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Dark Souls 2 changes discussed, focus on removing tedium & backtracking [Fact Sheet]

Update:

Fact Sheet:


---

I figured these would be better to discuss separately from the next-gen/current-gen stuff.

There's a lot more at the link. I focused primarily on direct answers from their interview.

CVG said:
"We understand that a lot of fans took the word 'accessible' and translated it to 'it will be easier'," he said. "We apologise for casually using the word".

From Software's true intent was muddled in translation. This time, Tanimura and Namco Bandai producer Tak Miyazoe are clear and precise with their words: "There's no intent for us to make the game any easier."

"At the same time, the goal isn't to make Dark Souls 2 more difficult, just more rewarding," he continued. "What we meant by accessibility was streamlining a lot of the so-called tediousness that was in Dark Souls to make sure we can trim the fat and directly deliver the pure challenges and emotional aspects we want to communicate."

Streamlining, trim; more flammable words, but this time better explained: "For example; having to backtrack in Dark Souls and having to do all that travelling. Warping was only available in the latter half of the game, which seemed a little bit useless."
CVG said:
In our interview we raise the point that some might find backtracking and the predictability of enemies important to the experience. Retreading old ground, for example, might be considered as a flabby part of gameplay by some, but to others the familiarity may be essential to building the confidence needed to tackle new challenges. Similarly, learning patterns to the point where battling enemies requires little effort also feeds into building comfort. Is it wise to tinker with such things?

"The balance we have to achieve is very fine," agrees Tanimura. "We understand that there are certain aspects that fans will like, that others may feel are tedious, it's my job personally to find that balance. We understand that within the tedium and other things perceived to be negative, there are fun aspects. If we do decide to cut those portions or clean them up, we want to make sure the fun element of it is carried over in a different way.

"We will make sure that we don't just cut away, we'll figure out what's critical to the essence, what needs to remain, and what we can cut away to deliver a pure experience."
CVG said:
"One thing we do focus on is that no matter the kind of deaths they experience, players should understand the reason they died. Killing players is easy, you can just make an enemy strong or use surprise attacks, but it's important to allow the player to learn about their deaths. That is a fine balance, but we always keep in mind that it isn't unfair, we make sure to add a reason to each of the situations in the game."

The next area we're in is outside. In the distance is a castle, but to get to it the knight must cross a lengthy rope bridge. Dozens of wyverns circle in the sky above, but with no options apparent, crossing seems to be the only choice. Of course, a few steps in and a wyvern crashes onto the bridge and tears it off. The knight falls to his death.

"The bridge instance is actually a surprise feature," explains Tanimura, "we want to express the 'oh my god, what do I do now, how the hell do I get past this part?'

"We want the player to start thinking about what to do next and come up with strategies to conquer that area. Obviously we don't want to have a situation where, if you try and cross that bridge, you die no matter what. We'll leave hints and clues to allow players to anticipate what's going to happen. If they try and cross the bridge, they'll probably die, but the death will have meaning. That's the emotional takeback we want from each of the situations, like the bridge."


Our eyes-on demo ends with a quick visit to the Torture Chamber, where a boss riding a silver chariot appears and promptly runs the knight over. The purpose of this display of cruelty is to show that some bosses in Dark Souls 2 can be taken out in ways other than one-on-one combat.
Though we aren't given any details, Tanimura says the Silver Chariot Rider can be defeated before the traditional boss encounter moment, much like The End in Metal Gear Solid 3.
CVG said:
The demo felt like it was very much designed to assuage fears that Dark Souls 2 would be an easier game, perhaps to parlay its recent success into reaching a broader audience. But Tanimura made it clear that From Software is under no pressure to do such a thing and, in fact, has been given complete creative freedom by Namco Bandai. From what we've seen, Dark Souls 2 is shaping up to be a worthy successor.
Source: http://www.computerandvideogames.co...oftware-talks-dark-souls-2/?page=3#top_banner
 

Clevinger

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Mar 8, 2006
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"We want the player to start thinking about what to do next and come up with strategies to conquer that area. Obviously we don't want to have a situation where, if you try and cross that bridge, you die no matter what. We'll leave hints and clues to allow players to anticipate what's going to happen."

Sounds good.
 

sixghost

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May 23, 2010
7,606
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0
I'm torn on the issue of backtracking. It gets tedious on subsequent playthroughs when you've explored the entire world and just need to run for 3-4 minutes to get to your destination, but it's such an integral part of the game on your first playthrough. Having to backtrack is what solidifies your understanding of how the world connects, which makes you appreciate how well the world is designed. People who really love Dark Souls could probably sketch that entire world from memory.
 

zephervack

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Apr 12, 2010
7,162
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Something I love about backtracking is facing enemies that used to kill you in 2 blows and killing them in 2 seconds with your new skills/gear.

Im hoping there is some sort of backtracking or at least a connected world.
 

Clevinger

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Mar 8, 2006
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Dunno, i don't remember having any problem with backtracking, etc in DS.

I didn't on my first playthrough. But on every playthrough since then I've hated how I can't warp in the first half. It makes upgrading stuff and farming at different places a giant pain in the balls.
 

Axelstream

Member
Oct 30, 2010
603
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This is all pretty reassuring.

Yeah, no joke. Great to hear it straight from them.

I was also wondering about the fairness of the death on the bridge, but it looks like they have a specific plan in mind for it. Just as long as they're aware.
 

Cheeto

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Sep 5, 2006
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36
I don't know... I thought the setup of DS's world was perfect. I never thought it was tedious.
 
Aug 24, 2005
5,256
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Nothing wrong with backtracking. Always like coming back to areas when im stronger and owning everything that used to own me. Also, you might find things you missed the first time. Nothing wrong with that.
 

ThatChairMan

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Apr 22, 2009
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The one thing that did catch our attention is a roll which transitioned seamlessly into an attack. In Dark Souls this wouldn't be possible due to recovery animations after the roll; a new ability perhaps.

Pretty sure that was always there. Aside from that, very interesting read.
 

lilltias

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Nov 22, 2005
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Backtracking is a big deal for me. It makes the world cohesive and like a real, yeah, world. It allows you to enter areas that will woop your ass and that gives you a powerful incentive to continue to play and man up for that part of the game later on.
 

Guevara

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Jul 27, 2009
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The only backtracking I didn't like in DaS was going through Blighttown, which you only have to do once and there's even an obvious shortcut.
 

Derrick01

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May 9, 2011
34,663
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Because it's boring and tedious.

I don't remember much backtracking in DS other than to go to different areas that were connected to areas I had been to previously. I actually liked that a lot, it makes the level design appear to be more complex and more connected than just progressing in a straight line the entire time.
 

TelemachusD

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Aug 23, 2006
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I'm torn on the issue of backtracking. It gets tedious on subsequent playthroughs when you've explored the entire world and just need to run for 3-4 minutes to get to your destination, but it's such an integral part of the game on your first playthrough. Having to backtrack is what solidifies your understanding of how the world connects, which makes you appreciate how well the world is designed. People who really love Dark Souls could probably sketch that entire world from memory.

The layout of everything in Dark Souls is very much imprinted in my mind because with no map you have to know how to get somewhere from memory. The world of Dark Souls is not that big anyway once you open shortcuts. You can run anywhere in the game in just a few minutes.
 

pixlexic

Banned
Nov 10, 2012
7,468
1
0
Because it's boring and tedious.

It makes the game world more cohesive . corridor games feel like games .. Games where you have go back an forth between areas to unlock places you couldn't go before gives that sense of real cohesive world.
 

Himself

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Jul 8, 2010
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This is the best possible news. Dark Souls' open world led to so much unecessary backtracking, and was detrimental to the level design. I feel like 50% of the game was spent getting from point a to point b and not actually exploring or accomplishing anything.

I hope this brings back some of the tightness of Demon's Souls. There's a reason I've finished Demon's three times and haven't finished Dark once. Shit was tedious.

Hype went from a murmuring blip to excitement.
 

KarmaCow

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Sep 13, 2009
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The only backtracking I didn't like in DaS was going through Blighttown, which you only have to do once and there's even an obvious shortcut.

I think it's fitting that going through the Blighttown was tough to traverse, though I can imagine it being kinda annoying to go back down to get to the Demon Ruins if you missed the bonfire next to Quelaag's sister.
 
Aug 8, 2012
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There is nothing wrong with Backtracking if the area you are revisiting changes in some way or if you acquire an item that lets you explore the area more. But back tracking just to get from point A to point B is tedious. Which is what Dark souls had in the first half.
 

Conciliator

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Apr 21, 2011
7,306
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"The balance we have to achieve is very fine," agrees Tanimura. "We understand that there are certain aspects that fans will like, that others may feel are tedious, it's my job personally to find that balance. We understand that within the tedium and other things perceived to be negative, there are fun aspects. If we do decide to cut those portions or clean them up, we want to make sure the fun element of it is carried over in a different way.

"We will make sure that we don't just cut away, we'll figure out what's critical to the essence, what needs to remain, and what we can cut away to deliver a pure experience."

I like your purdy words Tanimura.

Anyway, I think more/sooner warp points or whatever the case may be would be a good change.
 

UrbanRats

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Jun 25, 2009
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The backtracking thing is true, especially in NG+ and subsequent playthroughs, i usually rush to get the lord vessel, because trotting around knowing the area foot by foot is simply a chore.
 

TentPole

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Mar 15, 2012
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It makes the game world more cohesive . corridor games feel like games .. Games where you have go back an forth between areas to unlock places you couldn't go before gives that sense of real cohesive world.

I agree with this. It is only boring when the actual level design is generic and boring, without distinct and memorable areas, landmarks, etc.
 

Krusenstern

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Feb 20, 2013
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The demo felt like it was very much designed to assuage fears that Dark Souls 2 would be an easier game, perhaps to parlay its recent success into reaching a broader audience. But Tanimura made it clear that From Software is under no pressure to do such a thing and, in fact, has been given complete creative freedom by Namco Bandai. From what we've seen, Dark Souls 2 is shaping up to be a worthy successor.

I'm happy. It sounds like the game is in good hands.
 

Prophet Steve

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Sep 16, 2009
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I also did not have an issue with backtracking, but it can't hurt for the people that do.

Glad they also will streamline the game more, I disliked that the game almost required you for some things to get it from the community or just searched it on the wiki. I get the design decision of wanting to discuss strategies with other people and stuff, but it just does not work in this day and age. It just requires an extra Google search.
 

mollipen

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Oct 7, 2005
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Why is backtracking always looked at as such a horrible thing ?

I was just going to ask the same thing. I might sound old and bitter when I say this, but why are so many players these days seemingly allergic to going back through places they've been before, due to that being logical in world creation? I think back to games such as Metroid and Super Metroid, and there was a lot of backtracking in games such as those. Worlds were developed as places that could actually exist, not linear paths as if you're on an amusement park ride.

Dark Souls was never big enough that it was a hassle to retread old ground, and doing so made me feel more like I was in a world that actually existed somewhere. When some people complain strongly about backtracking, it makes me wonder about their attention span.
 
Sep 30, 2009
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They might as well just bring back the superior Nexus hub from Demon's. The backtracking is a consequence of this interconnected "open" world they've created, and they've practically admitted as much by saying this.
 

Clevinger

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Mar 8, 2006
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Backtracking is fun though. I always love going through an area and completely obliterating the shithead enemies that used to own me.

Thankfully we can still backtrack to our hearts' content until it gets boring and tedious and then we can use the warp.
 

Archpath1

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May 10, 2012
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alright then how can you make backtracking "fun" or "ease it in" without getting rid of it completely then

pretty sure you can keep it optional, like have a item oneway ticket back to your base,very limited, so you let the player decide when he really wants to go back quicker or save for later.
 

Clevinger

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Mar 8, 2006
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alright then how can you make backtracking "fun" or "ease it in" without getting rid of it completely then

The option to warp when backtracking to those places stops being fun and starts being a chore. Unless they're doing a Demon's Souls archstone type system, but it doesn't sound like it.