Dark Souls 2 to 'enhance' online play, keeping isolation focus

Dark Souls 2 producer Takeshi Miyazoe explains how the studio is making some "enhancements" to the online play, but is still keeping it firmly about isolation.

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The "Souls" series made its name with brutal difficulty and a unique online hook. We've seen enough to know that the masochistic challenge is remaining in Dark Souls 2, and producer Takeshi Miyazoe has now explained a bit more about keeping the feeling of isolation in its online interactions.

"We still have yet to reveal a lot of the enhancements, but the core elements of the network play in Dark Souls, such as summoning other players, Covenants that help or interrupt other players, will carry over to Dark Souls 2," Miyazoe told OXM. "Our dev team's goal is to enhance some of these elements even further, so that you still have that loose connection--how you interact with other players will be an enhanced experience, a new experience."

The Mirror Knight, for example, can summon other players to fight you using his shield. That likely signals a new Covenant. But even though Miyazoe says the team is working on improvements, he doesn't think the team feels obligated to outdo other games that have tried similar online modes.

"We feel there's a core element of the network online play that is unique to Dark Souls, and that the fans enjoy. The dev team really strives to avoid direct involvement with other players--I think there's a loose connection you have with other people.

"It's the sharing of emotions, the sharing of the loneliness with other people, so that you get that faint sense of comfort when you feel that another player's facing the same difficulties in the game, but without being able to have direct contact."

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    September 12, 2013 12:00 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Dark Souls 2 to 'enhance' online play, keeping isolation focus.

    Dark Souls 2 producer Takeshi Miyazoe explains how the studio is making some "enhancements" to the online play, but is still keeping it firmly about isolation.

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      September 12, 2013 1:16 PM

      Has there been any word on if this is coming to PS4 and XBO? I have a feeling that after November 15th my PS4 is moving in and my 360 is moving away from the main TV... I'd rather play this game on my shiny new PS4.

      I know people are going to scream "PC" at me... but this game is a console game to me, I'd rather play this one on the couch on my big TV with a nice controller.

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        September 12, 2013 2:32 PM

        I hope it comes to the PS4 and Xbox1, nothing has been announced yet :(

        I totally understand the couch and big screen thing when your playing your games that is how I play ever thing, I have 3 X 42" HD LEDs my self.

        But I use a PC. Have you ever used the HDMI out on your video card and jacked it into you HD TV? Also for sound have you used the optical out(on your mobo) or HDMI(audio from the GPU) and jack that into you AMP all from your PC? Then all you need is a 360 controller and call it a day.

        Its worth trying out it's pretty freaking cool, once you try it you may have solved any gaming problems you have had before and will repeatedly say "Holy Shit".

        If you have a good PC you really should check it out.

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          September 14, 2013 6:05 PM

          Yeah, I would be tempted to do that but I have a very different setup. My PC is upstairs in my office and my TV is downstairs in my living room. They are two totally different setups and I kind of like it that way. Besides, being married, my wife has made sure that out living room looks "nice" and "presentable" and there really isn't room anywhere in that room to stick a PC. But there are times when I'd love to do it that way and just use Steam Big Picture mode to play my games there. Maybe some day.

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        September 12, 2013 2:46 PM

        I would not be surprised if they port it at some point. Even if it's a later special edition. Given that it should be fairly easy to port from PC to PS4/xbox One

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      September 12, 2013 1:20 PM

      [deleted]

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      September 12, 2013 8:58 PM

      And this is why I never played these games beyond an hour or so. Shitty co mechanics which daly seem to carry over into this installment.

      Just let me invite my friend so we can fully coop the game together ffs.

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        September 12, 2013 8:58 PM

        Damn iPad. Shitty coop mechanics which seem to carry over*

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        September 12, 2013 9:00 PM

        If you said this a year ago I would agree with you, but after playing the PC version of Dark Souls using the co-op fix, I have to agree. Exploring areas, taking down huge bosses, and sometimes killing the asshole invader with a friend is awesome.

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        September 12, 2013 9:01 PM

        then you're missing the point of the game, it isn't meant to be co-oped throughout with your friends

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        September 12, 2013 9:04 PM

        You're missing the point of the game. It would be like asking for "full coop" in Journey.

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          September 12, 2013 9:12 PM

          I must be. Because I want coop. I looked into dsfix for pc but wasn't quite sure if it allows full coop.

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            September 12, 2013 9:41 PM

            Dark Souls, like Demon's Souls, is a game about personal risk and isolation. Having someone there beside you at all times ruins that feeling.

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            September 12, 2013 10:16 PM

            It doesn't allow full co op, but it does make it a lot easier to find your friend's summon sign when it is possible for it to be available.

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            September 13, 2013 5:23 AM

            Games like Dark Souls aren't designed to cater to everyone's wants. The game offers itself to you on its terms, and if you don't like them, you can choose to not play it, but it doesn't mean the game is bad.

            Why isn't Amnesia co-op? Why can't I get AI assist on hard levels in Super Meat Boy? Why does Xcom randomly fuck you over despite all your planning? Some games are best as they are.

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          September 12, 2013 10:57 PM

          DS has exceptionally difficult game play that kept a LOT of people from playing deep enough into the game to have really experienced it... which is a shame because the world and story are complex and haunting. Journey needed no aids because it was so simple that only the most severely retarded of individuals could not finish it.

          I think coop with friends and on demand is fine because it allows people to play how they want. It harms absolutely none of the game play for anyone i.e. it wouldn't damage the SP experience since the mechanics wouldn't have to change.

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            September 12, 2013 11:58 PM

            I feel like you're missing the point. Journey was a meditation on socialization, of what it's like to meet people. Journey removes all the cruft, all the elements of games that make the competitive and power fantasies, so when you meet someone all that you're left with the core choices you do when socializing in real-life.

            You are not forced to play with anyone else. You can meet someone, exchange some cursory tweets and go your separate ways, but where Journey shines, where it really is most amazing is in how it makes you feel when interacting with others throughout your travels.

            Early on I met a few people wandering around and at first I didn't even know that it was another person. It wasn't until maybe the third person near the start of the game really stopped and made an effort to get my attention that I finally realized that there was this other person sitting behind another screen trying to tell me something and when I did it was something pretty amazing.

            It takes time to understand someone. Everyone has their own individual quirks, their own ways of understanding and interacting with the world, and while it's pretty easy to get the gist of what someone means, it takes some significant time to really under the niceties of another person. Such was the way with me and my Journey buddy.

            The brilliance of Journey's tweeting is that it forces you learn how to communicate with the other person. At first you're just doing really basic things like getting their attention or having them follow you, but after a couple hours you start understanding when someone is sorry, or trying to tell you they're happy about finding a secret, or all sorts of little things you wouldn't think you could understand from just a few motions. After a time, you learn the little quirks in how they speak and move. After a time you get to know them after a fashion.

            So for it was kind of sad when my Journey buddy and I had to part ways at the end and it really did feel like a good bye and that's pretty amazing.

            If you let there be traditional multiplayer in Journey these kinds of experiences wouldn't really happen. You would have bling420mAstER joining up or just playing with people you know which entirely misses the point of the game and I feel Dark Souls is a similar type of game.

            Hidetaka Miyazaki has expressed how when went about creating Demon's and Dark Souls are experiences first instead of collection of game systems. When he talks about his games, he often discusses how he'd like people playing his games to feel first rather than focusing on the gameplay and specifics. While both the Souls games and Journey would mechanically be no different if they had this so called full coop, they would be entirely different experiences simply by virtue of who you played with and your knowledge of them.

            I really big inspiration for Miyazaki was his experiences reading english fantasy novels while he was learning the language. There would be these expansive plots, characters, and lands that he didn't understand simply by virtue of not having a good enough grasp on english which left so many things vague and incomprehensible. So he wanted the Souls games to convey that same sense of wonder and bewilderment he felt when reading those books as a child and that thought permeates much of the design.

            It is no mistake that the soul signs are restrictive and can be both good or bad, useful or misleading. It's no mistake that the only people you can interact with are strangers who you know very little about. If you've ever tried to learn another language or spent some significant time in a country that speaks a language you're not fluent in, then you know that feeling. If you're alway playing with people you know, sharing the risk with people you know and understand then you lessen that experience he's trying to share.

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              September 13, 2013 12:25 AM

              I just wanted to say that this post was really beautiful. Thanks.

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              September 13, 2013 10:29 AM

              Well said but it doesn't change my opinion that I'd rather enjoy an amazing game like DS with a friend. I just find it to be much more rewarding to experience games with friends than with strangers. I really do not see any harms in allowing this, it's all coop, who cares if it's a stranger or a friend.

              I personally do not think it will alter the experience for the worse in any way, and if it does for you then don't join up with friends... it's an option after all, not a forced methodology.

              Call me crazy but I actually enjoy playing with people I know. I can talk about it afterwards, relive the experience in person. With a stranger the experience becomes fleeting, modular, there's no stratification of experiences being built between people, you can't look back at what you've both accomplished. I know that's obviously not what the devs want but it's what I feel would be very cool to have in DS.

              Oh well, I'll still buy the game and love it to bits so this is all just a fun debate :-)

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            September 13, 2013 12:42 AM

            the dark souls story is complex?

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              September 13, 2013 10:42 PM

              If you read a wiki about it no... trying figure it all out yourself in game i would say yes.

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            September 13, 2013 12:44 AM

            I disagree. I think it could absolutely harm damage the game experience, because the allure of the RPG loot/exp/skill treadmill is really strong, and I think there's definite danger that a conventionally-implemented coop system would yield a multiplayer community full of players that fall into the old habits and demands of conventional dungeon crawlers.

            It's maybe a bit heavy-handed, but the games have really demonstrated that players do kind of need to be protected from themselves. For example, it's probably not fun to lose all your souls after dying twice in a row, but it can certainly yield a more interesting experience. I see From as exercising some of the same principles in co-op. As I said in my other post, if players had conventional, friends list based co-op options, most people would probably just run with their bros and close themselves off to a whole bunch of game experiences.

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        September 12, 2013 10:20 PM

        This is not the game you are looking for

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        September 13, 2013 12:18 AM

        it's not a "drop-in coop" kinda game. the game instead tries to integrate multiplayer into it with as consistently as possible with regard to the game's setting. this means no friends lists and no server lists. The game features nigh-invisible matchmaking. in the game the game's setting, you're summoning spirits from other realms/planes of existence to help you. apart from a bunch of flashing messages that pop up on screen, it plays that aspect of the game very straight. having some kind of drop-in/invite-based co-op system would completely disrupt that concept.

        furthermore, there's a game balance aspect to it. summoning is supposed to be a bit of a wildcard or risk/reward mechanic. If you could always reliably summon your friends, the spirit you'd summon would always be a known quantity. also the game isn't THAT difficult -- many bosses can be easily cheesed with two or three people who are in communication and know what they're doing. whereas when you're summoning strangers, you open yourself to a wider variety of outcomes, and you are NOT in communication with these people.

        plus, as other people have said, party co-op is just plain antithetical to the spirit of the game. it's supposed to be a fairly solitary experience. you're at a risk for missing a lot of the game's brilliance by having a bunch of friends (especially ones that have played the game before) blab over the levels and treating it like a WoW raid or something.

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        September 13, 2013 1:23 AM

        [deleted]

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          September 13, 2013 4:11 AM

          Nonetheless, the gameplay itself is pretty unique and it's kinda shitty to dismiss the desire to play a game you would otherwise enjoy in a new way that would solve one or more of your issues with it.

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        September 13, 2013 4:37 AM

        I won't come down on you as harshly for this opinion. It would be fun to play Souls games with friends. But since you didn't play Demon's or Dark 1 "beyond an hour or so," let me illustrate why the tried-and-true Souls multiplayer mechanics add a great deal to the experience.

        You fought tooth and nail through a long level, made it to a boss... and died. You respawn at the beginning of a level. All the enemies respawn with you. You can see them ahead, standing stock still, glaring in your direction, waiting for you to cross their path so they can take your head off like you took their last time, and the time before that, and the time before that.

        And normally you'd feel confident going up against any one of those baddies along or in a group. But this time you need to step back through the fog that leads to the boss chamber in one piece. If you don't, you lose all the souls you dropped when the boss struck you down. Dying now means losing four hours of the real time you spent slaying foes and stockpiling all those experience points.

        You look around, desperate to catch the golden flicker of a soul sign that will allow you to pull another adventurer from his or her world and walk beside you. You see only enemies. You start off, inching your way forward, treating minor-leaguers like the boss that struck you down minutes before--because if you don't, even these B-players might get lucky, cut you down, and erase four hours of your life like it never happened.

        You stop occasionally, glancing around for white and gold light tattooed on the ground, but see nothing. An hour passes and finds you right outside the boss's door. Your palms are as wet as if you'd dipped them into a sink. You take one last look around, but you don't hold out any hope for a tag team partner. As you slowly turn the camera back to the fog gate, you steal your resolve. You made it this far without help. You can make it--

        There. At the edge of your vision. You twist the right analog stick and the camera whirls to land on a single, burning soul sign a few feet back and to the side. You pounce on it and the sign burns away as the summoning message flashes on your screen. Ten seconds pass. Twenty. Then another figure unfolds from the ground, notices you, and bows. Your heart swells. You've find a friend.

        You step through the fog gate first. Last time you tensed up when the boss rushes toward you. This time you do the rushing. Behind you. You hear the fog tear apart as your new friend steps through. Together you flank the boss, one of you rolling and dodging while the other wades in and hacks desperately. More than once the boss swats one of you to the side. You watch your ally's life bar; allies cannot heal themselves in Dark Souls, so you take a swig of one of your precious, finite healing flasks and delight in seeing your friend's life bar leap to full status.

        A few minutes later, it's over. You watch the boss crumple to its knees and vanish in an explosion of white light. You turn to your friend, wave... and they fade away, gone forever, leaving you with the taste of sweet victory on your tongue.

        If you had a friend by your side at all times, you'd never experience that rush, that sense of accomplishment when you open the door and invite in another player that helps you conquer impossible odds--and give someone else the chance to feel that same thrill of victory when they invite you into their world. It's a bond that lasts minutes, but it's stronger than steel. Having a friend by your side to pull your fat from the fire would diminish that experience.

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          September 13, 2013 5:18 AM

          Of course, that's assume you value the experience of nearly (and often actually) losing 4 hours of progress.

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            September 13, 2013 5:33 AM

            4 hours is an exaggeration + you lose souls, not progress.. if anything you should always be making progress as every time you start again you should be getting better because you learned from past mistakes until a run that used to take you 15 minutes barely takes 5.

            I can see arguments for and against but it's pretty clear that DS will always be a series of games that polarizes opinions.

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            September 13, 2013 6:08 AM

            [deleted]

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          September 13, 2013 9:03 AM

          That sounds great... but I have played 30ish hours of Dark Souls, right after it launched on PS3, and I only once saw a soul sign. I clicked on it... and nothing happened. So... while it sounds great when it works it just never did for me.

          Also while I was playing it so was a good friend. I wanted to share the experience with them and there was just no way.

          I understand the developers intent to create a sense of isolation and threat, I really do! But I don't believe that having the ability to invite a friend to play with you HAS to damage that. I can think of many camping trips with a friend, walking through the woods with just the two of us, jumping at every shadow... not alone, still feeling very isolated. I can think of any number of mechanics that would help recreate or maintain the feeling that the developers are going for... for example: Having a limited time that you could summon someone for. Having a expendable item you have to use to summon them. Having limited locations or number of summons per area. Having a chance that your summon will fail and summon an enemy player or monster instead... Having an enemy type that can banish your friend...

          So, yes, I respect the intent but I think the game is missing out on some amazing moments and game play that on demand co-op would allow and I think that the arguments against it are a bit of a cop out.

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            September 13, 2013 10:53 AM

            [deleted]

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              September 16, 2013 7:32 AM

              This is not a feature...

              I know about needing to be human because i looked it up, but it's not clear from the game, also humanity is rare enough that after a few times using it and getting taken out without getting any benefit I just horded it and never felt like it was the 'right time' to use it... I was clearly wrong, but the fact that I can love the game and play for 30 hours and completely avoid one of the features that the devs feel is a pillar of the game, well it's a shame.

              Not trying to troll, and definitely not hating on the game, but I feel like the philosophy of wanting to make the game difficult sometimes gets used as an excuse for parts of the game that are awkward and just don't work well. I hear players defend things in the game that are actual problems because they make the game hard to play. It's like old school programmers defending using emacs and vi because they know how to use them and it's a pain in the ass...

              I would rather the difficulty of the game play be what makes the game hard, not that how the game works is either not clear or badly designed and have that result in the game feeling 'harder'. It's good that the combat is punishing, I live that! It's bad that you are not told how the game systems work in a clear way and that the way they work is not clear and usable.

              Experimenting can be a fine way for people to learn how something works... but when the resource you are experimenting with is soooo rare it sucks, I just don't want to waste items I don't understand trying to figure them out. Sure I can look it up online and figure it out. But I'm sorry, that is just a cop out that I am tired of hearing from developers. If your users have to go to the internet to understand required basic game systems then you have failed. (I say this to designers at the game company where I work all the time!)

              Ok, I'll stop ranting ;) I do love the game and can't wait till the next one comes out. I feel like Dark Souls smoothed the rough edges of Deamon's Souls a lot and if they keep going in that direction I'll be happy. (I still want on demand co-op though)

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      September 13, 2013 5:16 AM

      TL;DR on this? Shack is blocked at work :(

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