When Dark Souls was released in 2011, the “Prepare to Die” marquee on the back of the game served as a warning to some and a titillating invitation to others. A spiritual successor to From Software’s blockbuster Demon’s Souls, a game notorious for it’s unforgiving difficulty, it promised to dish out even more punishment. They weren’t kidding, and Dark Souls became equally notorious for giving even the most hardcore of gamers a run for their money. However, past the difficulty was a beautifully designed and extremely well made game that earned ample praise from critics and gamers alike. Namco Bandai Games obviously has a hit on their hands, and they have wasted no time in confirming that a sequel is already in development. Prepare to stare death in the face once more.

Officially announced during the Spike Video Game Awards (VGA) show on December 7, 2012, Dark Souls II promises to be every bit as challenging, unforgiving and ultimately rewarding as its predecessor. The game will feature an entirely new hero, storyline and setting, presumably in the same gothic horror vein as the previous installments. As the game is currently in development by From Software, little is known about the game itself, however it has been revealed that a “revamped” multiplayer system will be in place to make Dark Souls II a more distinctive experience. In both Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, players had the ability to summon other players into their game to help out, be summoned themselves or invade other people’s games to kill them. How this system will be modified is unknown at this time.

Indeed, Namco Bandai is relishing in the challenge they are posing to gamers. In the official press release, Vice President of Marketing Carlson Choi offered this amusing summary of what Dark Souls II will have to offer

“Dark Souls II retains the core essence of Dark Souls while evolving to present new twists and challenges that are sure to please longtime fans and attract new comers to the series,” says Carlson Choi, Vice President of Marketing at NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. “FromSoftware is going to take a very dark path with Dark Souls II; players will need to look deep within themselves to see if they have the intestinal fortitude to embark on this journey.”     

From this, we can easily surmise that Dark Souls II is going to be as punishing as the games that came before it, however it will be interesting what changers are in place to attract those who avoided the series in the past. However, it’s hard to imagine an “easy mode” in a game like this. The subtitle for the official press release promises “hopelessness, despair and impending doom”, which is no doubt exactly what series fans will be hoping for.

Dark Souls II has been confirmed for release on the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC. At the time of this writing, no possible release date has been confirmed.

To view the official VGA launch trailer, check out the video link below.