Dark Souls is such an influential series that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of titles out there directly inspired by it. Games like Salt and Sanctuary, Hollow Knight, and Blasphemous all took the Dark Souls formula and adapted it into Metroidvanias, but it turns out one developer of the latter actually helped pitch a 2D Metroidvania version of Dark Souls 3 to Bandai Namco over 6 years ago.
Revealed by Thomas Feichtmeir on Twitter – a pixel art consultant that worked on Blasphemous – a 2D pixel art Metroidvania reimagining of Dark Souls 3 was rejected by franchise owner Bandai Namco. Feichtmeir also explains that the NDA on the project finally expired today, and gave fans a look at a screenshot of what the game would've looked like.
The screenshot shows the players struggling to take down the Dancer of the Boreal Valley boss fight seen towards the back end of the game. The UI is typical Dark Souls, with weapons and Estus in the top right and health, stamina, and magic in the top left of the screen. There's also an intimidatingly long health bar along the bottom of the screen too.
Since Feichtmeir just created the art for the pitch, they don't really know why the pitch was rejected. They do reveal that it was solely Bandai Namco that made the decision since it owns the franchise though, and that FromSoftware had little to no say in the matter. It would've made quite a lot of sense had the project gone ahead though, given the popularity of Dark Souls and future Metroidvanias like Dead Cells, Hollow Knight, Death's Gambit, and many, many more.
Unfortunately for Dark Souls fans, this project never really got off the ground, but at least we got a glimpse at what could've been.
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