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The Japanese software company From Software was founded in 1986 with the intent of developing
practical office software. And for the first couple of years, that's exactly what they
did. However, by the early 1990s the focus of the company slowly shifted towards video
game development. In late December of 1994, the company released their first title known
as King's Field. It was released exclusively in Japan on the Playstation only 13 days after
the console itself had been released. Just like most titles developed by From Software
today, the gameplay of King's Field was extremely difficult and unforgiving. Due to how well
the game was received in Japan, the company released a sequel in 1995 to an international
audience. The game was yet again met with overall positive reviews. From Software would go on to build an
immense catalog with many different types of titles with varying success and with the release of
Armored Core in 1997, they delved into the massive-robots-smashing-other-massive-robots
genre that is oh so popular in Japan. Also known as mecha. It wasn't until 2009 that
From Software truly returned to their roots and released Demon's Souls. In many ways,
Demon's Souls is the spiritual successor to King's Field with the most obvious difference
being the new third-person perspective. Upon release, the game was well received by critics
and was praised for its tense and ruthless gameplay as well as the unique integration
of its online multiplayer mechanics. In 2011, the company released Dark Souls. Some believed
the game to be a direct sequel to Demon's Souls but as game director Hidetaka Miyazaki
later explained, this is not the case. Just like Demon's Souls is the spiritual successor
to King's Field, Dark Souls is the spiritual successor to Demon's Souls. Dark Souls was
a huge success and was again praised for its brutal difficulty. In 2014 it spawned a sequel
in the form of Dark Souls II and on the 12th of April, 2016, the world was introduced to Dark Souls III.
In the first Dark Souls most players will encounter a blacksmith known as Andre of Astora.
He is a fairly unremarkable and minor character and while he was absent from Dark Souls II
he does make a return in the third installment. But there is one thing that makes him quite unique.
He is one of the very few human characters in the entire franchise to actually move their mouth while they speak.
So first of all, what's with the phobia for animated lips?
Well, like most things in the Souls franchise, no one truly knows. Despite creative
fan theories like undead telepathy, the lack of operational face-cavities is most likely
a very deliberate decision made by From Software to save time and resources. Okay, but what
makes Andre so special then? Well, what we do know is that he initially served a far
more important role in the story of the first game. He was supposed to be a descendant of
Gwyn, possibly his son, whose task it was to protect a passage hidden behind the goddess
statue in Firelink Shrine. The cutscene for the statue being moved is still hidden within
the game files. But as development progressed he was eventually downgraded to a simple blacksmith.
The various blacksmith statues dispersed across the game world are actually the surviving
remnants of this alternate storyline. So it's possible that, much like the statues, Andre's
vocalized activity is merely a vestige of a tale that was never told.
In an interview with a Japanese gaming website, game director Hidetake Miyazaki explained
that their initial intention was to make a direct sequel to Demon's Souls simply called
Demon's Soul's II but that "various things" prevented that from happening. So they decided
to name the new game Dark Race. However, two days prior to the unveiling at the Tokyo Games Show in 2010,
they realized that the name could have certain racial connotations.
So the game was publicly revealed as Project Dark. The next idea was to name it Dark Lord
but trademarking proved to be an issue so they settled for Dark Ring instead. No trademarking issues,
no racial connotations, everything seemed to be in order. But then someone discovered that in the UK
dark ring is also slang for anus. So they eventually ended up naming the game Dark Souls.
In Dark Souls II there's a character known as Laddersmith Gilligan. As his name
would suggest, he is a character that specializes in building and selling ladders. Now he does
make a return in Dark Souls III but, this time around, he is a lot more dead.
And to truly solidify the connection, his body is also surrounded by a large amount of broken ladders.
The Giant Blacksmith from the first game also makes a return.
He can be found in the exact same location in Dark Souls III.
But just like Laddersmith, he is now long gone.
Rest in piece old friend. Rest in piece.
Soon after the release of Dark Souls III it was discovered that there's an unusual
amount of, what appears to be, completely finished and functional content
that is for whatever reason not available in the final game.
Entire armor sets with finalized menu icons, descriptions, stats, and everything
are completely unused. Some examples are the armor set worn by Yhorm the Giant,
the mask worn by the Fire Keeper, the armor set worn by the Man-Serpent Summoner,
a white dress worn by the Company Captain Yorshka, a plow used by the scarecrows in the first game
and a lot more. It's possible that these items where cut due to balancing issues or
perhaps they plan to activate them in an upcoming DLC.
Before the release of Dark Souls, From Software announced a "Shield Design Contest" which
allowed fans to submit their very own shield designs to be featured in the game. The company
received thousands of submission but only four were included in the final release.
The Effigy Shield, the Sanctus, the Bloodshield, and the Black Iron Greatshield.
The same type of contest was announced before the release of Dark Souls II with the six winning designs
being the Phoenix Parma, the Sunlight Parma, the Watchdragon Parma, the Wicked Eye Greatshield,
the Rebel's Greatshield, and the Blossom Kite Shield.
The Dark Souls franchise is set in a sort of midevial fantasy universe so you would
never expect to see any modern items in these games. However soon after the release of Dark Souls II
observant players discovered a quite severe anachronism. In the Grave of Saints
you can find this puddle of what is supposed to look like toxic waste. But if we zoom in,
it's actually just a texture of a pile of recycled cans with one particular Heineken
beer can clearly visible. Good luck fitting that into the lore. It's obviously a mistake
though and it was later corrected in the updated version known as Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin.
There's another texture applied to the pillars in The Gutter which seems to
contain a modern day rubber tire. However, upon closer inspection of the texture itself,
it appears to be part of some sort of larger metal structure hidden underneath the surrounding
rubble so it's likely nothing strange at all. Nevertheless, this texture was later corrected as well.
In the DLC Crown of the Old Iron King for Dark Souls II it's possible to encounter a
boss known as Sir Alonne. His appearance takes inspiration from the traditional armor worn
by Japanese samurai and he's wielding an excessively large katana. What's interesting about this
is that if you manage to defeat him without taking any damage a unique death animation
will be initiated which is very much in line with his samurai inspired appearance.
By driving his sword into his abdomen he committed a ritual form of suicide known as seppuku.
It was originally used by samurai to avoid being captured by enemies, as punishment for
committing a serious offense, or because they had brought shame upon themselves. In other
words, after being defeated so effortlessly, Sir Alonne must have felt so ashamed that
to restore his honor he had to commit suicide.
In all the Dark Souls games there's a stat known as Poise. The stat determines the character's
ability to withstand enemy attacks without staggering. Being staggered in this case means
that you're momentarily defenseless after taking a hit. In the first game it was very simple.
The higher the Poise the less you would stagger. In the second game the function
of Poise was slightly altered. It functions normally while performing an action
like dodging or attacking. But if you take a hit while standing still or moving around you
would get sort of semi-staggered in that your movement speed would be reduced while still
being able to perform any usual action. There are so many other related aspects like
Hyper Armor Frames, Poise Damage, Regeneration, Breakpoints, etc. but in the interest of time
this is the essential difference. There's been an ongoing debate over which system is
better and what system should be used in the third installment. So now that Dark Souls III
has been released, how does the Poise system work? Well, it is certainty not
the same system used in the first game but as many players have reported, it's almost
as if the Poise stat has no effect at all. Some are even claiming that they have found
a specific value in the game files that seem to suggest that the Poise system is indeed
deactivated. When this value is toggled from 0 to 1 a Poise system, similar to that of
the first game, is supposedly reactivated. But as the specific files and values has yet
to be revealed, and thus nothing can be confirmed, these claims should at least be taken with
grain of salt. Nevertheless, Poise has definitely been toned down as evident by just playing
the game for yourself. I mean, in previous games, one of the major benefits of heavy armor sets
was the increase in Poise. But in the latest game you seem to get staggered regardless.
Who knows maybe Poise is the new pendant?
We can only hope that From Software themselves comes out with an official explanation.
Dark Souls is mostly known for it's brutal and unforgiving gameplay. It's also known
for its hopelessly vague and cryptic lore. There's no real narrative but instead everything is
ambiguously revealed through cinematic cutscenes, in-game messages, and character dialog.
These tidbits of information are then puzzled together by loyal fans to create the most comprehensive
interpretations possible. But even so, there's so much we do not and can not know.
Miyazaki had this to say in an interview: "There are a huge number of things that while present
in the game, we make no attempt to explain to the player, and many more that they simply
have no way of finding out." But I guess that's part of Dark Souls charm. Much like real world
historians can never truly know what happened in the distant past, players can never truly
know the complete story of the Dark Souls universe. As everything is passed down through
legends and tales, it only makes sense for the mythology to be this fragmented. In preparation
for the release of Dark Souls III, publisher Bandai Namco announced a contest in which
you had to make a video explaining the story of the first two games. The contest was aimed
at players who had no prior experience with the Souls franchise and the winner received $10,000.
You know a story is hard to follow when people are awarded money just to explain it.
If you do want to gain a better understanding of the lore I highly recommend that you check
out a channel called VaaiVidya. He is somewhat of an expert on the Souls franchise and has
an extensive catalog of videos uncovering the many mysteries and secrets of the Dark Souls universe.
Did you also know that Firelink Shrine was initially going to be a water temple and that
the iconic "Praise the Sun" gesture almost didn't make it into the game? For even more
facts about Dark Souls you should head over to DidYouKnowGaming by clicking the annotation
on the screen right now or the link in the description.