Dark Souls 2 director Tanimura on next-gen physics, covenants, familiar faces

Dark Souls 2 director Yui Tanimura would look to focus on physics rather than graphics for a next-gen Souls game, should that ever happen. Speaking to Joystiq at publisher Namco Bandai's Tokyo headquarters, Tanimura talked about potentially implementing a next-gen physics engine for a purely hypothetical Dark Souls game on Xbox One or PlayStation 4.

"In terms of graphics, all the consoles have already reached the maximum level. From [my] point of view, there's not that [much] difference among the consoles when it comes to graphics," Tanimura told us, when asked about what he'd want to do with a next-gen Dark Souls that wasn't Dark Souls 2 (the available translator referred to Tanimura in the third-person during our interview).

Tanimura would want to pay more attention to the physics engine: "In order to implement a physics engine, we'd need more machine power and more CPU power. That can only become possible if we were to create a game for the, for example, PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. So that's something [I'd] personally be paying attention to if [I was] to create another [Dark Souls] title for the PS4 or Xbox One."
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Dark Souls 2 (TGS 2013)

There's the small matter of Dark Souls 2 in the meantime, and the question of whether or not it'll come to next-gen consoles when or after it arrives on March 11, 2014. That aside, the launch date announcement suggests things are on schedule, and developer From Software is well prepared for next month's beta, set to help the studio iron out network bugs and tweak sever functionality.

Apart from that, Tanimura told us From is especially interested in seeing where players die in the beta, and how they'll use the different covenants available to them, the latter an aspect From is tinkering with in the sequel. As per the first Dark Souls, covenants are factions players can align with, gaining effects that manifest on the online side of the experience.

Pledging an oath with 'The Way of Blue' covenant, for example, automatically calls a blue phantom sentinel to the player's side whenever they're invaded. Meanwhile, another covenant will let you become the blue sentinel itself, called to other players' sides. Of course, there'll be covenants that will help with invading other players, for those itching to get in the way of others' progress.

As the beta approaches, we're starting to get a clearer idea of how Dark Souls 2 works, especially after spending some time (and plenty of lives) with an early preview - we'll have more on that later this week. One aspect that remains murky is how the second game ties to the first. We know they co-exist in the same universe, unlike Demon's Souls and Dark Souls, but what does that mean in practice? Will we see any familiar faces in Dark Souls 2?

"We're not going to go into the details at this moment," Tanimura told us, "But there might be some characters or places that showed up in Dark Souls 1 and also appear in Dark Souls 2."

Praise the sun! Maybe.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.