Dark Souls 3 leaks are coming thick and fast, and with a rumoured release window of early 2016, we've put together a wishlist of eight things we'd love to see introduced in the third entry to the challenging RPG franchise.
More fluid combat
The Souls series' spiritual successor, Bloodborne, overhauled combat to produce a much more action-oriented experience. What used to be a steady, almost turn-based setup became a fluid dance as players pivoted around and poured bullets into enemies. It was incredible.
While Dark Souls 3 needs to stick with its approach to combat, and keep the classic sword-and-shield mechanic, it needs to improve how characters can move around in a fight in order to increase the pace of the action. The mechanics limited players when up against more than one foe, but taking the pivot motion from Bloodborne and applying it here could work wonders.
Also, being able to shove enemies with your shield while running would be a nice addition. Much like the way the kick has worked in previous Souls games, a Spartan-style shield barge could help knock over multiple enemies, allowing for a quick execution of downed opponents. While shield attacks have been in previous games, having more ways to attack with it would help make us feel less defensive.
More execution animations
Landing a parry and pulling off an execution is one of the most satisfying moments in Dark Souls. Unfortunately, we've only been able to enjoy a few animations, meaning the thrill quickly falls away, replaced with monotony. Introducing a wide variety of kill animations, like The Witcher 3's beheadings, backstabs and stomach slices, could make those skill-kills all the more rewarding.
New ways to explore the world
While there is technically a jump button in Souls, having to run before double tapping said button again is little more than cumbersome and inelegant. Dark Souls 3 needs a dedicated jump button and the ability for your character to grab and climb up ledges or walls. Giving players new ways to traverse the wonderfully-detailed environments would open up new possibilities.
I'm aware near-Uncharted levels of exploration may not appeal to all Souls fans, but these new platforming elements don't have to tie into the core game. These can be offshoot moments littered throughout the game that balance risk with reward. Imagine a chest found at the end of a series of giant pillars, each one further from the last. You must decide whether to risk jumping across to find whatever treasures lie inside, or carry on to the next boss.
Hide items in those pots
Can the developers finally give us a reason to smash all those damn pots? We all do it. We clear every single room of crockery in the vain hope that just one will contain an Estus Flask Shard, hardly ever to any avail. Let it be third time lucky, for the pottery industry's sake.
Bring back Dark Souls' creativity
Dark Souls 2 relied on fan nostalgia in many boss fights in an attempt to recreate iconic moments, but ventured too far into frustration by simply throwing three of the same enemy into the foray, creating forgettable moments. I wrote an alternative opinion of Dark Souls 2 about its lack of creativity, and hope that the third game represents design as refreshing as the first entry. We don't need nostalgia, we need new enemies with hand lasers, giant axes, poison wings and ooze-spitting barnacles. Make it happen.
It needs to be a mechanically perfect at 60 FPS
A big ask, but seeing Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin run at a smooth 60 FPS, coupled with Bloodborne's occasional framerate hiccups disrupting the flow of combat, highlights how important a smooth gameplay experience is to Souls' combat. Having framerate dips at crucial moments in boss fights is brain-melting, and needs to be ironed out in Dark Souls 3.
We also need as few mechanical issues as possible. Of course, every game, especially those as large as the Souls franchise, will have hiccups, but having entire boss fights that can be gamed with simple techniques becomes anticlimactic. This generation has struggled with framerates thus far, a major disappointment, but let From Software buck the trend.
Fewer weapons and armour, with bigger branching paths
Bloodborne did so much with so few weapons that it showed the Souls games could cut back the arsenal and still be utterly enjoyable. Souls players tended to stick to one or two weapons in their games and rarely strayed from those they trusted (just look at Dark Souls' Drake Sword). If the list of weapons was smaller, but players had more ways to customise and upgrade them, it would make the experience just as deep and rewarding.
Let me weaponise shields, imbue swords with any form of magic or elemental effects I choose and beef up armour sets with status boosts how I see fit.
Let me pay souls to create a warp point
Bonfire teleporting in Dark Souls 2 became a useful tool for zipping back and forth to upgrade your character, interact with NPCs, and revisit old grounds. But I'd also happily sacrifice up to half of my potential soul earnings if it meant I could create a warp point just outside of a boss room. Having the choice to create a temporary, one-use bonfire near key locations to avoid the slog back following a quick death would save time, frustration and many a rage quit.