Developers Feel PSN Downtime Crunch

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Computer and Videogames has a story in which they spoke to the producer of the upcoming action RPG, Dark Souls. Kei Horono admitted that “I would be lying if I said the problems
with PSN hadn’t caused us some problems, but we are in
contact with Sony and are aiming to meet a street date of October 11.”

The team at From Software who are developing Dark Souls had hinted at a larger online component than they the one used to great success in its predecessor, Demon’s Souls.

Andriasang posted the translated points of an interview from Japanese gaming site, 4Gamer, with the director of Dark Souls, Hidetaka Miyazaki, where he stated that he wanted to bring back the feeling of “the old Dragon Quest” games. In that way, he hopes that it will deliver the sense of where everyone feels the struggle of everyone else by sharing tips as they did in the old days. PS3 players saw a taste of this with Demon’s Souls where they could actually leave simple hints – or deceptions – behind that the servers shared with everyone else in the form of text messages.

With PSN down, however, none of that is coming through making the world of Demon’s Souls even more grim than it already is. The difficulties that Kei Horono admitted to above also emphasize the troubles that other developers may be having with PSN’s forced downtime -  especially for those working on PS3 titles with online features.

IGN had posted a story last month in the early days of the outage speaking to one such developer that was directly affected, Open Emotion Studios. The Irish developer was set to release their puzzler, Mad Blocker Alpha, on PSN for the States on April 19th but as everyone knows, circumstances prevented anything PSN related from happening the next day when Sony took it offline. Paddy Murphy, CEO for Open Emotion, said that they have been in contact with Sony who promised extra marketing to help promote their game to help “recoup our potential losses”.

But the days of exclusivity continue to wane with more games appearing on both the Xbox 360 and PS3. Dark Souls will be the first taste of From Software’s unique punishment that Xbox 360 players may have missed if they didn’t have access to a PS3 and a copy of Demon’s Souls. Even with PSN down, continuing development with Live is likely providing valuable lessons useful for whatever networking tricks will be worked into the gameplay for both versions. This may be why Kei Horono seems confident in hitting that October 11th release date.

And why players will have another reason to be afraid of Halloween.

Dark Souls is scheming of new ways to hurt you

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Demon’s Souls on the PS3 was a surprise hit to Atlus, who imported and localized the game for the States, and to Japanese developer, From Software.

It was tough, unforgiving, harsh in its execution of the challenges it threw at players, but rewarding to those that took the time to learn its systems and eventually take the fight back to the enemy. It was an action RPG that didn’t handhold you as much as it killed you – though dying was a big part of the gameplay anyway.

Now we have Dark Souls on its way – which is basically Demon’s Souls with a few tweaks, though it’s really a “spiritual successor”. Sony owns the name to Demon’s Souls, and with Namco Bandai publishing this one instead, well, you know how things go. But even the creators are distancing this game from Demon’s Souls and it sounds as if they have plenty of reasons to. New story, tweaked mechanics, a “base” type approach to advancing through each area, and tougher difficulty.

Wait, tougher? That’s what Hidetaka Miyazaki, director for the game, has come out to confirm in an interview on Sony’s blog. I loved the first game and the tougher challenge has piqued my curiosity to see just how it plays out. Looking at this trailer, it certainly isn’t pulling any punches. Not that fans would want it to.

Dark Souls is expected to humble dungeon crawlers sometime this year.

Review: Demon’s Souls

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It’s nearly winter here. The trees are mostly bare, cold winds rustle dried leaves, and everyone is getting ready to deal with the ice and snow that it inevitably brings. Around these parts, it’s a yearly ritual that brings both pain and joy to our particular corner of the world.

Demon’s Souls comes off as the season of winter pressed onto a blu-ray disc with the freezing rain, white outs, and ditched cars stuck on the side of the road that help define it. It’s usually below freezing and salted ice forms up on your mudflaps like barnacles before breaking away to leave behind a surprise for the person following you, just as an eighteen wheeler did for you a few miles earlier. Many loathe it with the kind of hate that would defrost their cars on their way in to work.

But it’s also the favorite time of the year for others that love snowball fights, ski trips, snowmen, and warming up with a mug of cocoa. I loved it when I heard that my school was one of those closed, usually because the roads had gotten so bad or that the same water main that had broken the year before had done the same thing again. But in our small world, it was a temporary reprieve, and Demon’s Souls is filled with just enough of these to find joy within its brutal season of gameplay.
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