Most people wouldn’t be surprised to know that there are a lot of battle royale games on the market right now. It also wouldn’t be a very large stretch of the imagination to say, there will be a great many more battle royale games coming out over the next few years. The unprecedented success of games like PUBG, Fortnite, and Apex Legends means that a lot of development teams are working hard on trying to produce the next hit battle royale game.
Until now, the major successes of the battle royale genre have been focused on shooting as a core gameplay element, but it’s probably only a matter of time until melee combat becomes a hit in the battle royale genre. There have been a few low-key efforts at making melee-based battle royales, but they mostly failed in the mainstream market or thrive exclusively on Steam.
If anyone were capable of breaking the previously set norms for the battle royale genre, it would be Hidetaka Miyazaki. Miyazaki has recently expressed interest in making a battle royale game, going as far as to say his team “would love to take a crack at [battle royale games] someday.” As the Director of the Souls series, Bloodborne, and now, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Miyazaki is nothing short of a genius when it comes to challenging and rewarding gameplay.
Miyazaki’s experience in creating challenging, but rewarding gameplay is key to the potential of a battle royale game that he could direct. People play battle royale games for many different reasons, but one of the biggest reasons has to be the rush that players experience when they’re the last man standing. You get a special feeling when you conquer the odds and defeat a massive field of opponents.
This really isn’t all too different from what players love about the Souls’ formula, where players face off against nightmarish bosses and, against all odds, eventually defeat a boss that once seemed impossible to vanquish. In this sense, a Dark Souls battle royale game could be a lot of fun.
However, Dark Souls is primarily a solo experience. Yes, you can summon other players for some light co-op, invade other players’ worlds and try to defeat them in combat, and you can read/leave messages in the world for all to see, but multiplayer is not the crux of a Souls experience. The real gameplay loop of Dark Souls comes from killing tough enemies, grinding for better stats, and fighting relentless bosses.
Invading and summoning is fun, but it’s certainly not at the forefront of any Souls experience; you can opt to play the games entirely on your own and never experience PvP interactions. With this in mind, it’s a little difficult to imagine a Dark Souls battle royale game.
First of all, a Souls battle royale game probably wouldn’t feature any bosses unless there were random bosses spread out across the map. I can picture bosses being spread out and dropping loot when defeated but it seems like that would be pretty complicated and unlikely. My fear would be that without bosses, it just wouldn’t feel like a Souls game.
The second issue would be, while PvP never felt bad in Dark Souls, it never really felt amazing either. The series has always focused on PvE feeling amazing; PvP interactions were never as satisfying as they could be. Personally, I think that For Honor does a much better job when it comes to PvP melee fighting. This means that FromSoftware would probably need to make some relatively substantial changes to the core gameplay mechanics of Dark Souls for it to be a repeatedly rewarding experience in a battle royale game.
Is a Dark Souls battle royale game really coming out in the coming years? Well, maybe, but it seems unlikely. In the context of the interview where Miyazaki said he’d love to try making a battle royale game, he never specifically says it would take place in the Dark Souls universe; people have been jumping to that conclusion since Dark Souls is arguably FromSoftware’s biggest property. The reality of the situation is that if Miyazaki directs a battle royale game, it would probably be a new IP or a battle royale mode in the inevitable next Dark Souls game.