Dark Souls 3

Dark Souls 3 sees the return of the king in a spectacular conclusion to From Software's trilogy.


Key events

FeatureThe impossible architecture of video games

Bang head against wall of text.

There is a saying in architecture that no building is unbuildable, only unbuilt. Structures may be impossible in the here and now, but have the potential to exist given enough time or technological development: a futuristic cityscape, a spacefaring megastructure, the ruins of an alien civilisation. However, there are also buildings that defy the physical laws of space. It is not an issue that they could not exist, but that they should not. Their forms bend and warp in unthinkable ways; dream-like structures that push spatial logic to its breaking point.

FeatureThe road to video game hell

Sightseeing in the abyss.

If the games we play are anything to go by, the depths of hell are one of humankind's favourite destinations when it comes to travels of the mind. Few fantasy RPGs or horror games could be considered complete without at least a quick excursion into the domain of demons and sinners. And what better place to conclude your game than hell itself? What better villains to fight than the citizens of Pandemonium? Hell has found a steady home in many kinds of games, and its popularity shows no sign of abating.

Humans have gazed up at the sky and wondered about their place in the cosmos since the very beginning. Do the same in a game like, say, Breath of the Wild, and you're presented with vivid images of clouds, stars, the sun and the moon. It's an important part of this and many other games that helps to create an illusion of a continuous space that stretches beyond what we actually experience within the confines of the game. The sky implies that Hyrule, despite being a fantasy world, is a part of a cosmos very much like our own, and we accept this even though we cannot fly up and check.

FeatureMeet the professional video game boss killer

"I'd like to do every game in the world."

The most frustrating trial of David Bossa's YouTube career came earlier this year, as he was macheting his way through the lambent sprawl of Persona 5. That game's campaign is infamously long-winded, with heaps of incidental micro-episodes packed into Tokyo's sinuous alleyways. As the foremost archivist of video game boss fights, Bossa wasn't concerned by Haru's fractured familial relationships, or Ryuji's track meets, or Akechi's meddlesome inquiries. Instead, he was racing to document each of the game's 11 encounters on his YouTube channel for the day of its release, 4th April, 2017.

It's slowly starting to sink in that with the Ringed City DLC released and completed, there won't be any new Dark Souls for the forseeable future. In some ways, it's welcome news - it'll be interesting to see what series creator Hidetaka Miyazaki turns out next - but in many other, more immediate ways, it's fairly soul destroying (sorry).

As fantastic and darkly beautiful as they are from a design perspective, there's no denying that the Souls games are pretty bleak affairs. With death waiting around almost every corner, the comforts to be found in Dark Souls are few and far between.

Following a disgustingly successful Kickstarter campaign which closed out a full $3.7m over its $50k target, Dark Souls the Board Game is finally finished and ready to ship. Steamforged games kindly sent me a copy ahead of time, which I used to make the video review embedded below. As I dove into the very heavy box (the core set alone weighs in at a hefty 3.4kg), however, I found my mind repeatedly coming back to a comment during the initial kickstarter announcement from Steamforged Games - "Prepare to die. Because this will be the hardest board game you have ever played."

The Dark Souls community has gotten clever with its ludicrous self-imposed challenge runs, applying such limitations as not using weapons, or taking damage, or finishing From's latest with a controller made from bananas. YouTuber trflk doesn't apply anything quite that peculiar, but they do manage the incredible feat of conquering DLC expansion The Ringed City's most challenging boss, Darkeater Midir, on the hardest difficulty (NG+7), using naught but a broken sword and no armour.

This Dark Souls 3 video is bananas, literally

Like someone actually made a controller out of bananas.

The Dark Souls devoted are a strange and masochistic bunch with all sorts of passionate players creating bizarre challenges for themselves. There are folks who play through these games without taking any damage, others who play on the hardest New Game Plus cycle bare-handed, some who convert the control scheme to a cumbersome plastic instrument, and one person even conquered From's classic using only voice commands. But Twitch user TheSuperScrubs (YouTube handle ATwerkingYoshi) has unveiled the most bananas Dark Souls challenge yet by conquering From Software's latest adventure using a controller that is quite literally comprised of bananas.

FeatureDark Souls trilogy ends on a high note in The Ringed City

If you like it then you better put a ring on it.

Dark Souls is over. Sort of. Creator Hidetaka Miyazaki has previously said that while Dark Souls 3 may not officially close out the series that made him a star, it will provide a "turning point" for the franchise and developer From Software alike. Basically, it sounds like it's going to be a long while until we get the inevitable Dark Souls sequel, prequel, reboot, or spin-off. (Dark Souls: Andromeda perhaps?)

Dark Souls 3 patch to improve framerate on PS4 Pro

Dark Souls 3 patch to improve framerate on PS4 Pro

New PvP maps coming to DLC owners.

Dark Souls 3 is getting a new patch on 24th March that will add an improved framerate for PS4 Pro users.

This 1.11 update will also add two new PvP arenas for the game's Undead Match modes. These include Dragon Ruins and Grand Roof.

The patch also adds the ability to stay on the same team as your friends when playing in PvP. Following the update, you can have one password for friends joining one team, then another for those joining another team. Prior to this patch, players could only go to the same match as their friends, but had no say in assigning teams.

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Best-selling Steam games of 2016 revealed

Mix of old and new, big and small.

Happy New Year! Valve has revealed the top 100 best selling games on Steam in 2016. And given the size and dominance of Steam in the desktop gaming marketplace, the results are worth noting.

Dark Souls 3: Ashes of Ariandel review

One of the new enemies From Software introduces in its new Ashes of Ariendel expansion for Dark Souls 3 could best be described as a ninja version of Freddy Kruger. A leaping horror of spindly limbs and metal claws, the resemblance could be coincidence, but I reckon it's not entirely accidental. Freddy invaded dreams, while From's Corvian Knights invade a painted world you're sucked into. These fake Freddys are no less fearsome than Wes Craven's creation. With their berserk souls madly scrambling towards you in a mad flurry of flips and razor-pronged pirouettes, they elicit a lot of character. From Software already built a breathtaking menagerie of monsters across its last few Souls titles (along with spiritual successor Bloodborne), but these ravenous rangers exemplify the developer's penchant for frightening foes.

That's one of the keys to From Software's Souls series: the enemies have personalities, evoking emotions stronger and more sophisticated than mere malice. Rather than the one-dimensional cannon fodder of countless other games, Dark Souls' creatures elicit feelings ranging from despair, pity, admiration, terror and even ethereal wonder. Indeed, Ashes of Ariendel's final boss, in both its introduction cinematic and movement, stands out as one of the most tragic figures in the Souls series. There's a real sense of suffering at the heart of From's perpetually damned ecosystem that offers a delicate blend of fantasy escapism with solemn tones that resonates far greater than any other magical fantasy realm in gaming.

From's art direction is so evocative that it doesn't have to make any sort of literal sense. Supposedly it does, as the likes of VaatiVidya are making a living as virtual archeologists of this series' lore, but concrete comprehension isn't a pre-requisite to getting lost in these melancholy worlds. Admittedly, I'm not sure what exactly Ashes of Ariandel's plot is (nor can I grasp the story of its parent game, for that matter), but the emphasis is on how it makes you feel rather than how much you can comprehend its oblique lore.

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Dark Souls 3's first DLC expansion Ashes of Ariandel launches today, and I can't wait to get stuck into it. Ashes of Ariandel transports players to a snowy landscape hidden behind a cursed painting - a set-up which will no doubt sound familiar to players who journeyed through the original Dark Souls' optional area, the Painted World of Ariamis. It's unlikely the connection is purely coincidental; there'll be plenty more lore to try and decipher (or completely ignore) by the time this DLC has done the rounds, I'd wager.

Dark Souls 3 patch will adjust the game's "poise" stat

Since it release earlier this year Dark Souls 3 has confused and disappointed fans in one small area: its "poise" stat has been tweaked in a way that nobody understands. This may be fixed in an upcoming patch, due this Friday, that promises to adjust this variable.

See, in previous Dark Souls games poise affected the player character's response to getting hit. If your armour or shield had a strong poise value, it would mean you wouldn't stagger when struck by a heavy blow. In Dark Souls 3, however, even heavy weapons and armour with high poise would get smacked around just the same as those with low-poise equipment.

Many believed this to be a bug, though publisher Bandai Namco told Kotaku upon release that "The poise stat is working as intended" and that "the stat works differently than in past games and is more situational, which seems to be the reason for the confusion."

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Watch five minutes of Dark Souls 3: Ashes of Ariandel gameplay

Dark Souls 3 developer From Software has released nearly five minutes of new footage from its upcoming Ashes of Ariandel expansion.

The first three-and-a-half minutes of the following video show off many of the nifty new enemies I wrote about in my hands-on preview from TGS that went live yesterday.

After that, it switches over to showing off the add-on's boss fights - arguably too many boss fights as three are revealed. It's unclear how many will be in the full package, but given that it's priced at £11.99 / $14.99 with a second expansion due early next year, it seems reasonable that this may be all of Ashes of Ariandel's showcase combatants.

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Dark Souls did a lot to become a classic. Between its polished combat system, enticing challenges, and inspired art direction, it's little surprise that it drew such a devoted following. But perhaps Dark Souls' (and Demon's Souls before it) most memorable attribute was its ability to surprise people. Who can forget the first time you encounter a colossal hydra basking in a moonlit lake? The first time you realise that you can curl up into a crow's nest and be whisked away to a remote mountain? The first time you discover that you can step into a painting? But after Dark Souls' DLC, sequel, and its sequel's DLC (not to mention the series' spiritual sister Bloodborne), developer From Software was sometimes criticised for retreading old ground. Dark Souls 3 is a fantastic looking game, but one can only explore so many castles and fight so many knights and dragons before the whole enterprise blends together into a Castlevania-esque milieu of medieval mishmosh.

Here's the first trailer for Dark Souls 3's Ashes of Ariandel DLC

Dark Souls 3's first piece of DLC, Ashes of Ariandel, launches on 25th October, Bandai Namco has announced. According to the email blurb, players will travel to an unnamed frozen land, battling new monsters and uncovering a terrible secret pertaining to the deeper lore of the Dark Souls series. If you've been paying attention to it all this time, that is.

The accompanying trailer looks pretty good, I have to say; the whole area reminds me a lot of the Painted World of Ariamis, which was a snowy, optional area in the first Dark Souls game.

If you've played Dark Souls 3 for any length of time, you'll know that there is some overlap between its setting and that of the first Dark Souls, so I wouldn't actually be surprised if there is some connection between Ariamis and this new place, especially since the trailer seems to feature a blank canvas and one NPC offering you a torn piece of some painting.

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Dark Souls 3 DLC Ashes of Ariandel announced for October

Dark Souls 3 DLC Ashes of Ariandel announced for October

Adds new weapons, magic, and a PvP area.

Dark Souls 3 is getting a DLC expansion called Ashes of Ariandel due on 25th October.

The add-on was teased by the official PlayStation Twitter account before being removed - but not before Shacknews grabbed a screencap of it. A trailer was teased, but the video was still set to private.

According to Japanese blog Hachima (translated via Siliconera), the latest issue of Famitsu noted that the expansion will contain new weapons, magic, and a PvP-exclusive map called Immortal Competition.

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Watch this Dark Souls 3 all boss run completed without getting hit

If only I could be so grossly incandescent.

Dark Souls veteran and Twitch streamer The_Happy_Hob made a name for himself earlier this year when he made his way through Dark Souls without taking a single hit from an enemy. Though the pro player was not the first to attain such a victory in Dark Souls 3 (a feat accomplished by FaraazKhan last month) he was the first to make his way through From Software's latest without taking damage and fighting every boss.

If the headline reads like a lame joke, that's because it began life as one. "Imagine if they were hunting for Black Knights," I remarked to a friend, watching tourists and students coast merrily up and down the South Bank in search of Squirtles and Goldeens. "Imagine if Dark Souls were an alternate reality game."

Watch someone complete Dark Souls 3 without getting hit

Or using shields, bows, magic, or glitches.

Earlier this year dedicated Dark Souls player The_Happy_Hob finished From Software's cult classic without taking a single hit. Now he's met his match as Twitch competitor FaraazKhan has managed the same feat in Dark Souls 3.

From Software's Souls series is notorious for its punishing difficulty. Yet just being hard wasn't enough for some people. They needed to make things extra hard. Do things like completing the entire game without ever levelling up or using a shield. Then other people had to come along and put those already impressive tasks to shame by playing these games with cumbersome guitar or bongo controllers, completing a campaign without getting hit, or figuring out buff concoctions that can fell colossal bosses in one hit.

Dark Souls 3 PC patch removed due to freezing issues

Dark Souls 3 PC patch removed due to freezing issues

UPDATE: It's back and working properly this time.

UPDATE 18/05/2016 8.24pm: The Dark Souls 3 multiplayer patch has been redeployed. Early reports suggest that the freezing issues have been ironed out.

ORIGINAL STORY 16/05/2016 5.28pm: Dark Souls 3 developer From Software recently released a PC patch to fix some of the game's PvP glitches. Unfortunately, it made things worse by causing the game to freeze for a lot of folks. As such, From just removed the update.

"The patch has been removed temporarily to fix the freeze issues. We hope to reinstate the patch ASAP," the developer explained on the Steam forums. "If you fall victim to one of the bugs previously fixed, don't worry, you won't be penalised. We will keep you posted as soon as we have more info. Thank you for your understanding."

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Dark Souls 3 tops US retail sales for April

Dark Souls 3 tops US retail sales for April

Quantum Break lags behind at seventh place.

Dark Souls 3 was the best-selling game in US retail for the month of April, analyst NPD Group has revealed.

NPD's Liam Callahan noted that Dark Souls 3 sales nearly doubled that of Dark Souls 2, when adjusted for days in the market. Publisher Bandai Namco recently boasted about it shipping 3m copies worldwide in a month.

Taking second place in US retail for April was Insomniac's PS4-exclusive Ratchet & Clank reboot.

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Dark Souls 3 the biggest launch in series

Dark Souls 3, "the spectacular conclusion to From Software's trilogy", has had the biggest launch in the series, shipping 3m copies.

The 3m figure breaks down into 1.5m copies shipped in North America, 1m shipped in Europe, and 500,000 in Asia and Japan, according to a a press release (via Gematsu).

Comparisons are slightly confusing because of shipped units versus sold - they confused me (thank you commenters). In a similar timeframe, but in the US and Europe combined, Dark Souls 1 actually sold 1.2m copies, whereas Dark Souls 2 only shipped 1.2m copies. Even with only shipped figures for Dark Souls 3, it seems the game is comfortably ahead.

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Digital FoundryRevealed: Dark Souls 3's special treat for series veterans

SPOILERS! Digital Foundry unveils a remarkable video comparison.

Dark Souls 3 has plenty of surprises in store for fans - one of which we've been meaning to cover since its launch. For those who haven't progressed to the game's final third, we'd recommend bailing out on this article for now. It's a great moment and we'd rather not spoil it.

The concept behind Souls multiplayer is unique among big-budget releases, and so to this day feels fresh. Online multiplayer design over-values symmetry as some sort of foundational principle - which in certain genres, to be sure, it is. But the Souls series thrives on placing a rock-solid combat system in asymmetrical scenarios, bringing players together in unexpected ways and often giving one side a clear advantage. This is the life of an invader, and it's never about fairness.

Dark Souls 3 launch sales up 61 per cent over Dark Souls 2 in UK

Dark Souls 3 is the UK's number one game, with launch week sales up 61 per cent over launch week sales of Dark Souls 2.

That's physical sales only, remember. Chart-Track data does not include download sales. And, going by SteamSpy figures, download sales for the game have been significant.

Dark Souls 3 launched last week on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and it looks like it's doing the business for publisher Bandai Namco. Dark Souls 2 came out in March 2014 on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

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Digital FoundryWhat does it take to run Dark Souls 3 at 1080p60?

Targeting the premium PC experience, with hardware tests from budget rigs up to top-tier components.

From Software has come a long way since its first Dark Souls port to PC. Back then, it was a timid dipping of the toe for the studio, and one that drew ire for its sub-720p, 30fps delivery. Fast track to 2016 and it's quite a different story. Dark Souls 3 is replete with options on PC that gives players far more wiggle room than ever before - plus the ability to run at 1080p and beyond. Barring its peak cap of 60fps that's at odds with higher-refresh monitors, the out-of-the-box experience is strong, and lends itself well to a testing across a range of PC set-ups.

How to bypass Dark Souls 3's game-breaking PC bug

Helmets and low light prevent crashes, somehow.

Dark Souls 3 has finally launched in english. Hurray! But there's a problem: numerous PC players are finding that the game is crashing upon reaching the game's first bonfire only a few minutes in. Uh oh.

Why you should install Dark Souls 3 patch 1.03

FeatureWhy you should install Dark Souls 3 patch 1.03

Significantly improved performance, but issues remain.

Dark Souls 3 was released in Japan a few weeks before the rest of the world, offering an early glimpse at the game on both PS4 and Xbox One. We took advantage of this, testing the performance level of the earlier, spoiler-free parts of the game. Since then, many players have reached the end of the game and reports have emerged, suggesting that late game regions were suffering from sluggish performance reminiscent of Blighttown - the original Dark Souls' most notorious performance trouble spot. Clearly, remaining spoiler-free wasn't going to cut it. If frame-rates degraded later on in the game, we needed to check it out.

We tackled three key areas - Farron Keep, Irithyll of Boreal and Lothric Castle - each of which has been reported as a trouble spot by multiple users. After playing through each of these areas, we noted some issues, but failed to encounter anything resembling the apparently crippled performance levels being reported. While slowdown is present at points, it is limited to minor pockets triggered by asset streaming or alpha effects in close proximity to the camera. Lothric Castle definitely exhibits extended dips to roughly 28fps at certain points, but aside from this specific section, the game maintains a 30fps average fairly easily.

However, the evidence suggests that this wasn't always the case. These tests were carried out with the latest patch - 1.03. Now, all of Dark Souls 3's updates have mentioned performance improvements, but 1.03 actually delivers some tangible improvements. We only have limited assets showing issues on earlier builds but the snapshot of the game shown below tells its own story: Dark Souls 3 still has some issues, but the optimisation effort has paid off - 1.03 is clearly running much more smoothly.

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FeatureDark Souls 3 - New Game Plus

Everything you need to know about Dark Souls 3's super-hard NG+ mode: what you keep, what changes, and what to do before you start.

If the game wasn't tough enough, or if after vanquishing the Big Bad you're still itching for more, don't fret. That was only a warmup, and for the brave (or foolish), Dark Souls 3 is quite happy to up the stakes for you with its New Game Plus mode.

Bandai Namco launches a Dark Souls clothing line, but...

Dark Souls publisher Bandai Namco has launched a clothing line promoting From Software's action-RPG series. However, it looks like this:

That's the pattern on a hoodie, but the other clothing in Bandai Namco's line-up is equally ill-befitting of From's fantasy franchise. The "screamo" ska-punk aesthetic clashes wildly with the ethereal aesthetic of Dark Souls. "It's soul farming time"? Who says that? "Back stab"? That's not even part of a witty phrase. And don't even get me started on "keep dying" overlaid atop an Xbox gamepad.

There have been other Dark Souls shirts that better capture the series' feel - or are at least more fashionable. Meat Bun has featured a few unofficial Dark Souls shirts that are pretty stylish, though the only one in its current catalogue portrays Nito.

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Dark Souls 3 review

EssentialDark Souls 3 review

Third time's the charm.

Editor's note: Dark Souls 3 releases worldwide today, so to mark the occasion here's our review of From Software's farewell to its fantasy universe, first published last week.

In an industry built on sequels there are plenty of also-rans - those that fail to move on, those that change too much, and those that can't handle the expectation. Though it would be harsh to call Dark Souls 2 a failure all three of these factors played a part in its final form, with the anxiety of influence leaving it, for many players, feeling hollow. Similar opinions must be held behind From Software's doors, else how to explain the return of Hidetaka Miyazaki to the Souls series as director? The fantasy genre has form, at least, with third acts about the return of the king.

Dark Souls 3

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Editor's note: Our full Dark Souls 3 review will go up next week wherein veteran Souls aficionado Rich Stanton will evaluate From Software's latest action-RPG outing, and we should be able to offer you impressions soon. Until then, Jeffrey has been having a go of the Japanese version on PlayStation 4. Here are his thoughts after 28 hours with the import.

Face-Off: Dark Souls 3

Digital FoundryFace-Off: Dark Souls 3

Clash of the consoles: PS4 takes on Xbox One.

Developed by two separate teams within From Software, Dark Souls 3 arrives a year on from the excellent Bloodborne, with the apparent aim of bringing closure to the Souls series. The engine of the PlayStation 4 exclusive returns too, now put to work in rendering a beautiful, withered fantasy world on other formats, including Xbox One and PC. Today we focus on the two console versions - a clash that reunites Sony's machine with From's core tech to bring out some clear PS4 advantages.

To start, this is the first Dark Souls title where resolution differs between two console competitors. The final PS4 code pushes a native 1920x1080 image - as was the expectation after its network beta - while Xbox One instead opts to upscale from a lower 1600x900 frame-buffer. Such a resolution drop on Microsoft's machine marks a running trend across this generation so far, and Dark Souls 3 joins a growing list of titles where PS4 offers an image quality lead. To back this, both consoles use a matching style of post-process anti-aliasing to deal with visual noise.

Despite this extra upscale, Xbox One still presents Lothric in a flattering light. In play, the one truly perceptible shortfall of its native 900p image is that pixel crawl flares up more aggressively across foliage - though otherwise its visuals hold up very well. Bizarrely, all HUD elements on Xbox One (such as menus and health bars) are also rendered at 900p. Rather than setting these 2D elements to display at 1080p over gameplay - a tactic used in most sub-native titles - they're instead put through the same scaling process. As a result we get a light blur to item illustrations, one that shows up next to PS4's, and it's a shame given there is a commonly practiced workaround here.

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Dark Souls fans will no doubt have heard by now that a strange exploit has resulted in Xbox One owners being able to snag the English version of From Software's highly-anticipated action-RPG ahead of its 12th April western release. That trick doesn't work on PS4, however, though overly excited fans can purchase the Japanese release, should they jump through a few import-related hoops.

Digital FoundryDark Souls 3: see how the Bloodborne engine runs on Xbox One

Initial performance and resolution metrics from Digital Foundry.

Due for a worldwide release on April 12th, Dark Souls 3 snuck in an early Japanese launch today - meaning that we can at last see this game running on Xbox One. Contact with this particular version has been a long time coming, with our only coverage of the game to date coming through the PS4's network beta. Finally, it's possible to gauge the performance of From Software's engine running on Microsoft hardware - essentially the technology at the heart of Bloodborne, a PS4 platform exclusive.

Dark Souls 3 launch trailer whets our appetite one last time

Dark Souls 3 launch trailer whets our appetite one last time

Auctions Yorkshire "Dark Souls Tea" for charity.

Dark Souls 3 launched in Japan today and developer From Software isn't making it easy on the rest of us by releasing this glorious new launch trailer.

While primed for a Japanese launch (the release date says today), the following trailer is still in English. Look closely and you'll spot a few new bosses - maybe more than I'd like to know about, to be honest. Here's hoping the full game still has plenty of surprises left, because what From's teased so far is very enticing indeed.

In other Dark Souls 3 news, Yorkshire Tea has joined forces with publisher Bandai Namco to auction off a one-of-a-kind 80 bag box of "Dark Souls Tea" to raise money for charity SpecialEffect, an organisation dedicated to using technology to help disabled people play video games.

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FeatureDark Souls 3 and the meaning of 'utsukushi'

There's something about his game that Hidetaka Miyazaki isn't sure even its makers fully understand.

In a church in Hamburg, the pews have been rearranged and dozens of consoles have been lined up wall-to-wall. A makeshift stage has all but engulfed the altar, drinks are being served at the sidelines and when we first arrive, bleary-eyed from an early plane journey, organ music blares down from above as dry ice is pumped in from the sidelines. The very small part of my brain that identifies as a former Irish Catholic is thrilled and ever-so-slightly aghast at the blasphemy of it all, but for today, the congregation that has gathered for worship here are all pious members of the church of Dark Souls.

If you've ever played a Dark Souls game and found your hollowware not quite hollow enough to fit the mood of From Software's darkly romantic RPG series, you may be in luck as strategy guide developer Prima Game will be shipping actual estus flasks with its luxurious Dark Souls 3 Estus Flask Edition guide.

Watch this latest Dark Souls 3 gameplay trailer

Dark Souls 3 has received a new trailer ahead of its 12th April western launch for PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Set to the theme of True Colors by Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg, this latest trailer shows us a handful of new settings and bosses. There's a giant sentient tree, a fiery wolf-like ogre, something ensconced in ice shards, a couple of knights, and more. More than anything, this trailer just looks cool and you all should watch it.

Our Martin Robinson went hands-on with Dark Souls 3 at Tokyo Games Show last autumn and found it at once familiar and surprisingly different. "Dark Souls 3 still feels familiar, and comforting even - a strange situation given the hostility the series has often been renowned for. Meddle with those new systems, though, and get lost in the options the Critical Arts bring, and it'll soon yank you out of your comfort zone," he wrote in his Dark Souls 3 impressions. "There's never been any doubt over Dark Souls 3 being a great game - the interesting thing right now is how different it could well be."

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Dark Souls to receive Xbox One backwards compatibility

UPDATE: Pre-order bonus for Dark Souls 3 confirmed, priced.

UPDATE 16/02/2015 4.43pm: The Xbox Marketplace listing for Dark Souls 3 - including the pre-order bonus of backwards compatible Dark Souls - has surfaced for the UK. The core game costs £49.99 or you can snag the Deluxe Edition with the Season Pass for £69.74.

Dark Souls 3 release date, pre-order editions detailed

Dark Souls 3 release date, pre-order editions detailed

One edition is exclusive to GAME.

Dark Souls 3 will launch in the UK on 12th April 2016, publisher Bandai Namco has confirmed.

Three special edition versions of the game will be available, with two limited to specific retailers.

Dark Souls 3's Apocalypse Edition is a GAME pre-order exclusive in the UK, containing the game, a metal case and official soundtrack CD.

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Digital FoundryDigital Foundry: Hands-on with Dark Souls 3

Early PS4 impressions, and how From Software's next epic compares to Bloodborne.

Running on PS4 for its network stress test, From Software offers a remarkable taster of what's to come in Dark Souls 3, six months ahead of its 2016 launch. The engine at its heart already has many parallels with Bloodborne, a PS4 title that blazed a trail just this year with the studio's more experimental ideas. Both in its nightmare-fuelled art design and its technical frontiers, Bloodborne was a marvel to behold - a current-gen title in the Souls mould, and also indicative of the direction taken with the upcoming multi-platform Dark Souls 3.

Dark Souls 3 western release date narrowed down

Dark Souls 3 western release date narrowed down

Coming soon after Japanese release.

Dark Souls 3 has had its release date in the west narrowed down, with Bandai Namco confirming at this year's Tokyo Game Show that it'll be coming out in Europe and North America in April next year.

That'll be soon after the Japanese release date, which was confirmed during Sony's conference in Tokyo to be March 24th 2016. Dark Souls 3 sees Hidetaki Miyazaki return to the helm of the series, and sees several new systems introduced - the newest of which we'll have a look into in a preview that's hitting the site shortly.

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FeatureDark Souls 3 is a surprisingly different beast

Dear estus: video and brief impressions of From Software's new systems.

A hollow bursting through a barrel, or a knight waiting poised around a stonewall corner; Dark Souls has excelled at surprises just as much as it has its sense of rich, clotted enigma. How dispiriting, then, to be faced with a sequel that, from first impressions, felt so familiar. More Dark Souls will always be a welcome thing, of course, but could this sequel that's been fired off in quick succession after sequel expansion Scholar of the First Sin and spiritual partner Bloodborne be the proof that you can have too much of a good thing?

Dark Souls 3 gets a Japanese release date

Dark Souls 3 gets a Japanese release date

Rest of world TBC but could be same week.

Dark Souls 3 will be released 24th March 2016 in Japan, From Software announced today. That's on PS4 and Xbox One.

"The Windows version release date and the worldwide release date will be announced at a later date," a press release said.

How the date translates to Europe and the US remains to be seen but the signs are good: From Software's most recent game Bloodborne came out in the same week worldwide, as did Dark Souls 2. Given that the UK gets games on a Friday (the notable new exception being EA) that could mean a Dark Souls 3 release here 25th March 2016. The only official communication we've had is "early 2016", which tallies.

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Dark Souls 3 debuts gameplay in new trailer

Dark Souls 3 debuts gameplay in new trailer

UPDATE: Check out 18 minutes of off-screen gameplay, plus new screenshots.

UPDATE 05/08/2015 7.31pm: Over 18 minutes of off-screen gameplay have been captured at Gamescom, courtesy of IGN:

The first video shows 16 minutes of gameplay, while the second one is much shorter but reveals the Dancer of the Frigid Valley boss in action.

UPDATE 05/08/2015 7.15pm: Bandai Namco has released the following eight beautiful screenshots for Dark Souls 3. Have it it!

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FeatureDark Souls 3 is familiar, and that's fine

But what waits around the corner?

Hidetaka Miyazaki isn't anything like I pictured him. I'm not really sure what I expected, but the image I had conjured up, of a quiet, brooding auteur responsible for the creation of nightmarish visions like the Gaping Dragon and Quelaag and Ebrietas, was far from the grinning figure who stands at the front of the room for our hands-off demo, bright-eyed, animated, and joking about PC malfunctions and Legolas from The Lord of the Rings.

Dark Souls series sales surpass 8.5 million

The brilliant Dark Souls series has surpassed 8.5m sales, and more than 3.25m of those were on PC.

The numbers come from a Japanese presentation by From Software, reported by Famitsu and relayed/made sense of on NeoGAF.

According to the numbers:

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