GameReactor spoke to Dark Souls 2 director Yui Tanimura at the recent Global Gamers Day event, where Tanimura had quite a bit to say about the game, elaborating upon the design decisions he made for Dark Souls 2.
He stated that he felt encouraged to hear that a lot of people are interested in Dark Souls 2, but that he also feels a good sense of pressure to delivering a great game—one that has much to live up to in its predecessor.
Tanimura stated that whereas most game developers often tack on new features with sequels, he believes that because Dark Souls was a fairly complete game in itself, he doesn't think adding features in itself is the best way of proceeding. He believes that his task as director is to enhance and try to deepen the core essence and try to deliver a more challenging experience so that they can further enjoy the underlying concepts of what existed for Dark Souls 1.
In regards to the game's multiplayer aspects, he states that the key characterizing features such as the blood messaging, the invasions, the summoning, the phantoms—all of these will be carried over to Dark Souls 2. These are core elements that are important to the Souls series. However, because the upcoming game is going to be server-based, the developers feel that there will be more connections and players will be able to sense the existence of other players in the world, and we feel that itself will enhance the connection—a loose connection—that the developers intend on portraying with Dark Souls 2.
Like the multiplayer implementation, the game's boss battles and level templates are far from orthodox. The director stated that he wanted to try to get rid of the orthodox template of game formula, which typically plays as follows: by starting at the beginning of the stage, going to the end of the stage and defeating a boss, and starting at the beginning of the next stage.
To that end, Tanimura wanted to get rid of that orthodox procedure and provide players with a little more freedom to decide on their own with how they want to conquer the stage. This includes having the boss appear mid-way through and allowing the opportunity to defeat the boss even if you're not at the end of the stage. It also includes things like branching off of certain levels, depending on the concept we want to portray in those levels so that we can give a little more freedom to the player whether the player wants to go left or right, or whether the player wants to fight a certain boss versus another.
In effect, this would break the template of regular game procedures and provide players with infinitely more freedom to progress through the game.