Friday, April 24, 2015

What Game Designers Love (And Don't Love) About Dark Souls


Kirk Hamilton asked a bunch of game designers about Dark Souls and the result is a fascinating mix of insights and perspectives:
“To make a world seem alive and gripping you have to have the possibility that the player may miss things, big and small,” says Night In The Woods’ Benson. “So many games desperately want you to see everything in them, and that’s fine, but I feel it does a disservice to the experience of exploring a world. The Souls games will let you walk past half of the world, or wander into the darkest places with little warning. That’s a world that feels alive. You can miss so much and that means that finding something—be it a clue about the world, the odd NPC off doing their own thing, a strange little area—means something. It’s beautiful.”
Full Story: HERE

~

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bloodborne's Greatest Challenge and Weirdest Joke


Kill Screen has an article up about a feature of Bloodborne called Chalice Dungeons. They are randomly generated and populated dungeons which you create using in-game items and which you can share with other people via a pre-generated code.  Apparently, they hold some secrets from the main game:
Getting down to depth 5 is an ordeal many players will go through in order to encounter Yharnam, Pthumerian Queen, a storyline figure who can’t be fought in the main game. Getting to her is tougher than the fight itself—you have to fight practically Miyazaki’s entire Rolodex of bosses and struggle through a cursed dungeon that halves your health. But there’s another reason to descend through the ruins: to get the game’s two most mysterious items, which players are still trying to puzzle out.
Full Story: HERE

~

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Difference Between Perseverance and Masochism


Over at Offworld Laura Hudson has written a fascinating article about her experience with Bloodborne, and how, in a larger sense, the game unlocked for her what it is that draws people to the 'Souls' series:
If you're playing a Hidetaka Miyazaki for the first time, as I was, the learning curve is often steep; for hours and hours, it feels frustrating and painful, and sometimes incredibly unfair. But here's the trick: it's not. Over time, you start to realize that the game is actually fair in the absolute, and you even learn to trust it. When you die, it's not usually because the game is just mean; it's because you screwed up. Much like a martial arts master who knocks you to the floor every time you leave yourself open, it isn't actually trying to crush your spirit; it's trying to teach you. And if you're willing to listen, it will slowly transform into an incredible badass.
Full Story: HERE

~

Saturday, April 11, 2015

What's Really Going On In Bloodborne


I finished my first play through of Bloodborne last night and, while the larger story arc made sense to me, I was still scratching my head about some of the finer details.

Thankfully, Rich Stanton has produced a very detailed description of various story beats:
A few caveats. There’s simply too much lore to go into detail on everything, so fascinating places like Cainhurst, or even an in-depth look at the first hunter Gehrman, will have to wait for another time. Though this article is long, it remains the briefest of outlines. And, naturally, I may be wrong on some points - but everything here is sourced and illustrated, and I’ve kept interpretation to the absolute minimum.
WARNING: The article refers to story elements that are best revealed by the game itself. If you haven't finished Bloodborne yet, go away come back when you have.

Full Story: HERE


~

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Hidetaka Miyazaki Interview


The Guardian has an excellent interview with Hidetaka Miyazaki, the director of Demon's Souls, Dark Souls and Bloodborne:

Miyazaki was assigned to the game and “changed pretty much everything about it”. Demon’s Souls launched in Japan without fanfare. The game had a disastrous reception at the Tokyo Game Show a few months before its release; many players didn’t even make it past the character-creation screen. It sold around 20,000 copies in the week of its release, far fewer than the publisher, Sony, had hoped.
Full Story: HERE

~

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Guiding Hand of Dark Souls


Dark Souls has a reputation for being difficult - no minimap, no pausing, even low-level enemies will eat your face - but the game does quite a lot to help the player. All the game really wants from you is your full attention.
One of my goals is to refine the image that both fans and non-fans have of Dark Souls, as being defined solely by difficulty.  Perhaps its best-hidden secret is that it does not actually leave the player lost in the wilderness with no direction and death awaiting at every turn, but rather guides and supports them in subtle ways.  The game fulfills two roles at once: presenting a seemingly crushing challenge, but also, behind the scenes, doing what it can to make it more likely that each player finds a way through.  The defining emotion of Dark Souls is the thrill of both facing the challenge and then eventually surpassing it, and the game succeeds because it does everything it can to provide both of those experiences.
Full Story: HERE

~

Monday, March 30, 2015

Depression is a Bastard

Relentless Reading has a wonderful interview with Scott Lynch about depression and writing and gaming:
Well when did Dance of Dragons come out? 2011? I remember that it was a surprise… In 2010, I had just started on my anti-depressants and I thought, ‘this will be easy from now on’, because the first couple months were so good, especially considering the depths I was climbing out of — the not sucking, the being able to deal with things was heavenly. Even though in retrospect I was a loosely wrapped package. Not surprising, I was seriously damaged.
 Full Story: HERE

~