Demon’s Souls was originally released back in 2009 on the PS3 in Japan. A spiritual successor to From Software’s King’s Field and Shadow Tower games, it shifted the viewpoint to third-person and afforded some unique online functionality.
Namely, that you could leave messages around the place as well as “invade” the games of other players, it’s these online services along with player rankings that will be shut down on February 28.
Following Demon’s Souls, Bandai Namco funded the development of the Dark Souls games, which is part of the same overall series but still somewhat separate from Demon’s Souls.
The main thing many people remember about Demon’s Souls, apart from its amazingly bleak and haunting setting, was that it wasn’t exactly a walkover in terms of its difficulty.
Considering that most modern games are built around maximum reward for zero effort, Demon’s Souls harked back to an era when you actually had to be able to play games properly.
The fascinating thing about Demon’s Souls was how it became a breakout hit. This is because From Software had been making the same kinds of games as Demon’s Souls since the mid-90s but it wasn’t until Demon’s Souls that people took notice.
Now, this wasn’t because Demon’s Souls was some kind of big leap forward but more down to the fact that Asian release of the game was fully localized in English. That meant people who didn’t normally import games suddenly “discovered” this new game that was only available in Asia.
This localization created a bow wave of accidental marketing that propelled the game into the collective gaming consciousness and the Souls games have been coasting on that good fortune ever since.
Obviously, Demon’s Souls was a good game and it’s sad to think that after 9 years of service that the game’s online component will be shutting down. The good news is that the singleplayer will be left mostly unaffected, unlike Chromehounds for instance, so you can still venture into the dark and dank kingdom of Boletaria for the foreseeable future.
Disclosure: I know members of the development staff at From Software personally.
Read my Forbes blog here.
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