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 artbooks. However, characters and areas both typically have their own labels within the actual game files, and these internal names can be […]

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 […]

Demon’s Beginning

Preface What makes us human? What makes us not? Even though the world of Demon’s Souls is far less fantastical than the setting of its spiritual successor Dark Souls, it is no less fascinating due to how it revolves around such simple yet fundamental questions. Better still, the world is constructed so that we must […]

Latria

Preface Latria’s place in the narrative is two-fold. First, it serves to show that evil exists and will commit terrible atrocities if given the power to make its will reality. Second, it highlights the oftentimes arbitrary distinctions regarding the concept of humanity. It is ingrained in our psyche to look at such horrors with revulsion, […]

Valley of Defilement

Preface C.S. Lewis once stated that he would rather live under the tyranny of robber barons than that of moral busybodies, for the latter act ceaselessly with the approval of their own conscience. While I cannot say if Director Hidetaka Miyazaki is familiar with the words of a Christian theologian, they are certainly appropriate for […]

Stonefang

Preface I originally found Stonefang Tunnel to be the least interesting area of Demon’s Souls. Indeed, it is a rather unremarkable locale compared to the more culturally unique places we visit, with its people perhaps the most uni-dimensional in theming. Even in terms of gameplay, the area serves mostly as a place to farm and […]

Temple of God

Preface During an interview for the original Dark Souls, Director Hidetaka Miyazaki said that he had created the character of Solaire partially to rebut accusations that he had a slant against religious people, presumably in reference to his depiction of the priesthood in Demon’s Souls. While I can understand these complaints on their surface, the […]

Environmental Storytelling

You run the gauntlet of Sen’s Fortress, dodging shadowy traps — only to get knocked down into the tar pits below, by a scythe. Seeing that all-too-familiar white light flaring in the distance, you slowly wade your way over. Loot the corpse, and, lo and behold, you found the scythe. Dark Souls (DS1) is filled […]

Defining God

What constitutes a god? Demon’s Souls presents a cornucopia of perspectives, all of which somehow tie back to the soul and magic. However, the most prominent God is heavily rooted in the Judeo-Christian conception. Not so with Dark Souls. There, divinity draws inspiration mainly from polytheistic mythologies. The “gods” — almost exclusively shorthand for the […]