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We have rounded up a few additional articles dedicated to From Software's Dark Souls sequel, starting from this article-style interview on VG247 with Namco Bandai producer Takeshi Miyazoe:
(There were some elements like that in Dark Souls and while Dark Souls 2 won't explain everything to you in fact it will hardly explain anything to you it's about being able to offer that faint light of hope that makes you want to find more information about something and then giving you the tools to do so. Maintaining that mystery is an important part of Dark Souls 2 but it's just about streamlining that process a little bit and reinforcing player choice.)
One area set to benefit from this reinforcement is the notion of role-playing and how that ties to your choice of character class, covenant affiliation and your interaction with other players. Going back recently to the original Dark Souls, I was struck by how far I'd moved away from the class that I'd chosen at the outset of the game and how, one hundred hours later, my initial choice of thief had basically boiled down to having a particularly high dexterity stat. While it's great for my thief to be afforded the freedom to be standing adorned with Ornstein's armour, an Iaito+15 and the Sunlight Shield, it occurred to me that she hadn't done a whole lot of thieving and I felt that that I could have ended up at this point regardless of my starting class.
(So, the classes are a little bit more defined this time around,) Miyazoe confirms. (As you highlight, in Dark Souls you could pick a class and turn it into something different and while we haven't restricted players from playing the way they want to, there is some better definition.
(For example, the dual-wielding class has its own motions, animations and play style, so I don't think anyone would really pick a dual-wielder and play it as a sorcerer. We want to emphasize the role-playing in the game a little bit more, not just in the classes but also in the covenants, which will also promote role-playing a little more.)
PC Gamer goes for the classic Q&A style, though the conversation reads a bit awkardly:
PC Gamer: What are you doing to improve the online side of Dark Souls 2? Will it be easier for friends to find each other, for example?
Tanimura: We want to maintain the (loose) connections with other players in the online space, and will not have any ways of directly playing with friends, but we do understand the requests for a closer connection amongst friends, and so we will add elements such as items to narrow in your co-op partners, and also add voice chat in specific situations.
PC Gamer: Dark Souls' DLC introduced the ability for players to interact with each other using stock phrases. How will players be able to interact this time? Will there be new gestures, or even full voice communication?
Tanimura: The gestures as well as blood messaging will remain in Dark Souls 2 in a very similar way that it was implemented in Dark Souls. Further, as mentioned above, voice chat will also be implemented in very specific situations when playing co-op with other players.
PC Gamer: The DLC also introduced a dedicated PVP arena. Will this be returning, and are you introducing anything new to appeal to PVP players in Dark Souls 2?
Tanimura: There will be dedicated PvP situations, and if you look at some of the screenshots that we have revealed, you will see that there are some with phantoms of the same colour facing each other in battle.
Finally, there's a first impressions video on YouTube from VaatiVidya, well-known by the Dark Souls community for his gameplay and lore analysis videos.