When Atlus published Demon’s Souls in October 2009, few expected the game’s blend of gorgeous graphics and incredibly difficult dungeon crawling gameplay to become a runaway hit, but the game immediately struck a chord with hardcore gamers for whom modern fantasy games are simply too easy. Critics adored the game’s brash, take-no-prisoners attitude, while players loved that they finally had a game that “realistically” depicted the harsh reality of a single human fighting endless legions of eldritch horrors. For the past two years Demon’s Souls (and its more recent spiritual sequel Dark Souls) has been the high water mark for truly dedicated (or masochistic) gamers looking for a real challenge.
As with all good things however, that’s about to come to an end.
On Thursday, Atlus issued a press release stating that the PlayStation 3 game’s servers would be taken offline at midnight on May 31. Though players will still be able to experience the game’s sizable offline content, the lack of functional servers will render the game’s online feature set (which includes periodic shifts in global monster strength, the ability to leave in-game hints for other players, and rare instances in which the game’s loot drops become incredibly lucrative) non-functional.
Fans of the game will recall that this is not the first time Atlus has promised to shutter Demon’s Souls servers. The publisher had originally planned to drop online support in October of 2011, but thanks to unexpected fan outcry, the company postponed the closure by seven months. Those hoping for a similar extension this time however, will be saddened to hear that Atlus is unwilling to offer a second extension. “Regretfully, there are no developments that would alter the current plan for the servers to shut down at the end of May 31,” an Atlus representative wrote on the company’s official Twitter account.
Though this news is depressing for those who have grown to love the unexpected hit, fans still have options. As stated above, the game’s offline content will remain available to anyone who owns a PS3 and a copy of the game, and those desperate for online perks can always pick up a copy of Dark Souls on either Sony’s console, the Xbox 360 or in its upcoming, enhanced PC iteration. It’s not an exact sequel per se, but the gameplay basics and insane difficulty level remain intact.