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Dark Souls - Editorial @ Gamasutra

by Couchpotato, 2014-05-05 06:28:35

Gamasutra is hosting another article from the sites community where the writer talks about why Dark Souls is the Ikea of game development. Here is part of his article.

Winding my way back to the headline of the article, how does Dark Souls fit into this line of reasoning? How, as the headline states, is it the Ikea of video games?

Well, think about it. Dark Souls (and Demon’s Souls before it) is not a game that tries to be all things to all people. It has targeted a very specific audience: hardcore gamers who want a hardcore experience. Let’s walk through some of the trade-off’s that allow From Software to be efficient and highly competitive. While you read, think of how many other publishers and developers would – or would not – be willing to make these same choices:

  •     One difficulty level targeted at elite gamers: From Software only needs to test and balance for one type of experience, which is drastically more simple than having selectable difficulty levels.
  •     No real tutorial to speak of, because Dark Soul’s core audience doesn’t need and, to a certain extent, probably doesn’t want one: to the core audience, discovering the in’s and out’s of the game, individually and as a community, is part of the experience. As a developer, I can tell you that tutorials are expensive, error-prone rat’s nests of edge cases.
  •     No heavy narrative experience, providing a sense of mystery and discovery: having few cinematics and sparse dialog saves money and logistical overhead – while cinematics and dialog are straightforward to create, they are highly inflexible. Changing those types of assets after they are created carries a significant cost.
  •     Focused multiplayer that is tailored to the Dark Souls experience: no CTF, or territories, or team deathmatch. There is one kind of multiplayer setup, love it or hate it.
  •     One type of game: Dark Souls can trace its lineage all the way back to King’s Field. In other words, From Software has been making action-RPG’s for a long time. Knowing the kind of game you’re making, and its particular nuances and pitfalls, is a learning curve that money can’t buy. From Software isn’t chasing market trends, it’s making the games it knows how to make.
  •     Consistent engine, even if it isn’t top of the line: they know it inside and out, and known tech is predictable tech..mostly.
  •     Sparse music adds to Dark Soul’s lonely, oppressive atmosphere: it also saves money. This is a quintessential trade-off in my mind – a sacrifice that most companies would be unwilling to make is an asset for a game like Dark Souls.

Information about

Dark Souls

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: Action-RPG
Platform: PC
Release: Released