After years of making action and mech games, From Software created Demon’s Souls: its punishing-yet-intricate twisted, fantasy opus. Instead of releasing a sequel, however, the studio made Dark Souls. That game imbued the concepts of Demon’s Souls into a darker, medieval setting. Bloodborne came soon after, ratcheting up the Souls games’ rhythms to fit into a relentless gothic horror world. Finally, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice took everything the company had learned, condensed it, and dropped it into a ninja-accessible, ancient Japan.
From Software routinely makes the games we didn’t even know we wanted — building on what came before, but never exactly what you’d expect. With the rumors of Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin being consulted on a new game, a subtle tease for a potential Aztec focused follow-up in Déraciné, and the internet’s longing for a Bloodborne sequel, there are tons of directions for where the developer could go next. In this article, we’ll go over just a few likely (and hopeful) new games From Software could hit next.
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Game of Souls
Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin tossed a line about consulting on a Japanese video game into a recent blog post, lending credence to the earlier rumor that he has been working with From Software.
According to that rumor, the game will have an open-ended fantasy world, where you travel to various kingdoms and defeat their leaders to obtain their powers. It sounds like a mix of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and a Souls game, with the grim world-building of George R.R. Martin.
If you played Dark Souls, you know that From Software isn’t new to stories about thrones. The company’s games feature a lot of kings and queens becoming husks of their former selves, tainted by selfish decisions in the past. Hell, Dark Souls 2 ends with you sitting on a cursed, literal throne. A game set in a timeline before all that corruption happens could shift the expected structure of its games.
Like Sekiro, this open-world game might give you the tools to witness a country on the brink of collapse — possibly with a larger threat on the horizon. Imagine the layered level design of Dark Souls with the expanse of Breath of the Wild. There could be pockets of combat that echo From Software’s most clever battles, but with Martin’s cherished themes of tragedy and deception scrawled into the items you pick up. You’d travel to each kingdom, learning what mistakes each made, and pluck whatever power they held to fight the horrible monstrosity they inadvertently created.
At the very least, maybe you’ll get to ride a dragon like Daenerys…
Tucked into the From Software virtual reality game, Déraciné, is a fictional book titled “Blood and Bones.” It reads: “This fabled land of gold, silver, and sacrifices owed both its rise and fall to its inhuman warriors.”
Souls series YouTuber VaatiVidya suggests that the text might describe Bloodborne’s Ailing Loran location. Described as “a tragic land that was devoured by the sands long ago,” it could be a place ripe with gold and silver as the book mentions. Because Bloodborne deals in cosmic gods and cycles, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that the issues plaguing the denizens of Yharnam could seep into other, far-off locations.
From Software has proven that environment ultimately dictates design with Sekiro — a game that is considerably more vertical than its predecessors, thanks to its grappling hook. A Bloodborne sequel where sandstorms hit and quicksand pockets each level would fit the developer’s tricky design nicely. It could also provided new tools to explore with, leading to even greater differences. And sand-covered ruins with entombed monsters and mummies sounds perfectly decayed and harrowing for a Bloodborne sequel!
If we assume the Déraciné book is a tease for a future From Software game, then it also holds another option to consider: The next game could be inspired by Aztec civilization.
There was once a rumor that From Software was working on game called Phantom Wail in 2017. The game was going to focus on melee combat and would allow you to swap fighting techniques. It sounded incredibly similar to a game that was already announced, called Absolver, and most of us moved on from the idea when that game came out. But maybe there was some truth to it after all!
I doubt a predominantly Japanese developer could really do a Mesoamerican game justice, but some obvious ideas would work really well in a Souls-like game. As the book reads, the Aztecs practiced human sacrifice as a way to repay their gods, who did the same to create the world and the sun. From Software certainly likes to depict various religions in its games, illustrating how they impact the world and its characters. Though it’s often to a horrifying degree. The only worry is that it would be easy to incorrectly depict what Aztec, Inca, and Mayan cultures in the context of an action game — especially since it’s so commonly used as set dressing in everything from other games to Hollywood movies.
A game set in a completely new location (like Sekiro) that doubles down on the stance-changing we saw in the form of Bloodborne weapon transformation could uplift a lot of the traditional Souls design. I’d expect From Software to keep a complex mechanic condensed in a way that a game like Nioh doesn’t — dangling the creativity of play in front of you but not demanding it. It might help those who disliked the lack of RPG mechanics and customization in Sekiro.
One of the most brilliant aspects of From Software games is their ability to take a core concept and give it consequences. In Dark Souls, you play as an undead warrior that can respawn at bonfires. The fact that you can’t die is ingrained into the game’s story and themes. The only way to properly die in the fiction is to give up and go Hollow, or as a player: to stop playing the game. You’re just as immortal in Sekiro. You even get the supernatural ability to resurrect out in the world. But coming back to life has a cost that drains the life out of those around you.
The way From Software cares about taking game mechanics and placing them at the core of its fictional worlds makes the idea of a mecha-based game fascinating. A world where people create towering war armor would have a serious effect on their society, and probably you as a player. Even if you weren’t able to pilot one yourself, you can see how From Software would turn these hulking things into a beautiful threat with sprawling implications for the world.
Look at this concept art for a so-called Armored Souls. Now tell me this game wouldn’t be stunning. So many of the Souls series’ most memorable bosses slash and slam their weapons from way above you. It’s nearly always a David and Goliath battle against beings you don’t quite understand. And you frequently defeat them, only to read about their lives and creation in the time before you invaded their space. From Software has tons of experience making mech games in the past, as well, with Armored Core and Steel Battalion under its belt. Give the studio the scope of a Souls game and it could create something wholly unique.
Demon’s Souls Remake
From Software has repeatedly said that the Dark Souls series is over. And though the developers never said the same about Demon’s Souls, the idea of a sequel to this 2009 game seems equally redundant.
The disparate world of Boletaria is finished by the time you’re done with the game. The demons are destroyed and the Old One is asleep once again. Otherwise — if you make the right move —the entire kingdom is doomed, sinking deeper into the fog. There could be more demons to fight in the greater world of Demon’s Souls, but what’s the point? The Dark Souls series already elaborated on the nature of cyclical worlds. We don’t just need that again.
What we do need is Demon’s Souls again. It deserves an altogether remake, with modern sensibilities and From Software polish, if only to elucidate the many, many players that only know the studio for Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Sekiro. Hell, it’s worth it just to bring back the Demon’s Souls servers, which included out-of-this-world features even the later Soulsborne games never replicated.
Demon’s Souls is a quirky, cavernous game that holds the inspiration for the most brilliant design ideas ever to come out of From Software. There’s a boss that’s secretly another player (which doesn’t work anymore, thanks to those Demon’s Souls servers shutting down). There’s a labyrinthine horror level, a wax-masked lady that helps you level up, and a character that will eventually murder all your friends behind your back — should you manage to find and free him. It’s also got arguably the best main hub area in the From Software oeuvre.
Demon’s Souls is everything you already love about From Software games, but a little more unrefined and unique. It’s no less special than the games that came after it, though. Its return would surely fascinate players who have played every other game, while challenging those who haven’t.