Long-standing rumors of a Demon's Souls 2 may have just been corroborated by recent screenshots and a vague description of something called Project Beast that were just posted to 4chan's gaming forum, /v/.
GEEK is pretty cautious about handling rumors and unconfirmed news, but the details of this potential leak line up too closely to disregard completely. That being said, before getting started it’s best to be clear that none of this news has been confirmed, nor is there much that can be done at the moment to get confirmation: The information was leaked anonymously of course, being a 4chan post, so the author’s identity is unknown. This means it’s entirely possible the images are fake and the description was made up, either as a joke or just to rile people up. 4chan users have been known to do weirder things with less reason. The bottom line is to regard the following information with a healthy amount of skepticism.
First of all, the contents of the original 4chan post have been preserved on a NeoGAF thread for posterity. The post in its entirety is comprised of nine screenshots (Which could be faked with varying degrees of difficulty) and seven short lines of text describing the footage the original poster supposedly watched:
“he walked around
i can describe a giant mindflayer type enemy
a character placing a shining magic sword into a pedestal at the base of a statue
a huge pyromancy fireball
there was text “This is a nightmare.”
Souls series fans can vouch for the fact that this sounds very much like a Demon’s or Dark Souls game, right down to the almost nonsensical, cryptic description. The screenshots also share a striking likeness to the series’s existing medieval/fantasy art style (Albeit with some notable changes, ie. shotguns) and feature certain elements that would tie them directly to the Souls franchises – the most iconic of these are what looks like a soul absorption from a fallen enemy in one shot and an unmistakeable fog gate shimmering ominously in another. If the screenshots haven’t been completely fabricated, these two visual details alone confirm without a doubt that Project Beast has something to do with From Software’s diverging Souls IPs.
Here’s where things get interesting. As mentioned earlier, there is a lot of evidence to suggest Project Beast’s candidacy as a Demon’s Souls sequel, and all of it can be explained in great detail, as several Souls fanatics have already done, but we will focus on the most convincing part of the argument, which is Demon’s Souls‘s own development:
When Demon’s Souls was originally released in Japan in 2009, From Software needed assistance from Sony to publish the game. After the game’s release Sony was fairly public about not having much faith in its success. As a result, Demon’s Souls didn’t release in North America and Europe until 2010, when publishing was handled by Atlus and Namco Bandai. The game’s eventual cult status led to From Software developing a sequel, however the Demon’s Souls IP was in Sony’s hands, and not wanting to partner with Sony a second time, From created Dark Souls as a spiritual successor and published the game with Namco Bandai. In 2012, Shuhei Yoshida, president of SCE Worldwide Studios, went on record saying that Sony’s lack of investment in the Demon’s Souls franchise was one of their biggest mistakes. He later went on to imply that Sony is all about growing IP and called From Software a “very important business partner”. Since then, Demon’s Souls has been sitting on Sony’s shelf. It’s likely that the IP is going to continue on, and makes sense that Sony would push it as a console exclusive.
The second piece of this story is that Hidetaki Miyazaki, the creator and director of both Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls didn’t work on the recently released Dark Souls II. Instead, Miyazaki left to pursue “other projects” and while he suggested moving to something ‘warmer’ than the Souls games, it’s possible he wound up working on Demon’s Souls 2 anyway, or that this new Souls game may actually be a little less focused on the hopelessness of death.
A third piece of information that is a little more of an aesthetic detail: The working title for Dark Souls was Project Dark, leading some to speculate that Project Beast could be another delineation from the Souls universe; a third parallel series called Beast Souls.
Finally, Dual Shockers recently published information from an anonymous source that revealed Sony’s plans for this June’s E3 show. Project Beast is on the itinerary, and is marked as one of the more likely reveals to be unveiled on stage. It’s also listed as the “spiritual successor to Demon’s Souls” in the leaked text.
Video game development is notoriously arduous and prone to changes, delays and cancellations. Even taking the information leaked via 4chan at face value, Project Beast could change or disappear entirely off the face of the Earth before it’s ever released. There’s just too much convincing evidence here to believe the information is fake. Whether Project Beast turns out to be Demon’s Souls 2, Beast Souls or something else entirely, Hidetaki Miyazaki’s Souls games have become something entirely unique and sought after. Whatever it is, a next-gen game of the same caliber is sure to turn heads.