Everything we’ve seen of the Demon’s Souls remake so far suggests it could be the best PS5 launch game, and one of the best games of 2020, but it’s what we haven’t seen of the remake that is worrying some long-time fans.
A modder named Lance McDonald has been combing through leaked files related to the upcoming Demon’s Soul remake and recently revealed that it appears the upcoming remake will not restore Demon’s Souls infamous Sixth Archstone or add any new content related to it. In fact, it sounds like the Demon’s Souls remake’s file structure is fairly similar to the original game. That could mean that many of the enemy and item placements (as well as certain level design aspects) will be identical to what we saw in the original.
What is the Sixth Archstone? Well, in Demon’s Souls, Archstones are what take you from The Nexus hub area to the game’s various levels and worlds. There are five usable Archstones in the base game, but The Nexus also featured a broken sixth Archstone that was supposed to lead to a realm known as “The Northern Limit.” While there was a lore-based reason why the Archstone didn’t work, the behind-the-scenes explanation was that the From Software intended to make it functional in the final game but ran out of time/resources.
In various recent interviews, members of the Bluepoint Games team (the studio developing the Demon’s Souls remake) have confirmed that the Sixth Archstone will remake broken in the remake. They’ve also hinted that there will be surprises in the game, but they stop short of saying what, exactly, those surprises will be. The only significant piece of new content they’ve detailed thus far (beyond visual and mechanical improvements) is a Fractured Mode that’s basically a mirror image of the original map (a mode was also referenced in McDonald’s leaks). Whether or not the remake will feature things like new enemies, new events, and altered placements in the base game remains uncertain.
Why do some fans feel like this is a big deal? Well, their reaction is likely based on expectations set by the sometimes confusing divide between “Remake” and “Remaster.”
Remakes like Resident Evil 2, Final Fantasy 7, and Metroid: Samus Returns actually introduced quite a bit of new content. In the case of Resident Evil 2 and Final Fantasy 7, the remakes honestly felt like entirely new games. As we see more and more remakes of that nature, there’s a growing belief that a remake isn’t just defined by new a new visual engine and some modernization alterations but by the new content it introduces.
Demon’s Souls will feature content not seen in the original game (such as Fractured Mode, new animations, new filters, and improved controls), but the possibility it won’t feature new worlds, new bosses, new enemies, new placements, or perhaps even the sometimes controversial topic of optional difficult settings does disappoint some fans who feel that this game may be more appealing to those who never played Demon’s Souls the first time around rather than those who know it well.
Having said that, it’s worth reiterating that the Demon’s Souls remake looks absolutely stunning, so far, and will likely prove to be the absolute best way to play one of From Software’s best games. While we’re waiting to get our hands on the final version of the game, your reaction to it may greatly depend on your expectations for it.