Demon's Souls was first released for the PlayStation 3 by developer FromSoftware in February 2009, the first installment of their Souls franchise. It set the tone for the series’ later titles with its punishingly high difficulty, which was praised by both reviewers and gamers alike, and which became a hallmark of the developer's later titles, including the Dark Souls games and Bloodborne.
After nine years in constant operation, Demon’s Souls’ online services will finally be shut down on February 28th, 2018, according to statements from Sony Japan, Atlus, and Namco Bandai, the game’s publishers in Japan, the US, and Europe, respectively.
The game’s servers were originally going to be shut down in 2010, until Atlus decided to keep them active until 2012, citing the commitment of the game’s fans to keeping Demon's Souls alive. At the time, Aram Jabbari, Atlus’ Manager of PR and Sales, stated that “While the reality is that one day the servers will ultimately close due to operation and maintenance costs, that day is not today, nor will it be this year.”
Though the online services were due to be shut down again in 2012, the game gained another reprieve, and the servers have remained consistently active ever since. However, while it has consistently avoided planned shutdowns, the fact that this latest announcement was echoed by all three of its international publishers suggests that no such reprieve will be forthcoming this time.
Players of the Souls franchise will no doubt be familiar with the bloodstains left near the spots where other players have been killed, a series staple that is just one of the things which will disappear from Demon’s Souls in February of next year. Players will also no longer be able to play cooperatively or stage PvP invasions of other players’ worlds.
Moreover, the game’s “World Tendency,” an online system which influences the difficulty of each world and controls various in-game events, will cease to function. The Old Monk boss-fight, where players are faced with both the eponymous boss and a human player summoned to aid him, is one such event that relies on the World Tendency system. After February, the Old Monk will face players alone.
Despite its age, the game is still a favorite among the hardcore gaming community, and players are still setting new records. Earlier this year, Twitch streamer miltymilt even succeeded in completing the game without ever taking a hit. While developer FromSoftware has quashed hopes for a remake or remaster of the game, the game's IP is owned by Sony, leaving the decision up to them as to whether fans might see a Demon's Souls remake in the future.