Demon’s Souls Remake: Things Fans Need To Know About The Upcoming PS5 Launch Game

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The Demon’s Souls remake for PS5 is an exciting prospect for longtime fans and newcomers alike. It offers the chance to relive a beautiful new version of From Software’s seminal Souls game or to check out the game that laid out the template for From Software’s titles for the first time.

But, naturally, there are a lot of questions surrounding the details of the remake effort. After all, it’s being handled by Bluepoint Games, alongside Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios. Bluepoint Games is called the master of the remaster, having knocked it out of the park with Shadow of the Colossus and Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, among others. But a completely remade Souls game not involving From Software still makes fans nervous.

Thankfully, I was able to talk to Gavin Moore, creative director at SIE Worldwide Studios External Development, and get some answers to a few of my big questions. Having done so, I feel a little more at ease about the game, mostly having learned about some of the new features and tweaks. So, settle in; here are eight things you need to know about the remake.

Love, From Software

First up, you might want to know the project’s history and how much From Software is involved. According to Moore, it was Bluepoint’s work on Shadow of the Colossus, which he said “redefined” what a remake should be, that gave Sony the confidence and knowledge to take on Demon’s Souls. It started development immediately after Shadow of the Colossus. That game was released in February 2018, but I imagine production on Demon’s Souls started much before that. On the PlayStation Blog, Moore said the game has been in development for three years.

Demon’s Souls Remake: 8 Things Fans NEED To Know

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As for From Software’s involvement: The Japanese developer, and the game’s director Hidetaka Miyazaki, gave their blessing for the project to go forward. However, they were not involved in the day to day production, which was handled entirely by Worldwide Studios and Bluepoint.

“We made sure that we stayed true to their original vision,” Moore said in our interview. “That’s incredibly important. We’re massive fans of Miyazaki’s games, and so making sure that what we created was true to his vision, that was the gold standard.”

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How much of the game has changed, and how does Bluepoint make sure it stays true to the original? According to Moore, the answer to that is by both Sony and Bluepoint being their own worst critics. “We don’t put anything in this game without really thinking about how it will affect the core of the game and how it will affect that experience,” he said. And that is true to every aspect of the game.

In our interview Moore specifically called out the PS5 features like haptics, visual upgrades, and audio upgrades, saying that they needed to figure out how they could use those in a way that makes sense. In terms of combat, it was important not to change animations’ cadence because that changes the gameplay and the game. However, Moore did say that the riposte animation shown during the gameplay is something new that the team has added, with proper consideration given.

Demon’s Souls remake has many unique new animations for different weapon types, so a spear, polearm, rapier, and katana will have distinct attacks, akin to the lift and slam attack shown in the gameplay demo. Importantly, however, Moore said, “the cadence is all the same as the original. So the gameplay doesn’t change, the speed of the attack is the same. We’re visually just adding extra details and flourishes to really bring that world alive.”

Instant Transmission

One of the things that I was curious about was how the PS5’s SSD changes the game’s feel. As we saw in the gameplay video, loading–and by extension fast traveling around–was incredibly quick. However, there’s a certain kind of pacing and cadence that is important to Souls games. When you die, you have time to reflect and feel the weight of what happened. There’s so much you can dawn on you in the time it takes to get back into the game, so how does virtually eliminating or at least shortening the downtime impact that?

We made sure that we stayed true to their original vision. We’re massive fans of Miyazaki’s games, and so making sure that what we created was true to his vision, that was the gold standard.

Gavin Moore, creative director at SIE Worldwide Studios External Development

According to Moore, the team has paid attention to the timing of specific aspects of the game. For example, traveling on an elevator will take the same amount of time since it’s crucial to build tension and think about what’s ahead; that’s not changed.

However, instantaneous loading is being used to let players jump into the game quicker, so loading from the Nexus into a location will be quick because you want to get from an Archstone to 1-1. And when you die, the game will hold the moment for a beat to provide that time to reflect. It’s just enough to take a breath, prepare, and get back into it. So, it seems they’ve paid close attention to the pacing of downtime.

Roll Safe

One thing fans picked up on in the gameplay demo was the rolls during the Vanguard battle. During this fight, the player character can be seen diving in a way that suggested that four-way rolling would be back from the original. Of course, in the time since, Souls games have been less restrictive with evasive maneuvers available to the player. So I asked if the remake was sticking to the letter of the original’s law or if it was being updated.

Sony and Bluepoint previously said that the game was going to appeal to players accustomed to modern controls. As part of that, Moore confirmed that the remake features omnidirectional evasion so that you can roll in eight directions.

Demon’s Souls remake has many unique new animations for different weapon types, so a spear, polearm, rapier, and katana will have distinct attacks, akin to the lift and slam attack shown in the gameplay demo.

“We had to make sure that we made quality-of-life improvements to the game that people expect,” he said, adding that making the change didn’t “make a big difference to the gameplay or the core in any way” and “it was just what people wanted.”

The other thing fans talked about is the camera, which looked different in the gameplay video; it had a bit more of a cinematic framing. Moore confirmed that the camera has changed. The camera in the original Demon’s Souls, as players will know, tended to get stuck on collision or would clip through walls, which is less acceptable these days. So it has been altered.

However, the developers have included the option to switch to the old camera if you miss it. So, in Moore’s own words, “If you don’t like what we’ve done, we’ve left the old system in there.”

So The Dialogue Might Be Mended

If you watched the gameplay demo and picked up on what sounded like added dialogue from the Maiden In Black, then well done, gold star to you! Bluepoint and Sony are adding some new content when it comes to writing and spoken dialogue.

According to Moore, one of the things that the team noticed was the lack of variety in voice-over, so characters would say the same thing over and over. To remedy this, the developers have added variety. What that means is that characters are conveying the same information, but they’re just saying it differently, so, quote, “they feel more alive and more natural … and they’re staying true to the intent of what the original would have been.”

The camera in the original Demon's Souls tended to get stuck on collision or would clip through walls, so it has been altered in the remake for a more cinematic flair. You can still change it to the original, though.
The camera in the original Demon’s Souls tended to get stuck on collision or would clip through walls, so it has been altered in the remake for a more cinematic flair. You can still change it to the original, though.

Bluepoint and Sony went out and found as many of the original cast as they could and got them to come back and perform their iconic roles once again. As well as voicing the new stuff, all the dialogue has been re-recorded.

For the audiophiles out there, it’s worth knowing that Bluepoint and Sony have “remade thousands of thousands of new sound effects to add into” levels. Then using 3D audio on PS5 brought that to life. Moore said you’ll be able to hear arrows fly past your head creatures crawl out of the slime in the Valley of Defilement.

Demon’s Souls, Filtered

Yes, Bluepoint did change the Tower Knight and Flamelurker scenes shown in the gameplay demo. Fans noted that the Tower Knight battle felt more bright and heroic than in the original, while the Flamelurker looked to have had its face changed entirely. After seeing the response, the developers agreed that the Flamelurker, at least, was a step too far and tweaked it to be closer to the original. So they are listening to your criticisms–just remember to keep it constructive.

One interesting thing that I learned was Demon’s Souls remake has several filters that you can play the game with, including black and white. One of the filters is a “classic” one, so you can use that if you’d like an experience that harkens back to the PS3 days. It’s a starker and darker look that, according to Moore, drives a little bit more fear into the game.

Moore does say that he would like fans to play through the game in the way Sony and Bluepoint have remade it first, though, so they can see the power of the PS5 and the treatment they’ve given the game.

Build ’em Up, Break ’em Down

Will Demon’s Souls have a respect option? Not really, but there does seem to be a character switching option that may allow for using multiple builds. Moore was a bit vague about it, owing to wanting to maintain some mystery around it and because we were rapidly running out of time, but here’s what he said.

Demon’s Souls Remake Gameplay Trailer | PS5 Showcase

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“What we have done is we’ve updated the character creator. And we’ve given thousands upon thousands of new permutations where you can create, and you can play. And then once you’ve chosen a character, what you can do is after you’ve paid several souls for it–in the Nexus–you can actually store your character and then go in and change your character in the Nexus. So that’s the quick interpretation of it, I guess. I’ll leave it up to you to find out where it is and how you do it.”

Of course, that’s something entirely new added to the game, and we’ll have to see how it works in the game and the implications.

Matters In Brief

Ok, here are a few final things worth noting about Demon’s Souls remake. Fractured Mode has been a big mystery, but no longer: It’s a Fractured World that effectively serves as a mirror mode where the map is reversed. It sounds like it’s a more challenging version designed to pull the rug out from underneath veteran players.

There is no easy option in the game. The reaper scythe pre-order bonus doesn’t make the game trivial, as some feared. Moore also said, “we have added new content to the game,” hinting at more additional weapons, potentially. However, everything in the PS3 version is in the standard edition of the game, so that you won’t be missing out on the core experience.

The Old Monk fight, which leverages online connectivity to turn another player into a boss, will work the same as in the original.

World Tendency remains the same, but the developers have adjusted the UI to make it a little bit easier to understand which state the World Tendency is in.
World Tendency remains the same, but the developers have adjusted the UI to make it a little bit easier to understand which state the World Tendency is in.

World Tendency is also the same. The only thing that developers have done is to adjust the UI to make it a little bit easier for the player to understand which state the World Tendency is in.

The healing system is also the same, so be prepared to chew some grass. And finally, the all-important question: Is Bluepoint fixing the sixth Archstone in the Nexus and restoring the cut content. Here’s what Moore said: “So there was a long and hard discussion. There is no sixth Archstone. There are only five Archstones in the Nexus. It’s true to the original; there’s no new Archstone, there’s no new world.”

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