Edge Magazine has recently published a 10-page feature on Dark Souls II’s direction, trying to answer many of the questions brought up by new series director Tomohiro Shibuya’s recent statement that the game is becoming “more straightforward and more understandable.”

“Right in the beginning when players first pick up the game is something that I will definitely focus on,” he said in his interview with Edge. “To not immediately throw them into Dark Souls but provide a good introduction in terms of what the game’s about and how the game should be played. Hopefully that adjustment at the very beginning of the game will help draw in players and get them addicted right away without immediately making players feel rejected [by] the game system itself.”

Shibuya gives examples of certain areas he would like to make clearer, such as the Covenant system as, according to him, it was “difficult to fully absorb and experience.” He further continued, “Making it more accessible to players is something that I want to express… I will follow the same concept as Dark Souls, but there were a lot of hidden story elements that some players may not have caught before and I’m hoping to make some of that a little but more clear or directly expressed to the player as well.”

Sadly I think this is going to worry most of the game's fans, myself included. One of the most wonderful aspects of Demon/Dark Souls was that its replayability value was not weighed solely on character stats, but also on the fact you could discover new story elements on your second playthrough of the game.

Games like Fallout 1 and 2, Baldurs Gate and Planescape (Yep, all them isometric ones!) told some fantastic stories with little to no aid given to the player in which direction they should go, thus guaranteeing different outcomes and playing experiences every time. Demon/Dark Souls' story telling felt eerily natural and not “forced”, and this is they key word here.

I cannot help but feel a little concerned about Shibuya’s words, as they remind of how a lot of producers talk when a game is being set to “capitalize” on recent success and introduced to a larger market. It loses its magic and can, in most cases completely, fail in its objective.

Whatever happens, let’s look forward with positivity towards the final product. It looks like the first hour of Dark Souls II will either make it or break it …or, as usual, break us and our will to survive its unyielding difficulty!