Do We Need a Soulslike Genre? | Game Maker's Toolkit

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Do We Need a Soulslike Genre? | Game Maker's Toolkit 5

The rise of games inspired by Dark Souls has led some to suggest that Dark Souls invented a whole new genre of games. In this video, lets look at the ramifications of turning a game into a genre.

Sources / Further Reading

Nioh Suggests That Dark Souls Actually Invented a New Genre | Waypoint

Berling Interpretation | Rogue Basin

Screw the Berlin Interpretation! | Darren Grey

Picture in a Frame | Amr Al-Aaser on Medium

Metroidvania List | VG Musuem

Did we make a Metroidvania? | Two Tribes

The Lost Soul Arts of Demon's Souls | Matthewmatosis

Bloodborne: You are the experience points (origin of “action warm-ups”) | Gamasutra

Games shown in this episode (in order of appearance)

Lords of the Fallen (Deck13 Interactive and CI Games, 2014)
The Surge (Deck13 Interactive, 2017)
Nioh (Team Ninja, 2017)
Salt and Sanctuary (Ska Studios, 2016)
Death’s Gambit (White Rabbit, 2018)
Wolfenstein 3D (id Software, 1992)
DOOM (id Software, 1993)
PowerSlave (Lobotomy Software, 1996)
Heretic (Raven Software, 1994)
Star Wars: Dark Forces (LucasArts, 1995)
Duke Nukem 3D (3D Realms, 1996)
Half-Life (Valve Corporation, 1998)
Unreal (Epic Games, 1998)
GoldenEye 007 (Rare, 1997)
SiN (Ritual Entertainment, 1998)
System Shock 2 (Looking Glass Studios, 1999)
Dark Souls (From Software, 2011)
Rogue (A.I. Design, 1980)
NetHack (The NetHack DevTeam, 1987)
Moria (Robert Alan Koeneke and Jimmey Wayne Todd, 1988)
Angband (Angband Development Team, 1990)
Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer (Chunsoft, 1995)
DOOM (id Software, 2016)
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Infinity Ward, 2007)
Superhot (SUPERHOT Team, 2013)
Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios, 2015)
BioShock (Irrational Games, 2007)
Devil Daggers (Sorath, 2016)
Tales of Maj'Eyal (Raymond Gaustadnes and Nicolas Casalini, 2012)
Flinthook (Tribute Games, 2017)
Crypt of the NecroDancer (Brace Yourself Games, 2015)
FTL: Faster Than Light (Subset Games, 2012)
Spelunky (Derek Yu, 2012)
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Retro Studios, 2014)
Nuclear Throne (Vlambeer, 2015)
Strafe (Pixel Titans, 2017)
Invisible, Inc. (Klei Entertainment, 2015)
Enter the Gungeon (Dodge Roll, 2016)
Monolith (Team D-13, 2017)
GoNNER (Art in Heart, 2017)
Don't Starve (Klei Entertainment, 2013)
Rogue Legacy (Cellar Door Games, 2013)
Hyper Light Drifter (Heart Machine, 2016)
Darksiders (Vigil Games, 2010)
Ittle Dew 2 (Ludosity AB, 2016)
Rime (Tequila Works, 2017)
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP (Capybara Games, 2011)
Okami (Clover Studio, 2006)
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (Nicalis / Edmund McMillen, 2014)
868-Hack (Michael Brough, 2013)
Downwell (Moppin, 2015)
Axiom Verge (Thomas Happ, 2015)
Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (Konami, 2001)
Song of the Deep (Insomniac Games, 2016)
Super Metroid (Nintendo, 1994)
Hollow Knight (Team Cherry, 2017)
Shadow Complex (Chair Entertainment, 2009)
Guacamelee (Drinkbox Studios, 2013)
Ori and the Blind Forest (Moon Studios, 2015)
Toki Tori 2+ (Two Tribes, 2013)
Blaster Master (Sunsoft, 1988)
Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap (Westone, 1989)
Deus Ex (Ion Storm, 2000)
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (Eidos Montreal, 2016)
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Eidos Montreal, 2011)
Thief: The Dark Project (Looking Glass Studios, 1998)
Demon's Souls (FromSoftware, 2009)
Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss (Blue Sky Productions, 1992)
Dishonored 2 (Arkane Studios, 2016)
Prey (Arkane Studios, 2017)
Hitman (iO Interactive, 2016)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo, 2017)
LawBreakers (Boss Key Productions, 2017)
Overwatch (Blizzard Entertainment, 2016)
Team Fortress 2 (Valve Corporation, 2007)
Dark Souls III (From Software, 2016)
Let It Die (Grasshopper Manufacture, 2016)
Dead Cells (Motion Twin, 2017)
Bloodborne (From Software, 2015)
Arms (Nintendo, 2017)
Tekken 7 (Bandai Namco, 2015)
The King of Fighters XIV (SNK, 2016)
Injustice: Gods Among Us (NetherRealm Studios, 2013)
Resident Evil (Capcom, 2002)
Alien: Isolation (The Creative Assembly, 2014)
Dead Space (Visceral Games, 2008)
Soma (Frictional Games, 2015)
Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Frictional Games, 2010)

Music used in this episode

Lee Rosevere - Music for Podcasts

💬 Comments on the video

HOLD UP i just realized.
*Hardcore Minecraft is a roguelike*

Author — Hand-Drawn Animations


11:38 and ironically the only guys creative enough to make a soulslike game entirely different than the landmark From themselves, with Sekiro

Author — Ming / Outplayedx


If Dead Cells is a roguevania, does that make Hollow Knight a soulsvania?

Author — Eli M


You guys remember when we used to call FPS games "DOOM clones"?

Me neither. I was a small child.

Author — Watchdog Goon


I want to call the new genre of dark souls roll'em'ups.

420 praise it.

Author — Nazareadain


"stamina management" laughs in sekiro

Author — Matt Light


a soulslike series is just a reverse dynasty warriors, where you're able to get flung into the air like paper and the enemies are the OP avatars of gods.

Author — dunbee


"Action warm ups, animation priority, and stamina management."

So Monster Hunter? :O

Author — TheRedKirby


don't know why, but I think Mark Brown may like spelunky

Author — TotallyNotHax


This is a 14 minute video that literally disses every single video game that has ever been made, and is 100% right.

Author — Red


>it's just a renamed versions of estus flask from dark souls
>health potion

Author — thalesdk


its been 2 years and i am extremely disappointed that *"souls em up"* didnt take off as the genre name

Author — guy3480


This channel is basically Skillshare game design but on YouTube

Author — Sai Abhishek


I rewatch this video every couple of months because it is absolute gold. It's about video game genres specifically, but this is literally how ALL media works. Music, books, movies, EVERYTHING. It's constantly growing and changing the more people get inspired to create, which then inspires others. This is how culture evolves and grows. Humanity is fucking amazing.

Author — Silly Rookie


"wow I died and I have to start again ? It's just like Dark Souls !!!!
Wow, you mean there are enemies that can kill you ? Just like dark souls !!"

Dark souls is one of my favorite game and is both innovating and inspired by former games. But it managed to create something so unique by mixing differents mecanism and adjusting all of them together so well.

but right now, people compare everything to it for no reason just because it has something in common with dark souls: very mysterious story without any clear backside story but the clues in the world, Great interconnected level design, epic music or huge boss fight, even HP potions.

But hey, dark souls hasn't invented any of these. It just used it so well to create strong feelings and game sensations.

There is no such things as a Dark souls genre. Even DKS 3 was close to a DKS 1 clone but it stilled managed to distinguished itself to be an excellent game.

According to me, Dark souls hasn't invented things like zelda invented 3d mechanics gameplay or "Pong" invented pvp. It perfected already existing mechanics and put them together to make a coherent whole. So you can't create a complete new genre based on Dark Souls.

Author — Gaëtan Vote


"Immersive sim, which while it's not baked into the name is inspired by Deus Ex"

Author — Aria


Proposed name for the new genre: “Ballbusters”

Author — Matt Williams


This video also doesn't take into account people making "clones" to try grab onto a title's popularity to make a little more profit. I guess that's why we can look down on these game trends quickly sprouting up and have a negative backlash to them, calling them all "clones" or "(game title)like", no matter if their intentions are sincere or not. It is interesting that a genre is a group of works that have a similar principles, designs, or goals, yet games can focus on really complex, hyperspecific "sub-genere" where we have metriodvania or rogue like. Some times we can even use these words without knowing where they came from or why, but to describe an idea. I learned today about the  origin of "rogue". Yet i used it to describe games that focuses on reparability through randomly generated factors.

On a completely different note, I can't help but think of the time Totalbisucit was so made and irratated on the term "rogue like" he made an one hour video talking about and dissecting it. That was a while ago.... I might need to go back and watch that. 

This comment is everywhere. Congrats to you for reading... if you find it among the 2, 413+ other comments :)

Author — Shiloh


I remember when people were still calling Demon's Souls a hack-'n-slash. My how time flies. To me these "bonfire games" have always been a combination of several other genres, namely hack-'n-slash, metroidvania, and rpg.

Author — Matthew Carson


It's really frustrating going into Steam or other online game stores and having the "RPG" section be filled with every game that happens to have leveling and/or a skill tree.

Author — Mordalon