So it looks like Sony and From Software have made nice. After the rift between the two companies, caused by Sony deferring on publishing a Demon’s Souls successor, From cut a deal with Namco Bandai and Atlus, who have published the spiritual successors: Dark Souls and Dark Souls II.
After publicly admitting to “dropping the ball” with the franchise, Sony seemed eager to make amends. The result is Bloodborne, a sort of Victorian-themed recasting of From’s trademark style. Formerly known as Project Beast, amid a typical internet leak, it was confirmed by Sony with it’s proper title and lineage as of E3.
Sony also released a sharp and striking trailer for the game, demonstrating the graphical capabilities of a Souls game on the PS4, and the dark, gritty atmosphere players have come to expect from the series.
The plot revolves around a sort of safe-haven city called Yharnam, a place that is supposedly the home of miraculous remedies for incurable diseases. As the (so far) nameless protagonist, you have made a long and perilous pilgrimage to the city in hopes of curing your own ailment. However, upon arrival, you find that the city has been overcome by a plague of its own, leaving its citizens feral, diseased, and deranged.
While players likely expected a return of the cryptic storytelling, controller-shattering difficulty, and grim subject matter, the biggest surprise from Bloodborne is the setting. With all three of the Souls games taking place in a decidedly medieval world, it’s shocking to see a successor in such a modern environment. Guns were a key part of the trailer, and the gameplay seems to utilize them in favor of the more traditional string bows and crossbows. Also, the city looks far more advanced, a setting that would be right at home in Showtime’s Penny Dreadful or Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comics.
Another strong sign is the return of director Hidetaka Miyazaki, the creative mastermind behind Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls. After passing the reigns for Dark Souls II, Miyazaki is now firmly back in control, and as a fan, I couldn’t be happier. After all, for this critic’s money, Dark Souls was the finest game of the previous generation, and while Dark Souls II was a great follow-up, it lacked some of the flair and charm, that certain something, that Miyazaki injected into the previous installments.
While we still don’t know much about Bloodborne other than it’s lineage and setting, what we’ve seen looks extremely promising, and with From Software’s shiny track record of late, players can expect to be wowed and challenged once again.
Bloodborne is set for a tentative 2015 release.