It is hard not to look at Dark Souls II’s new trailer without being engulfed by an overwhelming sense of despair. Those who have followed the Souls games since 2009’s Demon’s Souls are certainly familiar with this feeling by now – the encompassing sense of despair and wonder, fear and awe. Developers FromSoftware have done a notoriously impressive job when it comes to story crafting in their titles; both Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls have plotlines and lore tidbits scattered throughout the game in such a meaningful way that only the most astute players will ever be able to understand what truly is happening in each game’s world.
Dark Souls II, thankfully, is headed in the same direction as its predecessors. In the newest trailer for Dark Souls II, entitled ‘Cursed’, the legions of fans pining for insight into the game’s world have finally been given a taste. Whatever questions fans may have had before the trailer’s release, however, seem only to lead to more wandering thoughts after viewing Cursed.
While the new trailer does serve well as a basis for Dark Souls II’s storyline, one cannot help but wonder how the game will turn relate to its predecessor, Dark Souls. Sequels can be finicky things and FromSoft has an undeniably difficult challenge in terms of transitioning between the two titles.
Thankfully, time within the Souls world is a mysterious thing. Time weaves and spins in Dark Souls’ world of Lordran, allowing spectral versions of various characters to interact with the player on numerous occasions.
In terms of time – and its importance to the world of Dark Souls and Dark Souls – Forbes’ Erik Kain shares insight into the trailer and its relevancy to the plot. Referring back to the endings of Dark Souls, Kain writes:
“I suspect Dark Souls II takes place after the Age of Fire has ended, far into the future. Perhaps the curse of Drangleic is simply the curse of the undead, spread ever onward, over land and time.”
It is with these words that in mind that a closer look at the Cursed trailer may make Dark Souls II’s plot a bit more palatable.
In the trailer, viewers are treated to a haunting voice over speaking of dreams and an ancient, walled-off kingdom – the aforementioned Drangleic. The trailer then moves forward, showing a shot of Drangleic’s dragon-filled skies before words of caution appear before the viewer’s eyes.
‘Bearer of the curse, seek misery. Till this frail hope shatters. Lest this land swallow you whole. As it has so many others.’
It seems that in Dark Souls II, the cure of the Cursed will come only through more pain. In support of this notion are the trailer’s following moments, where what seems to be various incarnations of the player’s character are seen being attacked by Drangleic’s absolutely vicious inhabitants. Text then appears once more:
‘The curse is part of life itself.’
The curse found within Dark Souls II, sounds in many ways eerily similar to the state of continual undeath in Dark Souls. Of importance as well are bits of narration that can be heard throughout the last half of the trailer. The most important line of dialogue that can be heard are four haunting words – We need the Abyss.
Souls veterans are sure to be familiar with the Abyss and its relevancy to humanity’s Hollowing.
I have previously shared thoughts on Dark Souls II’s plot and what I suspected to be a theme of renewal through death. With the release of the Cursed trailer, and the emphasis on both the notion of misery and the Abyss, perhaps it is time to shift stances a little.
Dark Souls II seems to, as Kain stated, take place long after the events of Dark Souls. However, what importance does the notion of passing time have in lands that are destined to repeat endlessly? Perhaps Dark Souls 2’s Drangleic will illuminate on the state of other locations within the Dark Souls universe.
From what has been seen of the scenery and enemies of Dark Souls II, it seems as though Drangleic is in a state of degradation from the end of the Age of Fire. Things were bad to begin with in Lordran, but the state of disrepair and horrific creature that seem to populate Dark Souls II may be indicative of the Curse – the ramifications of an Age of Darkness – spreading throughout the land over the course of time.
Accepting the curse and seeking the misery that has spawned from it may be the only way that the player can overcome the horrors that await in Drangleic and acceptance of these facts may be the only way to break the Curse.
Where Dark Souls II’s plot will lead players will continue to be up for much speculation until the game is available for purchase, but if there is one thing to expect from a Souls title it is that no matter how many deaths, we will keep coming back for more.
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