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Behind Closed Doors With Bloodborne

At Gamescom 2014, I had the opportunity to see a closed door presentation of From Software’s upcoming Bloodborne. We’ve already seen plenty of this Souls-style game at E3, but this presentation shed some more light on some of the systems at work on Miyazaki’s gothic/Victorian horror action-RPG dreamscape.

During the presentation, it was clearly stated that the difficulty of the Souls games would be preserved in Bloodborne, but there are some significant changes happening. We already knew shields were out, but now there’s a delicate risk-reward to the constant frenetic action. It’s known as the “regain” mechanic, and it works something like this:

Whenever the player gets hit by an attack, they lose health. Nothing new there. But in Bloodborne, the player has a chance to regain some of that life by landing successful blows during a small window of time. It forces the player into constant dangerous choices - Do you go for a quick assault and risk taking even more damage to try and gain your lost life, or let it go. Don’t think for a second that this turns the Souls-style combat into some sort of dumbed down hack-and-slash, players will be placed in continual life and death situations and must make difficult choices based on their own skill, the environment, and the enemies in the encounter to survive.

Here’s another significant change - Healing items (Bloodborne’s version of Estus Flasks) no longer occupy item slots. Instead, the number of available items is simply placed in a globe near the top left of the UI, and they are usable without taking up an item slot. This leaves the player free to use some of the new consumable items we had a chance to see in the demo - Oil, molotov cocktails, and pebbles to name a few. The oil/molotov combo is fairly easy to figure out, while pebbles can be used to lure enemies away from packs so they can be dealt with easily. The other visible item slot on the UI is used to hold ammunition for the various ranged weapons that the player will have access to.

Some new weapons were shown, namely the rather straightforward heavy axe and the much more interesting mechanical stave arm. This potent weapon has a short range and requires precise timing to use effectively, and skilled players will likely enjoy taking it out for a spin. All weapons have a “charge” attack that can be readied and unleashed.

The presentation moved into a Grave Town area featuring some terrifying, frenzied old woman enemies that brandished flaming weapons and scythes. They swarm and things look quite bad for our hero, but something happens - The player rolls into them. It’s then stated that these enemies, being thematically old and frail, are actually susceptible to being staggered by a roll. These rolls saved the player’s life and got him through what would have been an overwhelming attack.

Another area was then shown, a dark vertical area with plenty of wooden planks, slightly reminiscent of Blighttown or The Gutter. The player moves into a typical Souls-style trap, a dark area full of seemingly dead ghouls that spring to life when the player picks up a glowing object. After the player falls into a pit of rats, the demonstration ends with a giant plague pig roaring to life and charging.

While I can’t wait for details on the new multiplayer functionality, Bloodborne is hitting all the right notes right now.

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  • *drools* I gotta get my hands on this game!!!!
  • Miyazaki is going to make me buy a PS4. Damn you and your amazing games, Hidetaka.
  • I like how this is sounding already. Definitely agree with you Tack. It sounds like it is shaping up to be a fantastic game.

  • The Souls games have quickly become some of my favorites now that I've finally played them. I am looking forward to this very much.

  • I still wonder if this game will have towns and shops, or will it be more like dark souls with a random merchant.

  • Here's a really cool interview with Miyazaki that i saw today. There are some really interesting things in there.


  • Rolling into old women could probably save you from many a situation in real life as well.
  • Definitely looking forward to this next year too. I beat Demon Souls at the beginning of the summer, rented Dark Souls 2 a couple months ago and finished that, and now i'm working my way through Dark Souls 1. At least i'll have this fall's upcoming games to tide me over after I finish Dark Souls 1. I mean, if I finish Dark Souls 1. I think it's the most difficult of the three games.
  • Wow Dan, great description! I really can't wait to hear more about it. The "regain" mechanic sounds really fun and should add a nice level of challenge to the game. Have they discussed if there will be a bigger emphasis on the story?
  • This really sounds interesting. Can't wait to hear more info and more gameplay for this game.

  • Mod
    I've already been excited for this. But after seeing the new footage in the latest trailer, I honestly think this has the chance of being the best out of all of From's games.
  • I want this so damn bad.

  • Ugh, bring it to the One... I hate the idea of console wars where gamers lose out unless they own all systems... Only reason I haven't tried out Uncharted, Last of Us, and the list grows on. Really hate it since I'm finishing up the Souls series currently.
  • I never played the Souls games, though I might in the near future, but what i would love to see is another Armored Core. Those are the games i grew up on from From Software, and I would love to have another good one that brought back the greatness from the 2nd and third games on the ps2.
  • I want to play this so bad right now. Seeing the new trailer got me even more excited for the game.

  • This game does look pretty damn amazing. I said I was done with the souls punishment but if this game caters to dual wielders like me, I might have to give this a shot.
  • At least one reason to get a PS4. Can't wait! Should say own, and I do. :)
  • Great language Dan. You really helped put it in my mind. I am very excited. This game was the PS4 clincher. I was in the "eventually" camp but shot up to a "must buy" after this announcement. When they showed a white Destiny bundle that same day it was done. This will sell systems to the cult following and the word of mouth once it comes out and blows apart minds will push even more. My dear friend Aaron above told me not to be afraid of a little death but then laughed when I said I wanted to start Souls on easy mode first. lol. I do hope Bloodborne is more "accessible" in a lot of ways like Dark Souls 2 vs the dreaded yet still glorious Dark Souls 1 (my god the walking). Keep improving the formula and don't give in to the purists/elitists/yahoos! ;)
  • I find myself mesmerized by this IP.. I wasn't a particular fan of Dark/Demon Souls as they just didn't catch my attention and I tried numerous times.. I'm hoping this is finally the title that will do it for me.

  • It'll be this or Order 1886 that get me to pick up a PS4, whichever comes first(or Uncharted 4 but that's highly unlikely to come out before the two I mentioned). I suck at games like Dark Souls but this game just looks pure awesome. I'm psyched to see actual gameplay. Pre-rendered cut scenes never do it for me.
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