Dark Souls II Director Talks From Software’s Approach To Developing Games

By Ishaan . February 26, 2014 . 9:59am


Namco Bandai have shared a new behind-the-scenes video for Dark Souls II that features the game’s co-director, Yui Tanimura, talking about its story.


Tanimura says his biggest concern was to include key aspects of the Souls franchise in the game. This mainly boils down to two elements—a sense of accomplishment after overcoming hurdles within the game, and the loose connection you feel to other players.


Tanimura also brings up From Software’s approach to developing games. When the studio begins work on any of its titles, it rarely has a story planned out from the start.


“We first develop the concept of the game,” Tanimura explains. “Then, we figure out what kind of world and journey the player needs to go on in order to convey that concept.”


Dark Souls II will be released on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in March. A PC release will follow at a later date.

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  • kamiboy


  • Odin

    Can someone honestly tell me why the series is so popular? It’s gotten enough praise from people (both inside and outside mainstream gaming), but I fail to understand why.

    Seems like it’s almost at a Call of Duty level of reverence. I’ve played the predecessor King’s Field, and it was good, but nothing I’d call spectacular. Isn’t this series essentially a third person version of that?

    I assume it’s one of those games where you have to be a fan to understand. But that’s the thing, there are some game series that need not give an introduction. This to me isn’t one of those.

    What is it about the Souls series that makes it stand out? From past games? Or games that have done more to push the medium forward? I’m not getting it.

    I play some niche stuff, but that’s the thing. This series ISN’T niche if everyone is praising it.

    • Cadis Estrama di Rai

      Ooh we can’t tell you , you’ll just have to find out yourself.


    • Joshen McEwen

      Try playing Dark Souls. It seems that that’s the point in the series where most of the critical acclaim comes from. You’ll find your answer there.

    • Istillduno

      It’s like a 3D Castlevania but actually done right.

    • ChiffonCake

      Haven’t played the games myself, but from what I’ve gathered…

      • The feeling of discovery or accomplishment that Tanimura keeps mentioning in these interviews is one of the main draws, it seems. This ends up seeping into many aspects of the game.
      • The difficulty is one such aspect, as it is extremely unforgiving, yet also fair. Usually, when you die, it’s apparent why that happened, and how you could’ve prevented it; only in rare circumstances is the game really unfair (and when that happens, From usually acknowledges that it was a failure in their part).
      • The combat system also plays a role in that. It’s a little unusual, being slower-paced and requiring a more careful approach, rather than quick reflexes, and the variety of choices avaible to the player adds considerable depth to it.
      • Though a lot of people end up ignoring them, the story in the games is fantastic, and their settings are extremely finely-crafted. Boletaria is one of my favorite video game settings, actually! And going back to the discovery/accomplishment thing, the stories are mostly told in very subtle and indirect ways, which complements the games’ (also fantastic) atmospheres.

      • Brion Valkerion

        Sure you have not played it? because you nailed it haha.

        Although I’ve been a fan since I saw the first trailer for Demon’s years back… I would be lying if I said I understand how or why it has gotten so popular. I know why its a great game, as above posted, but no clue why its so popular.

        • Gregor

          Is it important really? Couldn’t it be that it’s popular because it’s great? Sometimes it still happens…
          The fact that someone who has never played them nailed plenty of the reasons that make them great is good to see, it’s not so difficult to understand, it seems.

        • ChiffonCake

          Well, I’ve watched a ton of videos about the series, if anything, lol.

          I guess I was just really interested in the game early on, and since I couldn’t play them, I ended up researching a lot of stuff about them instead. Hopefully I’ll be able to get a PS3 and DkS2 soon, though.

    • Odin

      I’ll reply to myself so I’m not singling any one comment out. But I’d just like to get my ideas across.

      I’m no stranger to difficult or quirky games. I’m used to games like the Stalker series, Fallouts, Deus Ex, Thief, System Shock, etc. For consoles, I’ve played my fair share of the library (imports and domestic alike).

      Let’s use the Stalker series as an example. Atmosphere second to none, usually praised as being difficult, but never in a rote memorization kind of way. Cheap deaths are usually due to surprise more than losing a handle on the situation.

      Quick-loads are common, but the game makes you want to retry.

      I’m not a fan of memorizing patterns or having to deal with tank controls, though. The Souls series seems to miss the right points for me (difficulty and again dealing with little nuances).

      Any other replies would be helpful. I’m just trying to get general opinions.

      • Ferrick

        Dark souls is good because;

        -It’s challenging: games nowadays feed you things on a silver platter, giving you waypoints to where you’re supposed to go next, Enemy grunts are nothing more than just level decorations and need little to zero strategy to beat them, showing off boss’ weakpoints either with a huge glowing red/yellow spot, and powerful weapons given to you for free in the sense of “Plot convenience”, and death penalty is near zero (unless you forgot to save).

        Dark souls is different because the only time the game holds your hand is only during tutorial, and by the time you leave tutorial, the game leaves you on your own to decide to where you want to go in the hub world, “grunts” could easily kill you if you’re not careful, bosses doesn’t have a clear weakness and you’d have to experiment here and there to see if it has any weakness or not, and you’d have to rely on strategy instead of brute force to win, and you can’t get powerful weapons unless you beat these bosses, and death penalty means losing all of your souls and humanity (and quarter of your base hp on dark souls 2).

        -world and item lore; Dark souls has a good written lore about it’s world, however it does not reveal it’s entirety to you unless you progress, and the items always have a tale to tell

      • Sakurazaki

        The Souls series might not be for you then, but ask away.

        To be efficient in tackling bosses and even simple enemies in the Souls series, you have to both analyze their attack patterns and probably do some trial and error (and probably die in the process). It’s some memorization, but the attack patterns themselves aren’t totally set in stone. It will take you some time to figure out how to beat them (or not need to beat them, hehe); some longer than others and it may be frustrating depending on how you handle losses.

        Surprise attacks are in the games, but they aren’t the mainstay of how your encounters go.

    • TheRealMalek

      It’s really niche.

      I finished it only one month ago :

      – Really a great feeling of achievement, overcoming a challenge or finidng an exploit make you feels great !
      – Hard, like NES area hard
      – Huge AND interresting
      – loads of hidden thngs
      – experience with other players
      – Really good (but in my opinion a little too much hidden) backstory
      – Choice that don’t look like choice but matter on game experience
      – You can kill everyone

    • Thom Gibson

      Even though I praise the Souls series, I agree with you when you said that you cant understand why the predecessors (King’s Field and mostly Shadow Tower) didnt stand out and the Souls games are hyped to death (by people and media). I mean those games share the same playstyle and feel (same concept at least) and they are completely forgotten. Obviously, the Souls games are done better (better graphics and presentation), but lets face it, the Shadow Tower games are basically the same experience. Unlike many people I’m not doubtful whether the game will be as good as the other Souls games, because when this From Software guys make Action RPG’s they go for the same type of game (the only way they know probably).

      • Androu1

        There’s a pretty big difference between Souls and KF/ST, really. A major difference, actually. The combat. The combat in KF/ST is very simple and lame, feels very floaty due to a lack of proper feedback on hits and many more things. I like KF/ST but the combat is the worst part, Souls manages to take all good things about the KF/ST and wraps it up with a fantastic combat system, while ditching the other issues.

        Also, Souls levels lack the incredible repetitiveness that the KF/ST (especially KF) areas do. Slowly walking through samey corridors with extremely busy textures on all surfaces gets very annoying.

        And movement is much better in Souls, too, nobody really likes to take entire seconds to turn around.

        These are some of the major differences. Souls is basically a much more polished and refined experience than either KF or ST.

    • Sakurazaki

      I feel like you overestimate the praise it gets. While this game gets a lot of praise, it’s a niche title because it’s not for everyone. Definitely not on the level of CoD.

      (i.e. it gets praise from people who like that kind of game, and rarely any negative reviews because it’s not a game that catches eyes at first glance.)

      What would you like to know about the game? For me, it’s a beautiful sword/shield/medieval adventure/beat ’em up game that forces you think before you step or you get wrecked. It has a combat system that I don’t see around much, and I don’t really care about the story at all. It also has beautiful atmosphere and environment.

      This isn’t the same for everyone else though.

    • MrRobbyM

      I find that a lot of people that play Monster Hunter also play the Souls games. My guess is that they both share something, something being the coming together of fellow players to bring down a boss. Both are fair yet difficult so when you bring down a boss, you feel like you achieved something.

      But there’s much more to Souls games than bringing down bosses. Each area, enemy placement, enemy types. Most of it is tied to story. It’s not immediately obvious, but with some thinking power, you’ll figure out a story, or at least your interpretation of it. There is a plot, but there are lots of little things that branch out and make you wonder, most of which was never confirmed by FromSoft just because they wanted to keep that sense of mystery. Watching lore videos by VaatiVidya will make more sense.

      Everyone praises it but I wouldn’t consider it a mainstream success either. I’d still say it has a rather large yet cult following that has grown with each game.

    • DanielGearSolid

      Play it

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