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Dark Souls 3 won’t be coming out in the US until April 12th, but plenty of people are already playing and streaming it. Japan has already seen the game release and the game’s publisher, Bandai Namco, started handing out copies to press and streamers. This is despite the lack of an upcoming patch that will fix bugs and add things like online access and multiplayer, a key social component of previous Dark Souls games. After nearly a week of streaming and preliminary guides spreading like wildfire across the internet, Bandai Namco suddenly realized something, their fans aren’t happy.
Dark Souls games are about discovery. The games purposefully do little to explain much of anything to the player. Levels often hide powerful items or stress relieving shortcuts. Part of the fun is being apart of a larger community finding out which walls are false and how to take down bosses effectively. With Dark Souls 3 already actively being mined for information and going out on streams, a lot of that discovery is quickly fading.
It’s a shame Bandai Namco didn’t realize this in time. Now they’re telling streamers to please stop streaming until right before the game’s proper release date. Before streamers couldn’t go past a specific boss, but now they’re told to keep it to themselves entirely. This doesn’t account for the workaround some players have found where the Xbox One Japanese store sells a version of the game that already has the English translation in it. Now official streamers are hamstrung with a change in the embargo, tons of video is already up, and Japanese versions of the game are already easily accessible.
I feel bad for hardcore fans of Dark Souls who have been waiting to experience the all too rare cooperative video game community. Now there will be a schism in the community between those who sought out all the information they could and those who have tried to stay in the dark. What a way to release a game.