Demon’s Souls was the game that started it all for From Software.
Despite having a cult audience with the Armored Core franchise, Demon’s Souls went on to bring the studio into the limelight, inspiring the Dark Souls series, Bloodborne, and later, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, the 2019 Game Awards Game of the Year.
And now fans will have the chance to revisit it, with the remake for Playstation 5 coming next month. Here are 5 things you need to know about Demon’s Souls.
Demon’s Souls originally came from a publishing deal with Sony Japan.
FromSoftware had collaborated with the publisher in the past for an international release of the original Armored Core, but this time Sony was looking for something specific.
They saw the popularity of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and wanted a Playstation exclusive action RPG that could rival it.
In fact, the original plan was to have it switch between first and third person, just like Elder Scrolls.
But a lot of the similarities were removed by Hidetaka Miyazaki who had his own idea of how he wanted the game to be.
And since the company was already considering it to be a failure internally, he figured it was the perfect time to try something new.
Miyazaki is a kind of anomaly in the games industry.
In Japan, there’s generally a big rush to get new graduates and then those graduates often stick with the company for a long time.
But Miyazaki was working in the IT industry, and at the age of 29 decided to move into the games industry after playing Ico.
Joining FromSoftware as a new employee meant he took a pay cut, giving him a level of respect at the company.
After the global success of the follow-up Dark Souls, Hidetaka Miyazaki went on to become the company president but still serves as a games director.
We often talk of the Souls games as being difficult, but the challenge was never the intention.
In fact, everything is carefully designed to evoke the feeling of the most satisfaction.
Even the system of returning to your corpse to collect your souls is specifically to give you the satisfaction of having made it back to your last location.
Overwhelming difficulty can make you want to give up, but Demon’s Souls was instead focused on giving you the motivation and satisfaction to overcome trials.
But the team at Sony didn’t see this, at the time and decided to only release the game in Japan.
Ironic, when you consider how much the Souls series owes to its global audience.
Instead, the game was published by ATLUS as a way of strengthening their brand of Japanese RPGs.
But just a year later, a Sony Japan localization specialist admitted that they should have released it globally themselves as a first-party title.
Having a third-party publisher meant the game took longer to release in other regions, particularly Europe, where Bandai Namco released it in 2010.
The company made up for it years later by working with them to create Bloodborne for PS4 and now, the remake of Demon’s Souls, releasing in all countries as a PS5 launch title.
Bluepoint Games is a games company in Texas that has become a large part of preserving the legacy of some of Japan’s greatest creators.
Being a team specializing in remastering old games, they started out bringing games like Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, and the Metal Gear Solid franchise to seventh-generation consoles.
Later, they worked with Sony again to bring the PSVita title Gravity Rush to PS4 and eventually found themselves returning to Shadow of the Colossus, but this time, to remake it.
They considered that to be their biggest achievement until last year when they started teasing a PS5 game they were working on.
To them, Demon’s Souls isn’t just the culmination of their experience, but also the result of their upgraded toolsets and engine as well.
Demon’s Souls is getting a second chance and they’re putting everything into making sure it makes a splash.