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

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💬 Comments on the video

This video about game design is the Dark Souls of videos about game design.

Author — Yawnie


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

Author — Hand-Drawn Animations


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

420 praise it.

Author — Nazareadain


The big difference between Doom and Dark Souls is that Doom spawned an entire new genre where as Dark Souls is spawning a new subgenre much like how Metroid spawned a subgenre of the 2d action platformer. This is the big reason that we had to transition away from calling FPS' "Doom Clones" but never had to transition away from calling Metroidvania games Metroidvania games.

Author — Delzak


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

Author — Eli M


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

Author — Outplayedx


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

Author — ShounJoue


x-like is a terrible way to name a genre.

Author — TheWickedWeenie


"stamina management" laughs in sekiro

Author — Matt Light


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

Author — Red


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


"When we reduce a game down to it's constituent components, dev's can copy them and end up with pretty much the same game as the original developer, but if we consider why those features were the way they were, and what sort of experience they lead to, devs can find different ways to give gamers that same feeling" - Mark Brown, 2017.

This is something I've been speaking about lately, especially with the MMO Genre. There are lots of games which try to be World of Warcraft. But very few actually manage it. Weirdly, even Wildstar which is made by a lot of Vanilla WoW Developers, also misses why certain elements were addicting and successful (I actually wrote an article on Wildstar Housing about this)

Author — Eir Causey


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

So Monster Hunter? :O

Author — TheRedKirby


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


Action warm ups, animation priority, and stamina management are all present in monster hunter. I would be fine calling monster hunter a soulslike game in terms of combat, but the game is very unique in other aspects...

Author — Dylan Haire


really guys, Zelda Ocarina of time, lock on, dodge rolls, and collision based damage with pre-set animations for attacks.

Dark souls took its combat from many early RPG's on ps1 and n64

Author — Stone Malone


And every new Hero or Arena Shooter is "Overwatch-Like". Even if they play and feel different.

Author — Sabregy


It's no surprise it took the Dark Souls' developer to innovate their own design. Bloodborne is still the same game in essence, but the simple switch to offensive over defensive mechanics was enough to make it original in it's own right. The issue I have with games like The Surge is that it doesn't justify some of it's mechanics such as respawning. Dark Souls builds the bonfires and death into it's lore while The Surge just happens to have it.

Author — Ryan Hollinger


Proposed name for the new genre: “Ballbusters”

Author — Matt Williams


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

Me neither. I was a small child.

Author — Watchdog Goon