4. Less legwork to understand the story
Dark Souls 2's mechanics and challenges won't be the only things that are more transparent - Shibuya also plans to make the game's backstory more obvious. "It will follow the same concept as Dark Souls, but there were a lot of hidden story elements that some players may not have caught before and I'm hoping to make some of that a little bit more clear or directly expressed to the player as well."
5. The setting is linked to Dark Souls 1, but there's a twist
If the agenda with storytelling is to avoid ambiguity, that line of thinking doesn't seem to apply to certain pleasantly mysterious asides about where and, perhaps more importantly, when the new game is set. "I can't completely answer this question, but the two settings are connected, yes," Shibuya explained. "However, I wouldn't say there's a direct connection as far as story is concerned. The game is set in a different part of the same planet - to put it another way, if the first game was set in the North Pole, this one would be in the South Pole; that sort of contrast."
Our Dark Souls reviewer (and leading Dark Souls obsessive) Matt suspects some sort of Chrono-Trigger-esque "eras" mechanic may be in the offing, as hinted by the following. "'Time' is one of the central keywords we're keeping in mind as we create this. I can't give concrete details about this yet, so hopefully you'll be able to use your imagination for now."
6. There may be vehicles
I doubt they're talking about tanks and aircraft, but the idea gives me a jolt nonetheless. "We want to constantly think of something new that hasn't been tried before, so that's where that idea [of the chariot] came up," Shibuya commented. "Being in a ship or boat is definitely something we are considering but being able to control one is not in the works." What's your mileage?
7. Watch out for "hyper-realism"
Edge writes that Dark Souls 2 comes "tantalisingly close" to "hyper-realism" - a troublesome, heavily academic concept often associated with the philosopher Jean Baudrillard. I lack the book learning to comment here, but a rough-and-ready distillation of the idea is that representations of reality begin to undermine what they represent. Intriguing. You should buy the mag for more.
8. The multiplayer's bigger and better
Getting back to hard specifics, Dark Souls 2 will be the first Souls title to feature dedicated servers, and this will apparently have dramatic consequences for From Software's famously punishing online features. "Setting up a dedicated server lets you retain your data, making it easier to share it with other players," Shibuya revealed to Famitsu. "We'd like to evolve the asynchronous message-oriented online support from the previous game; we're imagining a framework where players are able to directly interact with each other.
"I think having dedicated game servers will be the source of a lot of new potential in DS2," Miyazaki put in. "There was a lot with the original Dark Souls I wish I could have done if we had the ability to have those serviers, so in that way I'm pretty jealous of the new director here. I think the concept behind online play in Demon's Souls and Dark Souls was pretty plain to gamers, so I'm hoping we can evolve on that concept here without removing ourselves too far from it."
That's all for now. What do you think?