1. No Miyazaki
From Software's Hidetaka Miyazaki was the director of both Demon's Souls and Dark Souls and his influence is everywhere in those games. He's an exceptionally sharp and unusual character, utterly uncompromising in his vision and fastidious about realising it. He takes an extremely active role in everything from art design to player feedback, from the intricacies of the game's mechanics to the overarching themes of death and hopelessness that permeate every tiny element of it. And he's not directing Dark Souls 2. Instead we've got Tomohiro Shibuya and Yui Tanimura, both of whom are a mystery. Shibuya's MobyGames profile shows games from Resident Evil Outbreak to Monster Hunter, but I don't know how long he's been at From.
This really concerns me. When we interviewed Miyazaki in 2011, he gave the impression that he wouldn't do another Souls game unless he knew it was breaking new ground once again. Miyazaki is apparently staying on as an advisor, but if he's no longer in charge of Dark Souls, does that mean he can't think of where to take it next? Frankly, if Miyazaki can't take Dark Souls in brave new directions, I'm a bit sceptical that anyone can. A Dark Souls rehash would definitely not be the worst thing in the world, but it also wouldn't be in the spirit of the series.
The fear, I think, is that Dark Souls 2 is moving toward appeasing mainstream audiences and losing some of what made it so special in the first place. It's a valid concern, especially considering the venue the game was announced at. But being more straight-forward is not a bad thing. Both Demon's Souls and Dark Souls, if you'll recall, featured some pretty obtuse level design (screw Blighttown, seriously). There's a middle ground that can be reached here.
What actually worries me is the fact that Dark Souls just keeps getting bigger and bigger. In noting Shibuya's comment about accessibility, Edge indirectly gave voice to those fears by suggesting that "we can surely agree that we would all like to see Dark Souls attain as great a presence as The Elder Scrolls."
Well no. Not really.