From Software's Demon's Souls is heading West, with Japanese role-playing game specialists Atlus picking up the slack for North American PlayStation 3 publishing duties. The action RPG, already released in Japan, will arrive this Fall.

The "ultimate hardcore RPG challenge" will pit up to three players against a horde of demons online, with cooperative, player versus player and single-player modes, adding open ended variety to the Demon's Souls experience.


The PlayStation 3 RPG, an unofficially described spiritual successor to the King's Field franchise, will offer a handful of player classes to choose from, with character customization and progression making for a "free-form and flexible" game structure.

Atlus points out Demon's Souls key features for prospective buyers. And they are...

* Ultimate hardcore RPG challenge — In this brutal land, death is inevitable, but not final. Combining the best features of an action game and RPG, you'll slice, smash, shoot, and ensorcel some of the most horrible, vicious enemies ever encountered. Are you strong enough to face the impossible and win?
* Groundbreaking online capabilities — Network features go far beyond any previous RPG, allowing players to leave hints for each other, replay death scenes, cooperatively revive dead players, or invade another player's game to wreak havoc. Not merely an add-on feature, multiplayer options are vast, and uniquely focused on changing and intensifying the single player experience.
* Freeform and flexible — The open-ended structure of the game means that there is no single path, but rather a wealth of options. Set your own pace and progress as you like. Build exactly the character you want by creating a detailed avatar, nurturing the right stats, and customizing your skills and equipment.
* You act, the world reacts — The World Tendency system changes the aggressiveness of monsters and the rewards for killing them based on players' actions. Different events and NPCs may be triggered, as well.


We played an early version of Demon's Souls at Tokyo Game Show, just a few days after the game was officially announced. Those impressions weren't too positive—part of that based on the unfinished nature of the game—as 20 minutes isn't the ideal amount of time to spend with a game like this. But the game was mostly well regarded by critics of the final Japanese release.

But our impressions of the game's debut trailer were much better.