Demon’s Souls is one of the most anticipated titles at the beginning of next-gen and like many others, we cannot wait to dive back into the classic From Software title. This morning, PlayStation provided several new minutes of gameplay footage along with details on how remake masters Bluepoint, managed to update the game for 2020 while maintaining its identity.
In an interview with Polygon, Creative Director Gavin Moore spoke to some of the changes players can expect but confirmed retaining the core gameplay and feel was fundamental.
“We’ve been thinking about doing a remake of Demon’s Souls for years,” Moore said during a video call. “It’s one of the most beloved games in the PlayStation catalog. It’s the most requested title for a remake that we’ve ever had. But I was always a little afraid of tackling it because it’s so beloved. It wasn’t until we redefined what a remake was with Shadow of the Colossus on PlayStation 4 that we felt that we could take on the challenge of Demon’s Souls and do it justice.
“Our approach to this is we try and keep the core of the game untouched. With Demon’s Souls, that’s the gameplay, the logic, and the AI, and then everything else is stripped away. And then utilizing the incredible power of the PlayStation 5 and how much we could really go wild on this title, we started to build everything back.”
According to Moore, From Software is not directly involved in this remake. However, the company did give Sony Interactive Entertainment and Bluepoint their blessing to develop the title.
“Everything that was in the original PlayStation 3 version is in the standard edition of the game,” Moore said, when asked about new items and equipment coming to Demon’s Souls as part of the game’s digital deluxe edition. “So nobody’s missing out on anything. There’s a lot of new content that we’ve added to the game and for fans to find and enjoy. And there are lots of things that I think fans are going to go, ‘Oh, that’s amazing. Great. You know, I didn’t know they put that in the game.’ I’m not going to tell you any more than that, because [I don’t want] to spoil anything.”
There’s a few new items and aspects to be aware of if you are familiar with the original game on the PS3. First up are Grains. Grains were added as a resistance item that can be used to offer temporary resistance to effects like fire, poison, and bleeding (like later From Software entries). Also, while players could carry unlimited Grasses in the original for healing, it will be limited in the remake thus offering a greater challenge. Unlike in Dark Souls where items were unlimited and available at all times, in Demon’s Souls the player’s encumbrance will be affected. Thus you must be conscious of what you take with you on every spawn.
The DualSense controller and its haptic feedback have been a large marketing focus for Sony and Moore confirmed it was a focus for the development team here as well.
“I would say you should play the game with haptics because it can really make a big difference — [it’s] made the combat grittier and darker,” Moore said. “You really feel metal striking metal through your controller. It’s a triumvirate: audio, visual, and tactile all working together at the same time, and it makes a big difference to the gameplay. So when you do a parry, you feel it in your hands before you kind of visually see it, and it’s that split-second reaction time, it gives you that little edge that you need, that can actually make the game slightly easier than people think. Because you’re feeling the game world.”
Of course one of the largest questions has been performance given the beauty of the gameplay we’ve been treated to before and the new PlayStation 5 hardware. According to Moore, the title will have a cinematic mode and performance mode similar to what we’ve seen in the late stages of this generation. Cinematic mode will run at native 4K/30fps with greater detail while the performance mode will run at dynamic 4K/60fps.
One of the most exciting features included in the remake though are filters and of course, a corresponding photo mode. According to Moore, the filters give players different ways to experience the game.
“If you like the starkness and the despair of the original PlayStation 3 version, then we have a bunch of filters that you can choose from and play the game [that way],” Moore said. “So if you want to play the game in what we call the classic filter, which harkens back to the days of the PlayStation 3 and the look at that title, then put that filter on. If you want to play in black and white, play in the noir filter. It’s all there in the options. If you don’t want to play with our camera, you want to play with the original camera, turn the original camera back on. […] I would say with the filters though, if the fans could just play the game the way that we made it so you can see how we take advantage of the power of the PlayStation 5, then I would ask that they would do that. I’d be very grateful. Though after that, play the game how you like to play it, please.”
As audiophiles here at SG, we were curious how Bluepoint would handle the soundtrack for Demon’s Souls as the scores for the Souls games have become memorable in their own right. As with the rest of the game, no aspect was overlooked.
“Unfortunately, the music that was recorded for the original version was digital only,” Moore said. “And I think the score by Shunsuke Kida is so good that to do it real justice on the PlayStation 5, we had to make sure it was recorded by a full orchestra. So we created a modern reimagining of Shunsuke Kida’s amazing score with dramatic new arrangements. We went to AIR Studios in London and we recorded that with a full orchestra [and a] full choir. We even recorded a famous pipe organ in Temple Church in London. And that runs as a theme for the music, giving it this really dark, wonderful, flowing sound. I think there are 120 of the finest musicians in the world on this score. It’s stunning. I think people are just gonna love the way the music sounds.”
Lastly, as for the question that is always asked with a new Souls game release…”Will it have difficulty options?”. No it will not Moore confirmed.
“It’s true to the original,” he said. “It’s a fair challenge, in my view. It’s all about learning enemy patterns and learning the environments, knowing in combat when to challenge yourself with that risk and reward combat system, when to go in and attack and when to pull back and defend.
“I do hear it a lot: ‘Demon’s Souls? That game’s really hard, I’m just not going to play.’ And I think you’re really missing out if you don’t play this PlayStation classic.”
Lastly, you can find the new gameplay trailer below!
Demon’s Souls, by all accounts, is going to be another classic remake by Bluepoint, and one of the most celebrated titles at the start of next-gen. The care with which the teams have taken with aspects of the game is impressive and we simply can’t wait to experience the joy, and frustration, all over again.