Few thought that Demon's Souls would be a success back in 2009. Not only was it an exclusive for Sony's third-place console, but it was a brutally difficult, intentionally vague JRPG with a penchant for absolutely destroying players. It sounded like the exact opposite of what gamers wanted - but, as it turns out, that sort of insane challenge was just what players were waiting for.
Once Demon's Souls was a success, From Software began expanding the franchise. Dark Souls wasn't just an open-world game, it was multi-platform - and, somehow, it was even better than Demon's Souls. The third game in the series, Dark Souls II, didn't see the same love as its predecessor, but that didn't stop it from becoming a success. Bloodborne, released earlier this year, proved to be a worthy (if extremely different) successor to the series - now, less than a year after Bloodborne's release, fans are patiently waiting for the third Dark Souls game.
Sadly, it's starting to look like Dark Souls III may be the end of the franchise as we know it: according to series director Hidetaki Miyazaki (via GameSpot), pumping out sequel after sequel isn't a good idea:
"I don't think it'd be the right choice to continue indefinitely creating Souls and Bloodborne games. I'm considering Dark Souls 3 to be the big closure on the series. That's not just limited to me, but From Software and myself together want to aggressively make new things in the future...Dark Souls 3 is an important marker in the evolution of From Software."
It's understandable: there are more than a few examples of video game creators becoming tied down to a single series (just look at Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima), and now that they have the chance, it only makes sense that From Software would want to branch off and tried something new. Plus, there have been five Souls games in just seven years - it's not as if the team's been slacking off.
Even so, it'll be sad to see the series go. The Souls games have always stood out in an industry that thrives on repetition - there's simply nothing quite like a Souls game.
Dark Souls III is set to launch on March 24, 2016.