Demon's Souls servers to be shut down after nearly a decade - will it still be the same game after?

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While many of us were searching for the best Cyber Monday deals on a games console or 4K television yesterday, Atlus announced the servers for PS3 game Demon's Souls will shut down on February 28, 2018. This may not seem like a big deal at first glance, but it's a pretty fundamental shake-up to how the Souls games work.

Whether the souls are Demon's or Dark-flavored, we know what to expect from this series: punishing difficulty, labyrinthine map design littered with secrets, and the phantoms of other players entering our realm to battle us, help us, or just troll us. In Demon's Souls, this concept went even further with the Old Monk boss fight, which could make players who were connected online be the boss that another player would battle.

By removing online functionality, Sony and Atlus are cutting out what some would call an integral part of the Souls experience. There will be no more aggressive spirits taunting you or impeding your progress, no more helpful hands to assist you if you're stuck on a boss, no more messages giving players hints (or tricking them into jumping off a cliff), and the Old Monk fight will be watered down to feature a generic NPC instead of another player.

It's kind of interesting, in a morbid way, to watch a game that's been so influential to modern gaming say goodbye to a core part of its design - but such is the nature of online-connected games, for better or for ill. Over on r/demonssouls, fans are saying their goodbyes while calling for a remaster and/or organizing a final hurrah.

If you consider yourself a fan of the Dark Souls games or just want to see the spiritual precursor to games like Bloodborne, Nioh, Lords of the Fallen, or even Nier: Automata (which also let you encounter other players' corpses and read messages if you played online) in its prime, pick up a copy and log on before February 2018. Because after that, Demon's Souls will never be the same.