Dark Souls 2 screenshot
Dark Souls 2 screenshot

Namco Bandai and From Software have been accused of misleading consumers with pre-release footage of Dark Souls 2, with higher quality assets and lighting appearing to have been used in earlier "gameplay" footage than those present in the final build.

The scenario raises alarming similarities to last year's Aliens: Colonial Marines controversy, with the earlier footage showcasing noticeably superior graphics to those found in the final console versions.

The differences lead to certain sequences, such as those highlighted in the video below, appearing radically different to their earlier showing. A variety of other comparisons have also been documented by industry forum NeoGAF.

The game is even alleged to have been downgraded since last year's PlayStation 3 beta.

Some fans, of course, argue that Dark Souls 2's impressive gameplay is more important than any "downgrade" in graphics. But while revealing the first gameplay footage with IGN in April 2013, From Software director Yui Tanimura explained the importance of Dark Souls 2's graphics and the emphasis the developer is placing on their implementation in the sequel.

"One of the first things we immediately tried to improve in terms of Dark Souls 2 was the graphic quality of the game," he said. "One thing we really focused on obviously for Dark Souls and more so in Dark Souls 2 is how much you can get deep into the game emotionally and physically, and one of the things we felt was critical to that was the graphical improvements for more reality, more realistic expressions of everything we want to show in the game."

What isn't yet clear is whether the pre-release footage is of the PC version, which is expected to offer "increased texture resolution and an enhanced frame rate option" when it goes on sale next month. That Namco hasn't highlighted further improvements for the PC release, however, such as the improved lighting found in earlier footage, could suggest not.

When contacted earlier today, Namco Bandai told VideoGamer.com that it could not provide comment as it was awaiting a response from From Software.

Dark Souls 2 releases on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 tomorrow, March 14, and on PC on April 25.

Source: neogaf.com, ign.com

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User Comments

tulitikkus's Avatar


Has any one of u complainers actually played the game ??? Caurse it looks *****ing beautifull ^_^ And the gameplay above could just put the lightning a bit up from the settings. And what from said alrdy when they publisht those early trailer, the game was made firstly on the pc sooo yea XD And they sayd as well that the engine was actually build next gen in mind. I must admid on ps3 it isnt as beatufill but beatifull enough. And if these new trailers would have had sucha huge differense they i would say that its false advertising but now .... NAAAH
Posted 19:59 on 17 March 2014
alphafour's Avatar


To be fair the game does look like bumhole compared to what we saw originally.
Posted 19:22 on 17 March 2014
Lalaland's Avatar

Lalaland@ Lojitisks

Hold on, how is it not deceptive to show your game with no caveats and then ship something else entirely? It's especially troubling to me that this is FROM soft doing this as their entire success is down to enthusiastic fans spreading the word. As you say DS fans aren't a graphics first crowd so if they had come out and said 'Sorry lads light/shadow is out' I doubt anyone would have cancelled their pre-order. To have simply cut it out and shipped a dramatically different game is abusing fan faith.

Just because you like a developer does not mean you should give them a pass for deceptive practices. Sony got a lot of abuse for their KZ2 BS (correctly to my mind) for the exact same reason and you could argue they got closer to what was shown than FROM soft have.
Posted 14:35 on 15 March 2014
Lojitisks's Avatar


Honestly I can't believe people are surprised at the differences. the April 2013 demo Graphics and dynamic lighting FX were very likely on a gaming rig put together to showcase the potential of the new engine early on and was never going to achieve the same results on current gen. It's not false advertising, it's them having to cut out chunks of their baby to accomodate outdated consoles.

You could even argue that the importance of graphical quality in the Souls series is completely over-shadowed (pun intended) by the actual content of the games themselves.

I'm still holding out for my steam copy for sure. They haven't highlighted any further points regarding PC graphical optimisation other than better FPS and texture res, but I would say the PC will be looking just as good as the demo in terms of the intense lighting and shadow FX and maybe more..

Enjoy the game for what it is because they haven't just dumbed down some of the FX for consoles, they've re-worked a lot of the game it seems to get the best performance and visual quality possible for such a vast and diverse world and still on current gen, so bigs 'Hats off' to From Soft imo for delivering and producing a clearly incredible game amidst all the hype and anticipation.

Viva la Souls
Posted 13:34 on 14 March 2014
Supra_Hans's Avatar


Hard to argue with that footage, it's a shame but maybe the pc will look a bit sharper - much more tempted to wait now.
Posted 23:18 on 13 March 2014
Lalaland's Avatar


The PC version will be the same as the consoles, the lighting thing was dumped as a mechanic to reintroduce it with the PC version would be to sell two different games almost. Yeah the PC version will run better but pretty much all FROM have promised are resolution settings and textures, a wholly different lighting model is probably expecting too much.
Posted 23:00 on 13 March 2014
EddCoates's Avatar

EddCoates@ alphafour

Well it has more influence than the comments section of a website, let's just say that :)
Posted 22:31 on 13 March 2014
EddCoates's Avatar


To those saying "omg PC tho", we have actually PLAYED a version of the game with the correct lighting and textures on our very own PS3s, so we know it's possible. I also played it at the Eurogamer Expo on a ps3, and it looked considerably prettier than it does in the final release.
Posted 22:30 on 13 March 2014
watur123's Avatar

watur123@ Bloodstorm

The outdated thing is what I said but what I meant by its not out yet is not that PC's can't handle the graphics (Since they all depend on the PC specifically) but that DS2 might not really be made with great textures and stuff but the earlier trailers say otherwise. Can't tell until its out...
Posted 22:13 on 13 March 2014
BritishWolf's Avatar


I think it is misleading to people in a similar way when someone like ubisoft makes a Cg trailer for a game to get people excited. I think people should really get what they are shown
Posted 21:55 on 13 March 2014
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm@ watur123

It will be with updated textures, in other words, the better looking game.

Not fanboying but, there is only so much you can do with out-dated hardware.
Posted 21:44 on 13 March 2014
AGx07's Avatar


It's not that I'm upset about the graphics, it's that they sold me a product I didn't get. If you want to sell me graphics that are worse than the 1st Dark Souls, fine. The game is still good but don't try to sell me lobster and then serve me mudcrab.
Posted 18:58 on 13 March 2014
Zutha's Avatar


How I chuckled. What you expect from a 10 year old piece of hardware? The preview videos may be from the PC version, but it's still "the game" :) Oh I love being a PC gamer.
Posted 18:42 on 13 March 2014
chrishatton's Avatar


This is standard now. Aliens, Watchdogs being the two that spring to mind. They are running on old consoles but that does not give developers the right to create unrealistic preview 'bullshots' Its achieves nothing but pissing off gamers when the actual title releases anyway. Oh and it makes the developers look dodgy for doing it. I think they do it to create buzz for the game but im not sure it pays off in the long run given the bad press that ultimately comes from this practice.
Posted 17:39 on 13 March 2014
guyderman's Avatar


To be honest the graphics on Demons Souls and Dark Souls are not the reason why the games are good. Both games are quite shoddy graphically in many parts, but I'll take great gameplay and atmosphere over graphics any day of the week.
Posted 17:08 on 13 March 2014

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Release Date: 14/03/2014
Developer: FromSoftware
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Genre: Action
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 335 11
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