From Software is perhaps best known for its Souls series of games which started with the PlayStation 3-exclusive Demon’s Souls in 2009, followed by Dark Souls (2011), and this year’s Dark Souls 2. The Hidetaka Miyazaki–led studio is now hard at work on Bloodborne, a spiritual successor to the Souls series and their first game on the PS4.
Masaaki Yamagiwa from Sony’s Japan Studio is one of the producers of Bloodborne. Yamagiwa-san was on hand during GameStart 2014 (held in Singapore last October 25 and 26); and the producer took the time to answer several questions in a group interview session. Speaking via a translator, he shared several details regarding the upcoming PS4-exclusive.
According to Yamagiwa, the Bloodborne’s Victorian setting was inspired partly by classic versions of the story of Dracula. When asked by PlayStation LifeStyle regarding the target resolution and frame-rate for the game upon release, he confirmed the resolution would be full HD. As for the frame rate, Yamagiwa-san noted that they are targeting 30 frames-per-second given the game design choices they made for the game.
The question of whether the player would encounter more environments or settings in the released version of Bloodborne was also brought up. Mr. Yamagiwa mentioned that there would be more environments in the game such as forests and graveyards; and that the city portion that’s been seen in the demos is just the center of the very big city of Yharnam.
Another interviewer asked if a day and night cycle would be implemented in Bloodborne, as fans noticed that in some parts of the game’s recent trailer, the sky was brightly-lit. The producer stated that there is indeed a variation of time in the game but adds that “it’s not like it happens in real-time when you play, the sun goes down or something like that. It doesn’t happen. But yes, when you play through the story, there are variations of the weather and the time.”
Talking about the difficulty level for the Bloodborne and its more aggressive/offense-oriented gameplay, Mr. Yamagiwa said that “their team’s intention is not to raise the difficulty level, because if it’s more difficult than Dark Souls, it’s going to be pretty much unplayable for anyone. Instead, by introducing an aggressive fighting combat style, they want to maintain the difficulty level of Dark Souls but make the player feel like they’ve achieved victory because they made moves. Sometimes we’re worried that the game’s publicized as a difficult game to play, that it’s for hardcore gamers. But the team’s intention is not that. They’re not creating games for hardcore gamers.” He continued by saying that their team’s intention is to create accessible games that also have varying challenges and varying solutions: “we want to make sure that our message gets across that when you play the game, it’ doesn’t require super reflexes or super finger movements. As long as you study the situation and learn the AIs, you can overcome the enemies.”
PlayStation LifeStyle also asked for more details about Bloodborne’s online portion and features. Yamagiwa-san answered that just like in past Souls games, there would be co-op and PvP. More importantly however, he mentioned that they’ll be introducing messenger, “a small character that appears in the map and actually carries the message from other players. It’s asynchronous online play. If someone dies, he’ll leave a dying message. The messenger character communicates to users to pass on the messages. In addition to that, the team is thinking of something more innovative but we just can’t touch up on that now.” He elaborates that with messenger, the idea was already present in Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls (more tombs in one area means a lot of players have died there)but with Bloodborne, it’s more visual so it’s easier to see.
Touching up on the death penalty mechanic of previous Souls games, the producer stressed that the penalty will not be heavier in Bloodborne as again, it would make the game harder and less accessible which is not their aim. However, he added that they’re exploring how to use penalties in different ways. Additionally, it was confirmed that there would be post-release content or updates for the game but the details of which cannot be revealed at the moment.
In closing, Yamagiwa-san encouraged players who have not played any of the Souls games to try out Bloodborne, and said that it stands from either Demon’s Souls or Dark Souls because of its fast-paced and exciting combat.