Details of the surprise Dark Souls II announcement have so far been scarce. We know that it's going to be released on the current generation of consoles, and that its dark, epic fantasy tone will match that of previous Souls games. I've been salivating for more, and thankfully further details surfaced in a new interview with 4gamer today.
Speaking to the Japanese site, From Software's Tomohiro Shibuya and Hidetaka Miyazaki touched on some of the questions that fans have been wondering about most, including the new engine, the direction that the story will take and the layout of Dark Souls II's world.
As we know by now, Miyazaki, who served as director for both Demon's Souls and Dark Souls, has assumed a more advisory role for Dark Souls II. Shibuya has stepped in as game director. In an interview with Famitsu earlier this week, the two reassured fans that they won't be abandoning the core of Dark Souls—the dark fantasy, the difficulty, etc. In this latest chat, they reaffirmed those points.
But on to the news: judging by Google's mangled attempt to translate the interview, it seems that Dark Souls II will be running on a "new graphics engine" that Shibuya helped build internally at From Software. It's unclear whether the new engine will affect gameplay, but Shibuya seems to stress that the game's graphics will benefit the most from it. He mentions some middleware is still in use as well, though doesn't seem to get into specifics.
Shibuya also seems to confirm that though Dark Souls II will be set in the same universe as Dark Souls, it won't be a direct sequel in terms of story. And it seems the world—the physical map—of Dark Souls II will stay faithful to the precedent that Dark Souls set, with a large, detailed, interconnected map rather than something more open like a traditional RPG. Some of that has been mentioned in rumors before, but not in such a direct fashion straight from Miyazaki and Shibuya themselves.
There's some delicious concept art sprinkled throughout the interview that appears to be from the game's development, with a lot more at the source. These extra few details, as skimpy as they may be, will help me rest a little easier at night with the thought that Dark Souls II is in the right hands. But only a little easier—I'll still be woken up with the occasional nightmare of Artorias.