If there's one thing that comes to mind when thinking about the Dark Souls series, it's masochism. The challenges presented by the series are never insurmountable, but they can often feel as though they are skirting that line. Despite this, gamers continue to come back in hopes of progressing that little bit further. Whether it's the sense of accomplishment or the viscerally satisfying gameplay, there's something about the series that grabs on and doesn't let go.
For this reason, immersion is an integral part of the Dark Souls experience. From the feeling of despair that permeates each game's world to the tangible feeling of loss upon dying and letting go of a stash of hard-earned souls, it can be surprising how effective From Software's hack and slash behemoth is at evoking emotion. As if to further add to the series' visceral nature, virtual reality has the potential to become a part of future titles should the game's director have anything to say about it.
According to Dark Souls 2 director Yui Tanimura in a translated interview with IGN, the implementation of virtual reality into the Dark Souls series makes sense.
“This isn't something that we are looking into detail yet, or at least right now, but I agree that the world of Dark Souls 2 is something that has a very visceral element to it.”
“It’s mostly sort of on the realistic side, so I think that experience with the headset is something that would go well with Dark Souls as content.”
Not content to simply tease the possibility of going toe-to-toe with Dark Souls' fearsome beasts in a virtual reality setting, Yui Tanimura also hinted at the potential improvements that working with the hardware of the PS4 and Xbox One could afford.
“Going forward in terms of future games in the series, there are definitely more possibilities in terms of new enemies that take advantage of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. I’m sure its not a secret there are all kinds of possibilities for the future, especially with this new hardware and much expertise going forward. There are some planning documents that we have internally that would blow your head off.”
Intelligent and fearsome creatures are no strangers to the Dark Souls series and upcoming title Bloodborne will be no different. If Bloodborne's debut trailer is any indication, there will likely be some enormous opposition. With developers' grasp of the current hardware improving with each title, it will be interesting to see how grandiose these "blow your head off" plans become as the years progress and the consoles mature.
With virtual reality devices like the Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus continuing to pick up steam, hearing about support from the more "hardcore" side of gaming is encouraging and could be a benefit to their growth. While there's little doubt that the technology is sound with Morpheus nearing completion, a wide spectrum of support will go a long way towards swaying cautious consumers who see the burgeoning technology as a gimmick.
Would you be interested in playing Dark Souls with virtual reality support? What other game series do you feel would benefit from the VR treatment?
Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin will release on PC, PS4 and Xbox One on April 7, 2015, including an enhanced version of the original game in addition to its existing DLC.
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