Let's indulge in some rumors, shall we? Over the weekend, blurry images of what is supposedly FromSoftware's next game popped up on 4chan. And were immediately reposted on NeoGaf. Said images have an admittedly Dark Souls vibe to them, depicting a lone character in a dark world full of creatures that, presumably, want to kill him/her/it.
These images raise the question: What is it we're looking at here? Dark Souls 3? Demon's Souls 2? A new IP? Currently, we can't really prove or disprove any of these possibilities, and we have no way of knowing if these are even real screens--but for now, let's just assume they are. Perhaps by turning to the images themselves, and by examining the current rumors surrounding the game, we can piece together some idea of what's going on. Let's get started.
The current speculation
First, let's look at all the current rumors. According to the NeoGAF post, FromSoftware's next game, currently titled Project Beast, is a collaborative project with SCE Japan, which would make it a PS4 exclusive. The 4chan user who submitted the images mentioned that the main character wields a shotgun and fights enemies, and that text appeared in-game stating "This is a nightmare" (a tagline similar to Dark Souls' "Prepare to die").
Perhaps this game will be more of a horror experience that adopts the risk/reward sensibilities of the Demon's/Dark Souls franchises? That would be pretty awesome. Now, let's take a closer look at some of the screens.
The art looks legit
Again, we have no way of knowing if these images are real or fake. But there's no denying that the art style looks very much in line with the somber aesthetic used by Demon's and Dark Souls.
Take this image, for instance: the main character appears to be walking through some dark catacombs, lit only by a few candles. These types of scenes appear very frequently in the various Souls games, and succeed in conveying a sense of isolation and hopelessness here as well.
Mutant dogs are a good sign
Project Beast's scenery isn't its only feature that's indicative of FromSoftware's Souls franchise. Check out the eccentric nature of the hellish monsters on display in this image. They certainly look like something conceivably created by FromSoftware, as both the mutant dog and the ghoulish creatures behind it have the developer's signature grotesque design.
Even the main character (not pictured here) has a pretty interesting design with his shredded cloak and hat that looks like it was ripped straight from a Spaghetti Western. All of it, however, looks distinctly FromSoftware.
It apparently has fog gates
Out of all the available images for Project Beast, this is the only one with a direct allusion to the Souls games. The main character is standing in front of what can ONLY be a fog gate; perhaps this has become FromSoftware's trademark way of keeping you afraid of what lies beyond? Hmmm Wonder if we'll start seeing fog gates crop up in Armored Core games?
JUST KIDDING, C'MON.
The main character has a shotgun
The leaked post on NeoGAF makes it quite clear that the item in the main character's left hand is a shotgun. Obviously, this wouldn't make much sense in the context of a Demon's Souls or Dark Souls follow-up, unless we're looking at Dark Souls: Advanced Warfare.
Somehow, I suspect that's not the case. As I mentioned before, I'm guessing this is some sort of survival horror game. Or maybe it's just a badass action game. Guess we'll find out. Someday.
Is it really a collaborative project with SCE Japan?
So, this is the big rumor that has a lot of people excited (well, except for Xbox One owners, I guess): FromSoftware is working with Sony Japan to develop the game. As a result, it will be available only on the PS4. I suspect that if this is the case, we'll likely hear official word about Project Beast either at this year's E3 or Tokyo Game Show.
Japanese publication Famitsu reached out to Sony regarding these rumors, and was told: "We have nothing to announce at this time." That's an expected reply if this is, in fact, a collaborative project. Otherwise, why wouldn't Sony outright deny the possibility?
Could it be Demon's Souls 2?
Ehh Don't get your hopes up. It's true that Sony owns the rights to the Demon's Souls brand. It is also true that FromSoftware is the logical developer to make more games for said brand, and COULD have the option of doing so considering it's (allegedly) working alongside Sony Japan on Project Beast.
But making Demon's Souls 2 could also risk damaging FromSoftware's most valuable franchise: Dark Souls. The two are too closely aligned, separated only by name. What would make more sense is to branch off into a new IP, one that touts Dark Souls' biggest draw--the fantastically implemented risk/reward cycle--as its foundation.
Project Beast might have some big names behind it
You'll no doubt recall that when Dark Souls 2 was revealed, it was announced that Hidetaka Miyazaki, who directed both Demon's Souls and Dark Souls, would only be supervising the project. This led to a lot of concern about the future of Dark Souls, but it also made us wonder what Miyazaki was working on instead. My guess: Project Beast.
In fact several key developers from both Demon's Souls and the original Dark Souls weren't involved in the development of Dark Souls 2, as explained in this well-constructed thread on NeoGAF. Keep in mind that development teams shift around all the time, but it is possible Miyazaki brought some of his more trusted colleagues along with him to work on Project Beast.
Hungry for souls
What's your take on the leaked images? Do you think they're real? If so, do you suspect this will be a direct sequel to Demon's Souls or Dark Souls, or do you think it'll be a new property? Let us know in the comments below.
And if you're looking for more, check out If Hollywood actors actually looked like their awful video game renders and 10 technologies that vanished in sequels to your favorite games.