If like me, you’ve pumped hundreds of hours into the Soulsbourne franchise and Sekiro, Demon’s Souls has always remained somewhat enigmatic. Although it is the first in this game-changing franchise, to this day it remains a PS3 exclusive, meaning many of us have resorted to experiencing the game through playthroughs, lore videos, and other indirect content. But to play this early prototype of the iconic From Software formula feels like a hugely important learning experience.
A few years ago I even went as far as to purchase a PS4 with the sole intent of playing the legendary Bloodborne I had heard so much about, and as Dark Souls: Remastered trickled across all platforms in 2018, I was hopeful for Demon’s Souls to arrive at my fingertips.
Well, at the very end of Sony’s PS5 celebration they revealed a heap of new games fans had been dying to hear about, and lo and behold Demon’s Souls finally made an appearance… as a PS5 exclusive. This is, obviously, amazing news. The trailer they flaunted was incredible, boasting the same look and feel of the 2009 original but with a new sheen of the cutting edge. Ray tracing, incredible design developments, and an awe-inspiring attention to lore and detail suggest that this remake, unlike the somewhat flimsy remake of Dark Souls, will likely become the definitive edition of Demon’s Souls in the years to come.
The project is especially exciting given that Bluepoint Games are tried and tested masters of the remaster, being the studio that allowed us to revisit the incredibly eerie and faithfully recreated world of Shadow of the Colossus in 2018. Much like their Shadow of the Colossus remaster, they are rebuilding Demon’s Souls from the ground up in an entirely different engine, scrapping several of the clunky late-2000s elements of the game, while smoothing out movement controls, interactions and that charming jankiness which, I’m sure, led to many broken controllers.
But what’s exciting many long-term fans is the potential fix of one of the broken Archstones. If you’re like me and had no idea what this meant, don’t worry. The Archstones work similarly to the gravestones in Bloodborne, as Demon’s Souls works as a bunch of disparate levels connected by a hub-world (the Nexus), and you get to each through the Archstones.
In the 2009 game, there was one Archstone that was broken, informing players that it led to a snow-covered “land of the giants”. This area didn’t make it into the original due to the team running out of funds or time. But as the remaster’s trailer does display snow-covered land, fans are hopeful that the new version may in fact build on the original’s scope and lore—and if you know Souls fans, you know they love the lore.
It initially puzzled me as to why From Software was not developing the remaster themselves, but it’s important to remember that the Demon’s Souls IP is actually still owned by Sony—again explaining why the game remains exclusive. This means that the remaster too, is likely to remain an exclusive for all of time.
Despite all this uncontainable excitement and fantastic news that Demon’s Souls is returning for a whole new generation to experience, I fear that I, and individuals like me, are in the gap which will once again miss the game. As I have almost entirely shifted my focus to PC gaming with little other reason to upgrade my PS4, I am unlikely to dish out the multiple hundreds necessary to play this one title. Sadly, this game is likely to remain in the realm of videos and information for me.
But, that said, with From Software’s Elden Ring on the horizon, and with the hope that reproducing the Demon’s Souls world from the ground up may result in potential sequels, or further installments from From themselves, perhaps Sony has chosen the perfect game to be one of their centrepieces for the PS5’s release. I know many, like me, will find it hard to resist when we eventually see the game in action.