Words On Wednesday

2016-04-20 Dark Souls Collection

With Dark Souls 3 being released in America on April 12, I’ve discovered that FromSoftware and the Dark Souls series have become massively popular. As such, I’ve got some ideas in mind with where the future of FromSoftware might lead.

The first and only game I’ve played that was developed by FromSoftware was Demon’s Souls. (Actually, I lied, I played Armored Core V after I checked it out from the library one time, but that consisted of playing through the tutorial and realizing I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.) It was decently fun, but a fairly obscure title that most people I played games with hadn’t heard of. Notably difficult, like the rest of the Souls games, but nothing groundbreaking. Over the years since then, FromSoftware has created Dark Souls 1, 2, and 3, as well as Bloodborne. Starting with the first Dark Souls, successive FromSoftware games have become huge hits for their brutal difficulty and unforgiving gameplay.

FromSoftware has already announced that they want to go other places besides the Dark Souls and Bloodborne genre of games. I can’t fault them for this, they’ve been making fairly successful games since 1994 and to pigeonhole themselves into just this once sector of video games would be a disservice to what the company might accomplish otherwise. However, I don’t see them abandoning such a cash cow without squeezing a little more out of the series. If the Dark Souls series is specifically ending, how else can FromSoftware make money with it?

What do the producers/developers of popular game series inevitably seem to do? That’s right, they eventually make a [Title] Collection with most if not all games in the series gathered into one package. Maybe polish up the visuals a bit for games released on previous generations of consoles. If control schemes changed across any of the games, change those up to be uniform across every game in the collection. Put this nice little package out on current gen consoles (multiple platforms where applicable), and people will be all over it. Old fans purchase it to revisit previous games for nostalgia or to see how much the visuals have improved. New fans that missed the first few games might purchase it to make sure they play all the games in the series.

Think about how frequent this trend is. Kingdom Hearts released the 1.5 and 2.5 remixes so that people could experience the story without buying every console the games were released on. Konami published the Metal Gear Solid Legacy Collection, containing all the games leading up to MGS 5. I can’t even count all the HD remasters of PS2 games released on PS3, owning quite a few of them myself. I have the Ratchet and Clank collection, Sly Cooper, Jak and Daxter, and those are just off the top of my head.

Developers would be arguably stupid to avoid this comparably easy cash. Instead of creating a new game from the ground up, all they’re doing is cleaning up visuals (frequently just those in cinematics) and optimizing games for new hardware. Now I realize that I’m trivializing tasks that could realistically be somewhat difficult and time consuming, but it has to be easier than making an entirely new game. Honestly, these ports to new consoles aren’t even *good* ports half the time.

FromSoftware could take Dark Souls 1, 2, and 3, revamp the controls to be uniform, release it on PS4, Xbox One, and PC maybe a year or so from now, and probably make huge sales. Perhaps add in Demon’s Souls, just for good measure. If a new Bloodborne game is in production, a Souls collection would boost PR leading up to that release. Even if the series is truly done with new titles, it could still bring in huge profits for FromSoftware with a Souls Collection.

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