In twenty one days, the world of Dark Souls players will be able to explore The Ringed City, the final DLC in the series by From Software and perhaps at last we Undead will see the ultimate fading of the Flame. It’s a sad day and a hopeful one, I’m sure, for many of us who have been inexplicably drawn to the series since the first Dark Souls in 2011 (and even its predecessor, Demon’s Souls in 2009). But even for those who have slowly been brought into the fold over the years, the ending of Age of Fire spells the ending of an age in video games, one which hopefully will usher in a new age of great potential and creative freedom. Though for me, I wonder if this will spell the end my on-going love for video games, for, as many have said in the before me, Dark Souls ruined video games for me.
It was one year ago exactly from the DLC’s release date (March 28th) that I had written about my plans to write in-depth about the series. This was partly inspired by the wonderful article by Troy L. Wiggins about narrative consumption and the importance of the games from a storytelling perspective (afrofantasy.net/2016/03/25/some-thoughts-on-narrative-consumption-or-why-fantasy-writers-should-play-dark-souls/). Though, like many of the Dark Souls community, I’m also driven by a nigh obsessive need to express an experience which has given me so much inspiration and enjoyment over the years.
As it is, I’ve been a gamer all of my life, and my experiences with video games have inspired me and my creative work as much (and in some cases more) than the books and comics I’ve read. Though despite the long list of games I’ve played, few have had such a profound impression on me as the Dark Souls series. Vagrant Story is one semi-obscure title from the early 2000s which one may recognise influences of in my work (those familiar with the game, that is). The Castlevania series, as uneven as it is, is another.
But even these two, as deep-rooted in my youth as they are, lack something (or some things) which one can only find in the Soulsborne series (named also for 2015’s Bloodborne). As Mr. Wiggins writes, there is real value in playing these games for storytellers of all types. I would imagine similar to the value I’ve heard many speak of in regard to their experiences with Dungeons & Dragons (which I embarrassingly have to admit I’ve only played once in my life, despite a real desire to delve more deeply into the game).
Let this stand, then, as an introduction of sorts to the content I’ll be posting over the course of the next weeks leading up to the DLC’s release and perhaps beyond it. As I said, I’ve wanted to write more about the series in the past, and it seems every time I’m about to commence this project, some big announcement needs to be made or another topic needs my immediate attention. But now with the launch of my Patreon page (which, in part, funds this blog as well as my creative work), I feel a certain responsibility to write more content for the blog, rather than just news and updates on my own work. Though invariably the topics here will relate, even loosely, to my own work. How could they not?
So, if you are a Souls fan or have been intrigued by the series but never played it, I hope you’ll find the following blog piece of interest. In the meanwhile, here are all of the previous articles and blog piece I’ve written about the series:
Until next week. May the flames guide your way.