, closely followed by rating begging. But I’m sure From Softare knows best; it’s all too easy to only remember the negatives.
If you’re not familiar with the Souls messaging system, it’s just one of a number of unique online features found in the loose series. It was inspired by the experience of Japanese gamers playing poorly localised western RPGs – having to rush off to message boards to seek help and brainstorm solutions.
“From Software thought that it would be novel to have an online game that allows for more lax communication that players can enjoy at their own pace,” Tanimura said.
“That idea was the starting point for Demon’s Souls. Although there have been changes in the game overall, the approach has not changed.”
The next game in the family is not part of the Demon’s Souls or Dark Souls series – it’s Bloodborne, a game that trades sword-and-board for sword and more sword. It’s coming to PS4 in February 2015. Dark Souls 2, meanwhile, is available now on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.