Demon's Souls was a hard, hard game. Its spiritual successor doesn't sound any easier — even with its brand new title.
Previously the game sported the working title "Project Dark", but according to the latest issue of Japanese game magazine Famitsu, the game is now called "Dark Souls". Spiritual successor, perhaps, but the world and the story are unrelated to Demon's Souls.
Demon's Souls was a PS3 exclusive, while medieval fantasy Dark Souls is for both the PS3 and the Xbox 360.
The game will have large areas that can be explored, so if players see, for example, a field in the distance, then they will be able to make their way there and have a look around. However, players will not be provided with a complete map in this open world, but only a marker that shows where they currently are. The entire world is conjoined, and there isn't a "hub" like in Demon's Souls that linked the five different worlds. Areas won't be only be horizontally expansive, but also vertically so. Thus, the focus on exploration is increased in Dark Souls.
Compared to Demon's Souls, Dark Souls will allow more freedom in how players play. When players create their character, their character will not be class-based. The game offers a wide variety of different weapons (and weapon animation) as well as spells and in-game items. Players are invited to fully explore their own play style — as opposed to having an assigned one.
Online-wise, the game has online play that's similar to Demon's Souls with co-op play and versus play. In the online mode, which won't have dedicated servers, players can see where other players died and leave messages. There is also "mutual role-playing", which will be explained in greater depth at a later date.
Dark Souls sounds easy? It's apparently not. The developers are trying to make something as challenging as Demon's Souls — and just as rewarding for players. As with Demon's Souls, the themes are "learn from one's mistakes and take delight in discovery". The developers are happy that Demon's Souls was so well received abroad, and Dark Souls is slated for release this year in both Japan and the West.