Strange afflictions? Check. Scary world where danger lurks on every corner? Check. Horrifying monsters that kill you over 30 times, but you still say to all your friends that this is one of the best games ever? These are the general criteria for a Souls games, and it looks like Bloodborne isn’t straying too far away from the formula.
Bloodborne is an upcoming action role-playing game from developers From Software, and publishers SCE Japan Studio, made exclusively for the PlayStation 4. From Software is best known for their collection of dark fantasy games, Demon’s Souls, and sequels Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2, with Bloodborne’s director, Hidetaka Miyazaki, also involved in Demons Souls and Dark Souls. For the gamer with a masochistic streak, Demon Souls and the Dark Souls series were games of choice, as every bad decision and wrong move was mercilessly punished by the difficulty of the game. The high difficulty and skill threshold has earned the Souls series a place in modern gaming history as some of the hardest and most frustrating, yet addictive games we’ve seen yet. With a pedigree such as that, Bloodborne has a lot to live up to (or die repeatedly to).
Bloodborne has been explicitly stated to not be a sequel to the Souls’ series, and as such it is placed in a different universe where they’ve moved away from a medieval aesthetic and into a setting that is reminiscent of Victorian Gothic horror. It is set in the city of Yharnam, known for a magical remedy to a strange and terrible affliction that has drawn scores of infected to now inhabit it’s sprawling passageways and dark corners. The player’s character is one of these infected, and they must now fight and survive against the sickening monsters and terrifying plague.
While the monsters and bosses in the Souls series were no pushovers, Bloodborne director Miyazaki has stated that ‘When you face an enemy, you’re going to face death’, with each battle a struggle to stay alive. They plan to do this by treating combat with more finesse. The player character will be dual wielding weapons, with a scythe in one hand and a shotgun in the other, moving away from the passive play style many Souls players used to defeat enemies from afar. Enemies will also become smarter and will patrol around the city, rather than merely spawn into place, and will lurk in dark recesses, ready to jump out and rip you apart. The environment will also signal danger in other ways, with the sounds of huge and hulking beasts in the distance to announce their coming arrival. And like with the Souls series, you may also find allies who may return your own compassion to lend a hand.
The dark, gloomy atmosphere of Bloodborne might not give players cause to praise the sun, but that might be the game’s intent. From what’s been shown so far, the game will be far bleaker than the Souls series, and while it will be judged by the shadow of the developer’s previous games, it may carve out a new piece of gaming history for the next generation.