The high difficulty level of Dark Souls and predecessor Demon's Souls attracted a very devoted fanbase. The recently announced Dark Souls 2, though, may be less intimidating.
“I personally am the sort of person who likes to be more direct than subtle. [Dark Souls 2] will be more straightforward and more understandable," Tomohiro Shibuya told Edge.
Shibuya is directing the game's development along with Yui Tanimura. Hidetaka Miyazaki, the director of the first two games in the Souls series, is acting as a supervisor. That could mean some big changes are in store.
From Software has an interesting dilemma in front of them: the Souls series is beloved because it's so unforgiving but its punishing difficulty level also makes it less likely to attract newcomers. The challenge, then, is to find a way to keep the game challenging while also making it accessible.
Shibuya's quote is no doubt going to make series veterans a bit nervous that Dark Souls 2 will be watered down for casuals. "Straightforward" and "understandable" doesn't necessarily mean easier, though. It can be a simple matter of presentation. If a player knows why they're dying over and over and how they can improve, then a brutal difficulty level will be much more palatable.
We'll find out more about From Software's plans for Dark Souls 2 when Edge's next issue arrives on December 20th. The cover from that issue is below. That art, along with the VGA trailer, is all we've seen of the game thus far.