MCV looks at the sequel to the notoriously challenging Dark Souls.
Dark Souls II is coming to stores on March 14th for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. A PC release date is yet to be confirmed.
Dark Souls II is the sequel to the notoriously difficult Japanese RPG Dark Souls. The original title was well received by critics and praised for its high level of difficulty. It is one of the few big current-gen exclusive titles coming to stores this year.
This sequel promises to be more accessible to newcomers to the series or less skilled players, but this does not mean it will be any easier than its brutal predecessor.
The title takes players to a brand new game world, which is roughly twice the size of the one in the original game. Furthermore, the title comes with a new hero and an entirely un-related storyline to the original Dark Souls.
In addition to this new world, the enemies have a new and more advanced AI, allowing for more reactions to player actions.
In the original Dark Souls, players who were Hollow – undead – could not be invaded by other players over online multiplayer. This has changed in Dark Souls II, though, as undead players can be invaded, too, adding an extra challenge to the title. This is balanced by a ransom system, whereby players who constantly invade other’s games will be heavily targeted by other fans.
As well as targeting fans of the original game, Namco Bandai are marketing Dark Souls?II towards fans of other RPG?titles, such as Bethesda’s Skyrim and Namco’s The?Witcher.
Namco Bandai has put a huge marketing campaign behind Dark Souls II. The title was shown off at Eurogamer Expo and saw people queuing up for hours to get their hands on the title. The publisher also held a press event at the Crypt in London, which featured actor Peter Serafinowicz who voices a character in the game.
There is also a full cinema campaign that focuses on informing a mainstream audience about the game. Trailers will appear before films such as Robocop and Need for Speed. On TV, the title will receive promotion across both terrestrial and Sky channels a week prior to launch and two after. The TV? and cinema campaign features the song ‘Where Is My Mind’ by The Pixies.
Online, the title has been advertised across specialist gaming websites such as IGN. In the mainstream press, the game has featured on Sunday Brunch and Soccer AM, and there has also been a national radio campaign.
Ads for the game have appeared in 360 Gamer, Neo as well as across Future Publishing’s portfolio of magaines. It has been heavily featured in print, too, and is the only video game to receive two covers from?Edge magazine.
The Souls series is one of the most loved gaming franchises and Dark Souls II was voted by virtually every media out there as one of the most anticipated games of 2014, so it’s safe to say there is huge demand for this title. With four weeks to go we are already 50 per cent higher in pre-orders than the previous title and that’s before the main bulk of our media advertising campaign kicks in shortly.
The previous Souls titles have always been targeted towards the hardcore gamer, however with Dark Souls II we’re reaching out to a much more mass market action RPG gamer that has an audience potential of around 11 times more than the current Dark Souls sell-through figure here in the UK.
That game was fantastic and judged by many as not only the greatest game of the generation, but the greatest game ever created. The tremendously talented From Software have somehow managed to create a game that’s even better and that is a seriously high pole to get over. Dark Souls II will be the game of the year for existing fans and for the many who are going in to the world for the first time.