It's been awhile since we've done a Game Spotlight article so I thought it was time to bring that all back!  We've got a lot of streamers now and our podcast has really taken off.  We play a lot of games but we don't always take a minute to sit back and chat about why we liked them!  That's what the Game Spotlight hopes to capture.  Well, that and to convey what we're playing and enjoying.  

In this revival article we talk to Seifer Arumashi of Neutral impact and IGC's stream and podcast teams to discuss his latest fascination with FromSoftware's Bloodborne.

 

Hey Seifer.  So I've been watching your streams over the past few weeks and you guys had been playing a lot of Bloodborne. Tell me, and everyone else, what attracts you the most about the "Souls-style" games, if I can call 'em that...?

Damn that’s a little tough to narrow down.  One of the things I like most about "Souls games", and believe it to be its core strength, is how everything comes together and compliments each aspect of the gaming experience so well; an aim that many games try to shoot for nowadays.  Far too many seem to miss that mark.  But hmm... if I had to pin down one aspect that has kept true through the Souls titles it would definitely be the tactical combat systems.  I’ve always been a big fan of games that put emphasis on meaningful tactics and strategy, from RTS games like StarCraft and Command & Conquer, grid-based tactic games like Final fantasy tactics, Vanguard bandits, Front Mission 3, or Tactics Ogre, and turn based RPGs like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy titles. Yes, the quick 3rd person action aspect of the Souls games may not be in the same perspective category as the others, but the same emphasis on important consequential tactic outcomes is still present.  Every decision, from roll maneuver to weapon swing to heal opportunity has to be methodically planned and executed in a flawless endurance test or you face an overwhelmingly punishing riposte by the opposition.  Having to fight for your life on every single enemy encounter from sewer rats to ancient dragons, there are no Dynasty Warrior type ‘spin-to-win’ rampages against 1000 trash enemies–every single enemy has the potential to kill you in a few hits, and as a result nothing is handed to you, every inch of progress is earned, and that earned victory through attrition is what I will always remember and keeps me coming back for every new From Software title.

I saw a lot of what you are saying in your playthrough videos.  I had a lot of fun watching both you guys play these on twitch and hitbox because of that.  Particularly, some of the boss battles were just SO brutal too, real nail-biters to watch!  As someone who has only watched from the outside, these games get a lot of buzz for being hard.  How important do you guys think it is for a developer to be self-aware when putting out a game like this?

Mr. Miyazaki himself and other game design leads have stated in interviews and comments that they will always focus on improving the players experience in Souls titles, specifically the need to focus on earned progression and leaving plot stories open for interpretations.  As for developer awareness, I do think it’s important to take customer feedback and implement changes or additions that can amplify player satisfaction and learning opportunities, but never at the expense of the creators original focus or imagination, I’ve seen far too many well-meaning game developers fall victim to the jack of all trades customer appeasement in attempts to increase sales whilst dulling the mastery of a particular content point that attracted their original and supportive fan base… I think the majority of people will be drawn to those who convey unwavering passion through works of creativity, and who genuinely give it their all when doing something they love. If that turns out to only attract a niche audience and that audience can sustain the creators's growth, then trying to cater to a more mainstream audience with sacrifices to original ideals should never be an option in my opinion. 

For sure.  I totally agree that if these are the kinds of games they make and it is sustainable, they should keep on keepin' on.  Why try to fix what isn't broken after all.  On that note, let me ask you‒what was your favorite aspect of the game?

Aside from the token Soul’s style combat, I really enjoyed the parry system overall in this particular title. It’s fast and very appealing visually. Being able to take down a majority of enemies, some bosses included, with just parries looks absolutely badass and really feels great when you get them off in succession without receiving even a scratch. And of course you have to follow up the flawless victory with a /shakes cape emote to remind the corpse to the level of ‘wreaked’ they just received. [laughs]

So... you'd buy a Bloodbourne 2, right? I mean considering all the hours you put in with this one I imagine you would love to sink your teeth into another one.

From Software is one of very, very few developers that I will pre-order games for 6 months+ out from release anymore after "The Great Preorder Burns of 2014". I’ve just recently over the past couple of years decided to stop putting off playing Demon Souls, Dark Souls, and Dark Souls II and play them through to the end, some multiple times, and I got to say the inseparable stigma championed by the general gaming public that Dark souls games are too hard and are for only ‘hardcore gamers’ is a gross mischaracterization.  They aren't so much mentally difficult as they are a learned response to certain situations that takes playtime to develop.  Playtime that many people don’t want to invest.  I wish others would give these games a genuine effort instead of basing game quality on a poorly reviewed take on something outside the author's comfort zone and whom didn't have the time or patience to learn from player mistakes. /end rant. 

You're right, these games aren't for everyone and reviewers definitely bring their biases to the table.  I'm gonna let you go soon but before that, two more questions.  What's next? The Witcher III is right around the corner y'know and while it's not exactly super-hardcore, is it close enough to entice you?  Are you expecting it to gobble up your time like Bloodbourne did?

You know, I never actually got around to playing The Witcher 1 or The Witcher 2, my only experience is a brief story overview and watching a player run through a town inn with a Dwarven NPC yelling “Your mother sucks dwarf cock” over and over as the player passed by him [laughs].  But I have been following the majority of gameplay footage releases for The Witcher 3 and it definitely looks like something I would enjoy. With my speed run attempt at trying to cover 1.5 years of neglected FFXIV content in a month for the 3.0 Heavensward release, Kerbal Space Program’s launch patch, and my 9 month old bundled expansion preorder Destiny’s House of Wolves coming out (don’t remind me why I preordered this crap ..sigh..) I don’t think I’m going to be playing Witcher 3 right away, but soon! Very soon. Or in 7 months during Steam’s winter sale, I don’t know, STOP PRESSURING ME TO BUY MORE SHIT GREY! [laughs]

Sorry!  I just wanted to ask because it is being super-hyped as Game of the Year before most have even gotten their hands on it!

 

That concludes this Game Spotlight!  I hope you enjoyed reading Seifer's love for Bloodborne!  Stay here for a look at Windward in the coming days.  Until then, game on folks.

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