Dark Souls 3 DLC release date, trailer and news: Ashes of Ariandel comes out early today

24/10/16: Looking forward to die repeatedly with the official launch of Dark Souls 3‘s first DLC? Good news. You can now play Ashes of Ariandel a day early. An error saw the DLC released ahead of schedule last Friday for Xbox One, and so Bandai Namcom has changed its plans.

“Due to a logistical error, the Dark Souls III Ashes of Ariandel DLC was made available for download for a short period of time for Xbox One players,” Bandai told Gamespot. “We have since corrected this scheduling error and the Dark Souls III Ashes of Ariandel DLC will now be available on October 24, 2016 at 3 PM PDT for Steam players and October 24, 2016 at 9 PM PDT for console players. We regret any confusion this may have caused to players and Dark Souls III fans; we look forward to seeing everyone within the world of Ariandel.”

That means UK players will get Ashes of Ariandel on Steam at 11pm tonight, and on consoles at 5am tomorrow morning.   

10/10/16: Dark Souls 3 players are gearing up for the release of the game’s first DLC, Ashes of Ariandel. Since its announcement, Dark Soul’s creators have billed the pair of incoming expansions as “the final episode” in the series. A recent interview with Polygon has thrown further light on what this means for the future of From Software’s involvement in the Dark Souls universe.

After asking Dark Souls 3 director Hidetaka Miyazaki, if the DLC signals the conclusion of the series, he reportedly responded with an affirmative “Yes”, before tapering this by saying the franchise could return further down the line.

“It’s time to move away from the Dark Souls franchise,” Miyazaki said. “As president of From Software, I’m not completely denying the possibility of bringing back the franchise in the future. There could be someone else in my company who wants to work on new installments. But we believe that the series will end after the two DLC.” 

It seems that, for the time being at least, Dark Souls is being put to rest after Dark Souls 3’s two pieces of DLC. Instead of a continuation of the series, Miyazaki hinted that HD remakes of older Souls games could be released for newer consoles. He also said that, just because he wasn’t working on another Dark Souls game, he’s still interested in making new projects with a similar atmosphere and gameplay style. 

“I’m not saying I won’t work on a Dark Souls-like game or a dark fantasy game,” he said. “We’d like to carry over some of the good things from the franchise to new products. As new technology is introduced, we would like to take what we learned from Dark Souls and use it in future IP.”

If the excellent Bloodborne is anything to go on, we can’t wait to see what Miyazaki and co rustle up next. dark_souls_3_dlc_ashes

24/08/2016: Dark Souls 3 is a masterclass in nebulous world building, and its collection of nightmarish vistas is set of expand on 25 October with the game’s first piece of DLC – Ashes of Ariandel.

A launch trailer for the DLC shows a snowy world, with self-flagellating monsters, axe-wielding warriors and packs of wolves. There’s nothing in the way of information about why your character is there, but Bandai Namco explains that your time will be spent uncovering “a terrible secret that lies within an unnamed frozen land”. That, and dying a lot.

“Players are tasked to enter this new world and defeat the evil within and uncover the mystery of what has caused the land to become defiled,” the description reads. “In addition to adding a new environment to DARK SOULS III, the DARK SOULS III: Ashes of Ariandel expansion will also include new weapons, armour sets, and magic for players to discover and experiment with, as well as new features for the game’s wildly popular competitive multiplayer mode.”

As Gamespot points out, there are more than a few interesting nods to Dark Souls 1’s Painted World of Ariamis. Like that area, the DLC is based in a wintery landscape and has an enemy that looks like The Painted Worlds’ crow demon. There’s also concept art for a character called “painter”.

Dark Souls 3 frequently overlapped with Dark Souls 1, so a connection is certainly a possibility. We’ll know for sure when the DLC launches on 25 October for PS4, Xbox One and PC.


11/07/2016: A number of interview with Dark Souls 3 director Hidetaka Miyazaki have cropped up over the past week, with the developer talking a bit about his thoughts on the series and the successes and failures of its final entry.

While not giving anything substantial away about the Dark Souls 3’s two pieces of DLC, he has reiterated that the first will arrive at in the autumn of 2016, with the second scheduled for early 2017. Speaking to Kotaku, he said that the first DLC will feature with “a new area, enemies, gear, and story”, and the location will “offer a different feel from Dark Souls 3”.

Elsewhere in the same interview, Miyazaki hinted that announcements of new From Software games will be incoming. Asked whether his position as president of the company would incentivise him to take fewer risks with future games, Miyazaki made it clear that taking risks is central to his studio’s strategy.

“If we avoided risks, we wouldn’t have positioned this game to be a turning point in the series and an end to the current storyline,” he told Kotaku. “I believe the new projects we will be announcing will show our stance and direction we’re headed to.”

Miyazaki has been candid about what elements did and didn’t work in Dark Souls 3. In an interview with Gamespot, he spoke in particular about his thoughts on the areas in the game, which, unlike Dark Souls 1, don’t connect into a single, coherent map.

“I believe the maps we prepared are well-suited for exploration considering that the size of the map is much larger and dimensional than before,” he told the site. “But, I also feel that the way the maps connected to each other was a bit weak, narrowing the level of freedom in relation to the order in which players could face the game.”

Dark Soul 3: Armoured Core?

Miyazaki has previously said that his involvement in Dark Souls is over and that he has already begun work on a new IP. “What is certain for now is, to me personally, Dark Souls is over,” said the director in an interview with Taiwanese site GNN Gamer, translated by NeoGAF. “So, rather than make another sequel, I think it’s time we take a step [in] a new direction. Development of a new IP has already begun.”

In the same interview, Miyazaki hinted that he’s like to return to the mecha gaming of From Software’s Armoured Core series. “Armored Core is one of the pillars of From Software’s lineup, but I can’t reveal anything at the moment,” he said. “Personally, I want to do it. After all I was involved in three games in the series.”

Replacing knights and pyromancers with giant, gun-wielding robots would be an interesting change in tone and pace for a From Software game. Instead of treading through decades of obtuse Armored Core history, however, it would be good to see From Software hit the reset on the series and approach it with a fresh slate. If Bloodborne is anything to go by, I’d be very interested to see how Miyazaki will bring his talent for level design and architectural storytelling to a new universe.


Dark Souls 3: Reviews

The Telegraph ­– 5/5

“While the original Dark Souls remains a legendary game, Dark Souls 3 is a worthy successor to the name. Where Dark Souls 2 felt like a step off the beaten track in terms of design, Dark Souls 3 ties all the iconic conventions that the series is known for in grand fashion, even if it all feels rather familiar.”

IGN – 9.5

“While not all the risky changes land as neatly as others, Dark Souls 3 is a powerful journey and the sequel the series truly deserves.”

Polygon – 7.0

“In so many important ways – its world design, its pacing, the technology powering it — Dark Souls 3 falls short of the mark. Do you play for the joy and stress of exploring dangerous, intricately crafted places full of hidden elements and endless side paths? Then I suspect you’ll join me in being a little let down with the direction this sequel has gone in.”

Eurogamer – Essential 

“Is it the finest Souls game yet? I don’t know; it might be. I can say this, though: Dark Souls 3 is a fabulous game, and a fitting conclusion to the greatest trilogy of modern times.”

Rock, Paper, Shotgun – Not scored

“If this were to be the final Souls game, I’d be happy to say goodbye. It’s not quite the crowning achievement of the series, but it’s a fantastically inventive and fluid interpretation of the formula. And perhaps that would make it a great first Souls game for somebody new to the series as well.”

Gamespot – 8/10

“By and large, your growth is respected. It’s that thread – that near constant sense of progress – that leads to Dark Souls 3’s greatest moments. We create our travellers. We make them stronger, faster, more resilient, turning them into fighters as we, too, learn the intricacies of this foreboding world.”

Dark Souls 3: Is this the final Souls game?

In an interview with Gamespot, Souls creator Hidetaka Miyazaki laid out his future plans for the Souls series – or the lack thereof:

“I don’t think it’d be the right choice to continue indefinitely creating Souls and Bloodborne games,” he said. “I’m considering Dark Souls 3 to be the big closure on the series. That’s not just limited to me, but FromSoftware and myself together want to aggressively make new things in the future. Dark Souls 3 will mark the last game where the development project began before I became president.”

That’s pretty clear, although it doesn’t write off future Souls games completely – rather, it shows that Miyazaki and co are intent on breaking out of a Souls-shaped pigeonhole, at least for the time being.

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Power to them. Miyazaki is a master of game design, and it’ll be great to see him working on something entirely new. Intriguingly, in the same interview, Miyazaki hinted that Dark Souls 3 could suggest the future direction of FromSoftware’s next game:

“The next title will be a game that was conceived while I was president. I believe that FromSoftware has to create new things. There will be new types of games coming from us, and Dark Souls 3 is an important marker in the evolution of FromSoftware.”

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