Welcome, and thank you for joining us for another addition of Celebrating a Series. This where we gush about our favorite PlayStation franchises and look forward to their future. Today, we’ll be taking a look at Bloodborne, a game that is absolutely beloved and considered to be one of the greatest games of this generation. (Some may even consider it one of the greatest games of all time!) Even if you don’t agree with that sentiment, there’s no denying the importance of this game and how its fans would kill for a sequel.
To those unaware, Bloodborne released in 2015, exclusively on PS4, coming off the heels of Dark Souls II. Immediately, fans were hooked by the game’s aesthetic, fluid combat, and interesting mechanics. It’s hard to not talk about Dark Souls when discussing Bloodborne, since so much of its DNA is rooted in the Souls series. But really, they are vastly different, especially in setting.
Away with Yharnam
The first thing you’ll notice is the beautiful Gothic setting, with Victorian-looking architecture and an almost Lovecraft take on the enemy design. The city of Yharnam is a character itself, and truly makes this game special. It really is a unique aesthetic that helps it stand out among the many action games we’ve seen within the past decade. Despite that, in Bloodborne II, it would be disappointing for it to stay in Yharnam, simply because many players know that city inside and out.
FromSoftware typically changes the setting with each of its games, so this shouldn’t be a major concern. However, the Souls games do all tend to blend together, since they’re all so similar. That’s why Bloodborne is memorable: After years of sticking with a fantasy setting, we finally got something different. It would be a shame if Bloodborne II stuck with the same setting as the original.
With a sequel, maybe a different time period could work, almost like how Assassin’s Creed gives us a new historical setting almost every entry. Because of how weird Bloodborne gets, especially towards the end, it really could do anything. There are giant Cthulhu-like monsters and even alien-looking creatures at one point, so there’s a lot of room for exploration in a new entry. I’m not saying we need octopus monsters in space, but it needs to be different enough to stand out. Maybe even taking place in an area that resembles ancient Japan could work.
Ultimately, though, the team at FromSoftware knows what it is doing and I trust them with whatever Bloodborne II looks like.
Combat is King
Don’t expect an in-your-face narrative when playing Bloodborne. The lore is hidden deep within item descriptions, environmental story-telling, and conversations with the NPCs you find throughout the world. This gives emphasis to the gameplay, which is the real star of the show. That isn’t to say the story should be dismissed—in fact, it’s quite interesting—but the main draw is in mastering the game’s exceptional combat system. When looking ahead, it’s hard to pinpoint what a sequel could include, since the combat is already so good.
One thing that wouldn’t hurt, is the inclusion of more diverse weapons. Sure, the weapons in Bloodborne do all have their own unique qualities, but seeing some wild off-the-wall weapons could spice things up. The Old Hunters, the DLC expansion includes a few more weapons to choose from, which is most definitely a step in the right direction, so Bloodborne II could double-down on that idea.
This might coincide with a new setting, as the time period would dictate which weapons you’d have at your disposal. But I want more of a reason to try every weapon. It’s far too easy to just stick with whichever weapon does the highest damage, while ignoring the rest, so Bloodborne II should give us incentive to experiment with everything available and maybe having some more interesting weapons to choose from could help.
The weapon transformation mechanic, wherein each weapon has two attack modes, was a fantastic inclusion. Bloodborne II should extrapolate on this, giving us more options for unique weapons.
Should Accessibility Be Taken into Consideration?
It’s tough, because despite how great Bloodborne is, it’s hard to recommend to everyone. When thinking about a sequel, FromSoftware might be at odds with what to do, in terms of accessibility. On one hand, the design is meant to test your skill, make you overcome a challenge, and reward you for doing so. Any drastic changes to this formula could negatively impact an upcoming game. From a creative standpoint, I feel for the developers who are tasked with solving this issue.
As a creator, you probably want everyone to be able to experience your game, so creating something so difficult will, by default, alienate most players. Should Bloodborne II change things up and be designed in such a way that will allow more players to experience it? Maybe. A few simple mechanics in Bloodborne give it its own identity, like the health recovery system, the lack of shields, and the ability to parry from a distance.
A new creative solution like the ones mentioned above could help take Bloodborne II to a new direction, allowing more players to hop in. It needs to be balanced in such a way that won’t ruin the game for experienced players, while still letting newcomers join in. Changing too much might cause it to lose what makes the original so great.
One of the most controversial aspects is how difficult the game is right from the start. Seriously, most players drop off within the first ten minutes of the game, once they get to the villagers surrounding the fire. Many fans believe this is important, because it prepares you. Others think it’s too hard right off the bat and should ease you in more, with a gradual increase in difficulty. I’m torn on this, because I can see both points, so it’s up to the wizards at FromSoftware to tackle this issue.
At the end of the day, the hardcore Bloodborne fans might be against this notion, but I think allowing for more players to enjoy a sequel could be a positive thing.
Quality of Life (or Death)
Despite its exceptional quality, Bloodborne is not perfect. There are many ways a sequel could improve the formula. One of the biggest issues is how it’s a tad clunky to navigate throughout the world. I don’t mean just walking around, but fast traveling between areas. In Bloodborne, you must go back to the Hunter’s Dream every time you want to warp to a new area. It might be more streamlined if you could simply fast travel between lamps, much like in the Souls games.
Along with that, the loading screens are still noticeably long. They were vastly improved after the game was released, but since you have to travel to two places to get to where you want to go, the loading times tend to add up. A lot has changed since Bloodborne released, and some of it might feel outdated if released today.
Additionally, the Chalice Dungeons were such a neat idea, and I would love to see something like that in a sequel. Admittedly, this mode wasn’t as fully fleshed out as it could have been, but it’s an awesome starting point for something that could be really cool. If you ask around, many players either completely ignored this mode or weren’t too wild about it, so Bloodborne II could make it more worth your while to play.
Aside from that, there are some technical issues that should be addressed, like the framerate, which would no doubt be fixed in a sequel. If Bloodborne II is a PS5 game, it might be realistic to have it running at 60 fps instead of 30 fps in the original.
Most notably, though, the online aspect needs some work. While I have fond memories of playing, many memories involve me just waiting for a friend to join my game or for a specific person to invade. Sure, it’s gotten a lot better with updates, but Bloodborne II could streamline this and make it easier to play with others.
Realistically, Will a Sequel Happen?
Here’s another tough one: Will we actually get a sequel? At first, it seems like a no-brainer. Sure, we could. But as more discussions happen and as we get further away from the original, maybe Bloodborne II isn’t in the cards. To be clear, I still think it’ll happen, but from a development standpoint, it must be really challenging to come up with what to do for a sequel. From Software doesn’t release bad games, so to them, it needs to be up to their standards before even considering releasing something.
Maybe it’s in development and FromSoftware is working tirelessly on making sure it captures the essence of the original, while including enough new features to feel fresh. Or maybe the team doesn’t want to tarnish the Bloodborne name and have moved on from the idea completely. FromSoftware would be leaving money on the table if a sequel was skpped, but who knows what’s really going on over there?
At the end of the day, Bloodborne is one of the most iconic PlayStation franchises so far. It’s spooky, has some satisfying and fluid combat, and there’s a dark and memorable aesthetic with interesting themes that make it a near-perfect video game. A sequel needs to do all of that but better, which is probably no easy task.
What would you like to see from a Bloodborne sequel? Do you think we’ll get us? Let us know in the comments.