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Discuss all things Destiny.
5/13/2014 12:15:09 AM

Dark Souls Lore, Destiny Gameplay

Greetings #Destiny, and greetings to any other Dark Souls fans out there. This thread is going to go into game design and suggestions for Destiny, so if you have the attention span of a gnat save yourself the time, because there will be no tl;dr. I will be going extensively into what I believe Dark Souls did right in the hopes of fostering discussion as to if these traits should be in Destiny. Dark Souls is a game praised for its fair gameplay, and is most notable for its apparent lack of story and, much more so, its difficulty. However what many more casul Dark Souls players do not know is that this universe actually has a hugely intricate storyline that many people are still trying to figure out. This story is told in a variety of ways, and this is what I will be discussing. There are two main ways Dark Souls relays its story outside of traditional cutscenes and dialogue you see in both Dark Souls and nearly every other game on the market. The first way involves item descriptions. The second involves placement. More on that later. Item Descriptions. Every item in Dark Souls has a description, and many offer tidbits into their lore. Anybody out there played the Fable series? Remember the one Bowerstone RPG quest where they say, "Well nobody actually READS the item descriptions!"? For most games, I think this holds true. But for Dark Souls it is warranted to read them because of the sheer amount of lore you can get from them. In fact, a lot of the backstory can ONLY be figured out through item descriptions. Hence why many people claim Dark Souls has little to no story- because most gamers just skip by that kind of thing (as did I at first, I'll admit). The second way Dark Souls tells story is through placement. This can be divided into enemy placement, item placement, loot, and environment. Telling a story through the environment is something a lot of games try to do and few get noted for since it isn't done too well, such as Gears of War giving off the impression of a city except for the conveniently placed chest-high walls signaling a battle is imminent. Why are those chest high walls there if not for gameplay? Often bits of the environment are placed solely for gameplay purposes. But this doesn't tell a story. This doesn't add to the lore. This is what I would call poor placement. For instance, in Dark Souls II there is a level with poison everywhere, and giant windmills that pump poison up to a castle. Is all this poison just to make the level difficult? Partially, but it is also relevant to the story as this poison heals the boss of the level. This further ties into her own backstory. Rather than giant wheels and poison being just a gameplay mechanic, they are an integral part of the lore. Bungie claims they will try to tell us story through the environment- but to what extent? Randomly placed crates like in Halo are not suited for the lore Bungie is trying to impress upon us, I feel. The environment involving storytelling comes from more than just the background. It comes from what is right in front of us, too. Loot. Enemies drop loot. In Destiny, loot is class specific, but will it just be like WoW where random 'epics' will drop from bosses? I would love to see a Dark Souls approach where loot is tailored to the story. Bungie claims that people will know what adventures you have been on through your gear. But will we know where that gear came from first? The Thunderlord, for instance. Why does Rixis have the Thunderlord? Does he have an affinity for electricity? Did another Guardian die by Rixis, who keeps these weapons and trophies? Why does he have these drops? Tying into the previous point, In Dark Souls, you can fight Dark Wraiths. They have a small chance of dropping the Dark Hand. Why do they drop this? Not just because it's a cool item players should get, but because those are the items they used to steal humanity from others. There is lore behind them having it- and they're just a common respawning enemy let alone a boss! But this ties into... Enemy placement. Why are those Darkwraiths there? Well, since they were stealing humanity from people, three sorcerers imprisoned them all in New Londo to prevent the Covenant from thriving and bringing the Furtive Pygmy's plan to fruition- usher in the age of man. And you even have Ingward placed in the level. While he tells you little straight up, you can gather he is in fact one of the sorcerers that imprisoned the Darkwraiths, and he posts in the area to keep the Abyss from spreading... and consuming. This means that neither the enemy placement nor the NPC placement is there for the sake of convenience, but also stay there for intense lore relevance. Item placement. Items in Dark Souls are not just placed to give a player a sense of accomplishment. They, again, accompany a large amount of lore. For example, there is an area known as the 'Painted World of Ariamis.' This world is a prison made to keep a half-breed abomination Priscilla away (though again, you are not told this and must figure it out). In this world, you find a Chaos Ember, which lets you create Occult weapons. Occult weapons are in lore used to fight against the Gods. This Ember was therefore likely placed here by Velka's followers (another character you need to figure out as her name never comes up directly) to give you the opportunity to kill the Gods. Level design, item placement, it all ties together with a purpose. Items are not just placed willy nilly. I think that if we are going to be finding loot (knowing full well Bungie has said adventuring won't just be 'go here and loot chest X'), it should be lore relevant to give us the insane amount of depth I have come to expect from Dark Souls. _____________________________________________________________________ OK. So there's everything Dark Souls did right with storytelling that I wanted to gush over. Given how Bungie is trying to sell us on this narrative and create a universe more intricate than Star Wars (quite the bold claim if I do say so myself), I do not feel it is absurd to ask of them to keep these things in mind. There is no shame in taking lessons from other developers and, in fact, every developer does it. Dark Souls did story-telling perhaps too subtle-ly than for what Bungie wants, but that doesn't mean Bungie should forsake the aspects Dark Souls DID do well. So yes. Discuss Dark Souls storytelling, feel free to provide more examples of storytelling done right both in these games and others, and let's talk of how useful it could be to Destiny's continuity.

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