Namco Bandai is planning to put all of its marketing muscle behind Dark Souls 2. Public relations director Lee Kirton said that they're trying to promote it like a "massive triple-A title."
"We're going to go guns-blazing with it, and hope to God that it works," Kirton told OXM UK "We're going after people who love and adore Dark Souls, while hopefully widening the net a little. I'm not saying that every Skyrim player's going to be jumping on Dark Souls, but it would be nice if some of them did. It's a different game, sure."
The publisher was more conservative in promoting Dark Souls, which went on to sell 2.3 million units. You can't really blame them for not expecting the game to perform like a blockbuster. It seemed destined for niche status due to its punishing difficulty. Still, the game found an audience and Namco now thinks that the sequel can do even better.
Whenever a publisher talks about widening a franchise's audience, though, there's bound to be some fan anxiety. You can see some of that in the comments section of this article. In the article, DS2 co-director Tomohiro Shibuya was quoted as saying that the game would be more "straightforward" and "understandable" than its predecessor. Some fans took that as a sign that the DS2 was going to be easy or streamlined - in other words, that it wouldn't be a true Souls experience.
It's entirely possible that Namco and From Software will muck with the series formula in an attempt to grow the game's potential audience. A larger marketing budget may put even more pressure on them to increase sales. Hopefully, though, the two companies remember what made Demon's Souls and Dark Souls so popular to begin with.
Dark Souls 2 is being developed for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. You can check out the first gameplay footage here.