External Sourcing

If the game script itself is the lore hunter’s Bible, then external sources can be considered the Apocrypha. While they can never trump what is provided in the actual game, such outside resources can inject additional insight into analysis, sometimes even creating a shortcut for more oblique inferences. Characters don’t exist in a vacuum, and […]

Character Psychology

I have already discussed two of what I consider to be core pillars to my analysis, the philology and archaeology. As Game Director Hidetaka Miyazaki himself admits in an Edge interview, he uses both elements to “tell more with less” — to show, not tell. This minimalist approach to storytelling perversely shifts some importance from […]

Localization

It is fair to say that, when it comes to FromSoftware titles directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki, the game script is the lore hunter’s bible. Covering everything from descriptions to dialogue, it is the script from which we learn the deeper truths and form the basis for which we frame all other elements in the game. […]

The Big Fix

Among the numerous problems with Dark Souls II post-launch, the degrading integrity of its world was the most jarring. Already the game had an almost devil-may-care attitude with regards to item placement, with numerous hanging threads or plot holes further muddling the unambitious narrative. FromSoftware had clearly pinned their hopes on rectifying at least the […]

Recontextualization

In one of his many excellent videos, illusory wall proposes a “design trick” that the developers at FromSoftware, or at least Game Director Hidetaka Miyazaki, employ for narrative and worldbuilding purposes, albeit rarely. While even he struggles to define it, the basic concept is that certain things, such as items, are actually something other than […]

Internal Naming

While we are almost always introduced to the name of each area we enter, the official names for allies and enemies alike are commonly only listed in external sources like official guides or art books. However, characters and areas both typically have their own labels within the actual game files, and these internal names can […]

A World Divided

From the first moment they materialize out of the fog in the original Dark Souls (DS1) opening cinematic, the archtrees have become somewhat iconic. Giant trees towering over all else certainly leaves an impression, and there is a certain mystique to their portrayal across the franchise. But this doesn’t mean that they are anything less […]

Artistic License

Safe from their perch, the channelers harass us with soul arrows cast from their tridents, but take that sorcery catalyst for yourself and you are only lugging around an ordinary pole arm — such is the divide between gameplay versus lore. While developers try their best to make us forget during the experience, we are […]

New Game+

Put simply, I generally do not factor New Game+ (NG+) into my analyses. Not because it lacks any informational value, but because that value is, for the most part, superfluous. NG+ is a means for players to replay the game with a familiar yet fresh experience, and any changes made to that end are almost […]

Cut Content

I don’t blame anyone for knee-jerk skepticism with regards to cut content. It is by its very nature unused, never to be seen by design, and the reasons are commonly because they are relics of the development process. As Game Director Hidetaka Miyazaki relates in the Dark Souls: Design Works interview, Andre was originally planned […]