Souls “scholar” Lokey, who is both a student of the series’ lore and a fluent Japanese speaker, has been digging into the story and themes of the original Dark Souls for years. Now, for the game’s impending 10th anniversary, he’s put everything he knows into two absolutely gorgeous books that are up for pre-order.
I’m not using “glorious” and “gorgeous” lightly; these fan-made books are like fancy old bibles, with no expense spared in terms of their design or production. Look at this!
Here’s the pitch from the publishers Tune & Fairweather for the books, whose collection is called the Abyssal Archive:
Abyssal Archive is the culmination of years of determined research and writing by veteran Souls scholar Lokey, who combined his understanding of Japanese and deep familiarity with Miyazaki’s oeuvre to mine unique insights from Dark Souls’ source material. All of that learning has been distilled in these two hardcover volumes for fans interested in deepening their understanding of Lordran’s tumultuous history as well as its characters’ exploits and tangled relationships.
The set also contains a fold-out companion map of Lordran by artist Judson Cowan. Bound individually and housed alongside the books, this map rounds out the set, making Abyssal Archive the definitive reference for fans of Miyazaki’s gothic masterpiece. Plotted out with the aid of a 3D map viewer to ensure fidelity of both level geometry and scale, this expansive map is the most faithful representation of Lordran ever produced.
And that map? Also absolutely beautiful:
Now for the bad news: all this doesn’t come cheap. The basic edition of the collection comes in at €180/USD$180, with a limited edition (featuring a clamshell box instead of a slide-out shell) costing €249/USD$249, and a benefactor edition—which is the same as the limited edition only with your name in the back of the book—costing €495/USD$495.
All editions are available now for pre-order, with the publishers hoping all copies can be manufactured and sent out before the end of 2022.