Bluepoint Games’ reimagining of Demon’s Souls is the highest-rated launch game on PS5, and understandably so. The Austin studio has done a fantastic job of bringing its interpretation of Demon’s Souls to Sony’s brand-new console, furnishing its remake of a cult classic with mod-cons like a fully-featured photo mode, two different graphical options – and, of course, graphics to die for. Still, it’s fascinating to note some of the things Bluepoint had creative license to change when remaking Demon’s Souls – and to ask whether some elements of the original design have been lost in translation.
Demon’s Souls had a rocky start. Initially pitched as an ‘Oblivion’ competitor, it struggled in its early stages of development. This is where Armored Core 4 and For Answer Director, Hidetaka Miyazaki was brought on to steer the ship, and make sure that Demon’s Souls made it all the way to a final release. After an initial showing, EX-SIE President Shuhei Yoshida recalled calling it ‘unbelievably bad’. Sony never published the original release of Demon’s Souls outside of Asia.
Details from its developers are still scarce 10 years on, with only a few snippets of interviews with key staff being the only information we have about the conditions in which Demon’s Souls was developed. But there’s a clear narrative of strife, and struggling to meet internal expectations with Sony Japan. That struggle can be seen by way of what we’re presented with in the game itself. The broken Archstone, full of cut content, frustrating swamps and “cheap” boss fights like the Dragon God, which was probably envisioned as more of a set piece than a quick, easy boss. But, the conditions and resources allocated to the game also reflected the world that From Software was trying to portray.