Imagine a a dystopian future where From Software is bought out by a Western developer and Souls was subsequently dumbed-down to reach a wider audience. What would this new game play like?
It would have linear levels only, regular checkpoints that activate automatically, a checkpoint before every boss. Or be totally open world with no real level design at all. Damage scaling would be a universal property of the character’s stats rather than a unique property of each weapon. Weapons would all have the same moves within a given category and have clear upgrades from worse to better weapons. The classes you pick at the beginning of the game would probably determine which categories of weapons/armor even drop and your abilities like spellcasting and roll speed for the rest of the game. You’d be able to sell all the items you pick up for decent amounts of souls. All combat encounters would be with individual enemies or small groups of weak enemies. The level design would be hallways connecting larger rooms with enemies in them. If the game was nonlinear in any way, you could teleport between every checkpoint. It would have a central hub for leveling up and other functions yet again. No hidden bonus areas. You’d have more health and estus flasks. Weapons could attack faster on average. Quest page of your inventory and objective markers. The tutorial would pause you for overlay messages as you enter certain areas, so as to explain things, and restart you at the tutorial checkpoint if you don’t follow instructions. Talking to NPCs would pause the game and put you in a cutscene. There would finally be pause when you enter the menus. Easy mode/difficulty slider adjustable at any time in the menu. Ability to summon people at any time from your console’s friends menu and turn off invasions in the menu as well. Randomly generated loot. Explain more of the story up front, have more characters congratulate the main character for their triumphs over evil and tell them what they need to do next. Include more cutscenes, especially for when you finish off a boss, or encountering NPCs. Play music all the time, not just during boss fights. More invincibility on rolls. More NPCs, town/village areas, branching dialogue choices, a voiced protagonist, a codex that explains the lore. Crafting. A group enemy AI that prevents multiple enemies from attacking at once. Leave covenants exactly the way they were in dark souls 1. Have bonfires function as save points rather than checkpoints and let people load to them, undoing anything that happened to them after they left.
It would finally cease to be artificially difficult.
And this video doesn’t do a half bad job of showing what that could look like:
A friend also said it would be Lords of the Fallen, in a rather literal sense.