Could RPGs be made Souls-like?

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Recently, I tried Dark Souls 1 and 2 for a little bit. Maybe I just don’t have the patience or the skill to play the games well, so I didn't continue. But I am fascinated watching youtubers grind through them (and Bloodborne). They and quite a lot of fans seem to enjoy these games immensely. I had more fun watching them play then actually playing the games myself. Then I read about the designer Hidetaka who had a pretty bad childhood, which inspired him to make dark souls the way it is. It’s got me pretty interested in the souls games. So I was wondering if its design principles could be applied to JRPGs?

From what I gather, I believe a “Souls-like” game has these characteristics:

1. The game is extremely difficult…but fair, which is the consensus among reviewers. I assume that means the player is given the necessary tools but mistakes are punished severely.

2. The story is deliberately obtuse and never told directly. The player needs to piece it together by say reading item descriptions and inferring from dialogs.

3. The mood is generally depressing and dark, with the theme of suffering being a central component. Paradoxically, many people report experiencing catharsis after playing and supposedly the games even helped prevent suicides.

So, one, do you enjoy these types of games? Two, how would you utilize these design principles? Three, what are some RPGs that you think have successfully used these principles?
 

TheouAegis

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Fear & Hunger, a rpgmaker game, has been compared to Soul games by many people.

From my point of view, i think, if it was not because super awesome bosses design and the game's graphic in general, Souls wouldn't make it as it would currently.
 

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Hello! I have actually been inspired by the Dark Souls series as I have been addicted to them these past few years. xD :D (Dark Souls 2, 3, and even Bloodborne)! I am in no way good at them, but I was immediately hooked by it's mysterious way of story-telling, and I love this dark haunting (sometimes beautiful) feeling the games give off... The games are indeed hard, but I enjoyed 'em regardless, especially when you can rely on other people online for help in fighting bosses you're stuck with.

As for translating it to RPG Maker, I have actually made a game once for a Seasonal type of game jam in RMN for the theme of Autumn, and it is inspired by my experiences with the Souls series... The game is called "Tall Tales of Fall" which you can find in my sig. ^_^ Not sure if its exactly as souls-like gameplay-wise (it is quite difficult though) or utilized its souls-likeness successfully, but the mysterious story-telling, atmosphere and the way I incorporated lore in an unknown world via items, NPC's and such are definitely Dark Souls inspired. xD :D Though I did still mix in a lot of JRPG elements to it like it being Turn-Based, elemental properties and whatnot. ;)

Additionally, there are indeed some popular souls-like horror RPGs like Throne by Deficiency Productions and Fear and Hunger by Happy Paintings... Now, those so far are what I would call pure RPG Souls-like, since they have overall dark atmosphere mixed in with some grotesque images... I do love em. They have creepy horror elements and have strong Souls-like feeling to em. And they're amazing! <3
 
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Anything that’s remotely difficult can be considered a “soul-like” nowadays.
No


Any game can be hard but not all games can be tagged as "Soul-like".
It has to meet a certain definition, otherwise, we are talking about a different game.
 

yournamehere

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No


Any game can be hard but not all games can be tagged as "Soul-like".
It has to meet a certain definition, otherwise, we are talking about a different game.
I don't think it matters what the official terminology refers to (is there even an official classification that's consistent across all platforms, without exceptions?). It matters how people actually use the term. The fundamental core of that Metro article was about responding to a prevailing debate among gamers (or at least prevalent enough to spark a "long line of people [trying to] define the "souls-like") as to its meaning.

Prescriptive language ideals don't dictate how language itself functions. If millions of people want to redefine the word "literally" to mean "figuratively", the dictionary itself is going to change.
 

TheoAllen

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Prescriptive language ideals don't dictate how language itself functions. If millions of people want to redefine the word "literally" to mean "figuratively", the dictionary itself is going to change.
Exactly, now what does "souls-like" in this context?
The term was born because of the people. And they define what made a game, souls-like.
You are not going to call "Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy" a souls-like game, because it isn't.

Now, because we discuss something around this terminology, we should at least agree on what defines it before proceeding. Because people may have different perspectives. I'm suggesting that "this is what defines souls-like game". If the OP or you disagree, then go define yours. Either you or I could accept either definition then proceed to the actual discussion based on the described term.
 

yournamehere

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Exactly, now what does "souls-like" in this context?
The term was born because of the people. And they define what made a game, souls-like.
You are not going to call "Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy" a souls-like game, because it isn't.

Now, because we discuss something around this terminology, we should at least agree on what defines it before proceeding. Because people may have different perspectives. I'm suggesting that "this is what defines souls-like game". If the OP or you disagree, then go define yours. Either you or I could accept either definition then proceed to the actual discussion based on the described term.
While I see your point that I personally wouldn't call "Getting Over It" a souls-like, I also don't personally categorize it as an actual game. It's more of a social experiment in game form. That's why the ending
was literally just a chat full of people who'd actually arrived at the top

In the article, they were arguing over Nioh's classification as a soulslike. A lot of people use the nomenclature to refer to games that are brutally difficult but also include combat. Others say the game in question has to have dark scenery or themes. Some say the game has to be story-rich but pieced together by the player in the background. My point is that the classification varies. The only seemingly universally agreed upon trait, from what I've gathered, is that the game has to be insanely hard.

Video games, along with genres themselves, can often get more than a little murky. It puts me in mind of the joke in one of Scott the Woz's latest videos, where they're arguing about what counts as an RPG. Some people argue web browser games aren't actually video games, while others disagree.

Though the initial statement may have been hyperbolic and perhaps a bit simplistic, I think it's a valid point to be made and a common joke in response to both difficulty in classification and the sheer number of cloned ideas within the game industry.

I'm not sure what us agreeing on specific definitions would accomplish when my point is that it doesn't matter whether you or I personally believe a game should be classified in a certain way. It only matters that it can.
 

TheoAllen

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I'm not sure what us agreeing on specific definitions would accomplish when my point is that it doesn't matter whether you or I personally believe a game should be classified in a certain way. It only matters that it can.
It accomplishes something. Because we know that we are talking about the same thing. It doesn't matter if you have another definition or belief. Or at least, I don't care what is yours. I don't care enough to change your point of view.

In case you forgot, I was replying to someone who just said "anything difficult is souls-like". In that case, a topic like this is also suitable. It should be difficult, but it can't be only just that. There must be something else (rogue-like is also hard). The OP already defined their definition on souls-like, so we could go with that and how to translate that to RPG Maker. I don't have to personally agree with that, but I can humor them. Not going off-topic, like, for example, "just make it ultra-difficult".
 

yournamehere

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It accomplishes something. Because we know that we are talking about the same thing. It doesn't matter if you have another definition or belief. Or at least, I don't care what is yours. I don't care enough to change your point of view.

In case you forgot, I was replying to someone who just said "anything difficult is souls-like". In that case, a topic like this is also suitable. It should be difficult, but it can't be only just that. There must be something else (rogue-like is also hard). The OP already defined their definition on souls-like, so we could go with that and how to translate that to RPG Maker. I don't have to personally agree with that, but I can humor them. Not going off-topic, like, for example, "just make it ultra-difficult".
Not is. Can be considered nowadays. What we are talking about is classification itself and social commentary. At least, that's the impression I was under.
 

TheoAllen

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Not is. Can be considered nowadays. What we are talking about is classification itself and social commentary. At least, that's the impression I was under.
Then you're going out of topic. Because we are not talking about it on this topic.
 

yournamehere

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Then you're going out of topic. Because we are not talking about it on this topic.
OP wrote a post about making rpgs "souls-like" and then defined what they determined souls-like to mean and the commenter responded that needing it to be something other than difficult for a game to be considered souls-like is a fallacy.

You said nuh uh. I said yuh-huh. That is the extent of this conversation. If that's not on topic... Then I don't know what is.
 

TheoAllen

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If that's not on topic... Then I don't know what is.
This...
So, one, do you enjoy these types of games? Two, how would you utilize these design principles? Three, what are some RPGs that you think have successfully used these principles?

Honestly, because I don't have anything to contribute (I don't enjoy souls-like games), I was planning to just let it go and watch from afar and see the discussion if anyone would want to continue, but then you come and quoted me, so I'm here.

You know what, I will just do that.
 

yournamehere

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This...


Honestly, because I don't have anything to contribute (I don't enjoy souls-like games), I was planning to just let it go and watch from afar and see the discussion if anyone would want to continue, but then you come and quoted me, so I'm here.

You know what, I will just do that.
That's fair enough. And I may be wrong. But I believed that commenting on the legitimacy of the building blocks of the discussion, namely "From what I gather, I believe a “Souls-like” game has these characteristics:" and "Could RPGs be made Souls-like?" was on topic as well.
 

Milennin

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I've played the first game, and still don't get why it's treated so differently from other games with high difficulty. I don't count a game with high, but fair difficulty as a "Souls-like" game. You'd have to copy over the mechanics and all to get there, but that's not going to happen in a turn-based setting. You could just make an RPG Maker game that's fair but difficult, however. It'd be more like a puzzle game than a traditional RPG.
 

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