Nobody had heard of the term SoulBorne in 2009. The masochistic delights FROM SOFTWARE’s punishing series became synonymous with wern't appreciated until Demon’s Souls was released that year.
Today it’s a genre in its own right; with various other games emulating the format it began. Nioh, The Surge, Ashen, Code Vein and Lords of The Fallen all borrowed heavily from the Souls games.
Each creating their own bleak worlds – where through death players learned how to survive. Practice made perfect and there were no shortcuts, if you struggled you had two options: Give up or ‘Git Gud’.
The Success of Dark Souls (and Beyond)
While Demon’s Soul’s was indeed the daddy of the genre, the series didn’t get mainstream attention until its spiritual successor; Dark Souls came out in 2011. While Demon’s Souls became a cult classic; only Dark Souls became truly revolutionary.
Dark Souls went on to spawn two sequels as well as its own spiritual successor; Bloodborne. The success of the ‘SoulsBorne’ games allowed the studio to go big budget, leading to the release of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice in 2019.
While not a Souls game in the way previous releases had been, Sekiro borrowed heavily from the studio’s earlier projects. Its punishing difficulty, visceral combat and dark universe all felt similar to what had come before.
Prior to Sekiro’s release, FROM SOFTWARE had announced they were taking a break from Souls-like games to focus on other projects. But it soon became clear the company wasn’t going to drop the format that put them on the map.
Demon’s Souls – The Forgotten Souls Game
Many players who enjoyed Dark Souls may have gone back to experience Demon’s Souls after learning about it. But Demon’s Souls had been a PS3 exclusive and the PS4 was on the horizon.
This meant many players moved on and simply passed it by. Dark Souls 2 was ported to the PS4 a short time later - Along with Dark Souls 1.
Dark Souls 3 and Bloodborne bypassed the PS3 entirely, being next-gen titles only.
Demon’s Souls never received the PS4 remaster many had hoped it would get; due to a dispute between the developers and its original publisher.
This helped distance Demon’s Souls from the new legions of fans Dark Souls and Bloodborne had spawned. Those who wanted to enjoy the game now had to dust off their PS3s or go without.
Many Souls fans held out hope for a remaster that never came on PS4. By this time gamers got their Souls fix from newer games. Such as the many Souls imitators that flooded the market.
These factors contributed to Demon’s Souls being pushed further and further away. It became left out of the SoulsBorne family until it was largely forgotten about.
Until the PS5 was announced that is.
Enter PlayStation 5
Many suspected Bloodborne 2 to be a possible PS5 launch title. The original Bloodborne, itself a Souls game at heart, was a system seller for the PS4 and a sequel was overdue.
It made sense for Bloodborne 2 to do the same for the PS5. When a remake of Demon’s Souls was announced during Sony’s PS5 show in September, the gaming world gasped.
This wasn’t just the remaster fans had spent an entire generation hoping for; but a fully-fledged ground up remake of the original Demon’s Souls. The game most had given up waiting for or even forgotten about.
The trailer shows some very impressive visuals. The environments demonstrate a level of detail that no game on the PS4 has managed to reach, in short – Demon’s Souls looks to be truly next-gen.
Why Now Is The Perfect Time For A Demon’s Souls Remake
The Dark Souls trilogy has told its story, reaching a natural conclusion on the PS4 (and elsewhere). Releasing Demon’s Souls games alongside Dark Souls titles would have been confusing for many players.
It also would have created bloat within the genre, which was already starting to show signs of fatigue. But the PS5 creates a perfect opportunity for the for the Souls series to kickstart itself.
To many, Demon’s Souls will be a brand-new experience. They may have missed out on it the first time around, and even if they didn’t – this is not the same game.
Demon’s Souls is the game that kicked off the entire Souls series and deserved much more recognition and commercial success then it received. The game did well critically, but never enjoyed the same hype of subsequent Souls games.
FROM SOFTWARE and Sony know this too. They are wise to use the PS5 release as an opportunity to show off a new PlayStation exclusive, one that could reignite interest in a beloved franchise.
What Can We Expect From A Demon’s Souls Remake?
In all honesty we believe the Demon’s Souls remake will be a lot like the original in many ways. While it may contain some new features, we're confident it will be the similar because for the following reasons:
First, the trailer and gameplay reveal it is. Recreating classing moments from Demon’s Souls 2009 but with a PS5 finish.
Bosses, enemies and locations from the original can be seen. Some are almost frame for frame identical while others seem much more detailed and grandiose.
Secondly, Bluepoint Games, the team behind the Shadow of The Colossus remake; have been assigned to develop the Demon's Souls 2020.
Bluepoint Games gave Shadow of the Colossus a complete visual overhaul. But it was largely very similar to the original.
Finally, it wouldn't be Demon's Souls if it strayed too far from the original vision.
It will be fun to see what changes have been made and if FROM SOFTWARE can surprise us all over again.
But in truth we don’t need them too, we’ll settle for the classic Demon’s Souls experience – backed by the might of the PS5.
Demon’s Souls will be available either on the 12th November or the 19th November 2020 on the PlayStation Store as a digital launch title.
Read our full breakdown of all PS5 games that are due for release in the near future.