Earlier today, Bandai Namco uploaded a mysterious teaser trailer to its YouTube page. But rather than tease a new game directly, the video is an animation "inspired by" a project currently in development and set to be fully revealed on April 20. Take a look:
Fans have been trying to decipher just what it all means - particularly that strange "prepare to dine" bit - but I have a few ideas of my own. Indulge me, won't you?
Bloodborne 2 (kinda)
Bloodborne was a huge hit for FromSoftware and Sony, and it only makes sense that the developer would want to revisit that universe. And here in this trailer we see some very Bloodborne-y imagery, including men turning into beasts, a heroine whose costume silhouette is defined by a stylish hat and longcoat, plus a rifle that looks both exaggerated and like it could be used in multiple configurations much like the trick weapons of Bloodborne's Hunters.
And while Sony owns the Bloodborne IP, there's nothing to stop Bandai Namco from partnering with FromSoftware to develop something tonally, yet legally, distinct. Hell, they already did exactly that with the Souls games. Demon's Souls was published by Sony, while Dark Souls 1-3 were published by Bandai Namco - that's why Demon's Souls is a PS3 exclusive but Dark Souls games are multiplatform. What we're seeing could be a Bloodborne sequel / spiritual successor in the same way that Dark Souls is a successor to Demon's Souls.
"Prepare to Dine" could also be a clue to this, since it's Dark Souls (not Demon's Souls) that was marketed with "Prepare to Die."
So yeah, basically Bloodborne 2, just not called Bloodborne 2.
A collectible card game
It's kind of weird that the animation devotes a full three seconds to someone picking up a playing card, isn't it? Plus, a PR email sent to journalists also focuses on the card table setup with the above image. It could be just a bit of worldbuilding, but just like how MOBAs were all the rage three or so years ago, so too have collectible card games come into vogue recently.
Here's the image sent to outlets for comparison:
Notice too that the teaser doesn't specify platforms. For all we know, this could be an iOS and Android spin-off. Look, I know this seems far-fetched, but if they can make a card game out Warcraft, The Elder Scrolls and The Witcher, they could probably do it for Bloodborne.
Something entirely new
It's always possible that Bandai Namco is just trying to throw people off the trail by giving us misleading imagery. And here's the thing: the gaming public is no stranger to cinematic teasers, so why not just show us that? Or call it that? Why specify that the animation is "inspired" by the project in development? Could it be that leaves more wiggle room for setting expectations?
After all, while there's a lot of Bloodborne-ish imagery, there's also a lot that is very distinctly not Bloodborne. That game didn't feature any vampires, for example, and it was set far enough in the past that nobody was wearing gas masks either.
Unfortunately, that's about as far as my guess goes on this one. There's just as much reason to believe this is something wholly original as there is to think it's tied to FromSoftware. And the sad reality is we probably won't know more until next week.
Sure is fun to think about, though!