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Our Hopes For The Bloodborne Expansion

by Matt Miller on Jul 04, 2015 at 10:00 AM

A recent tweet fro Shuhei Yoshida confirmed what many had expected. The Sony-exclusive Bloodborne will be getting an expansion. Unfortunately, E3 came and went without any details about what this enigmatic expansion. Without any concrete information, Dan Tack and I sat down to discuss what we hope to see when From Software finally pulls back the curtain.

 

Matt: Dan, I think I’d be hard pressed to find a bigger fan of Dark Souls and Bloodborne than you. Is that a fair statement?

Dan: I’d say I’m a huge fan of the series, but I’m sure there are even bigger fans and enthusiasts out there; a quick look around YouTube and the internet will show you no end of amazing content spin-offs and elaborate delves and theories regarding lore and story.

Matt: Fair enough. If the internet has taught us anything, it’s that there is always a bigger fan somewhere out there. With that said, I think you have been and continue to be a big evangelist for the fun and excitement of these games.

Dan: Absolutely, and something I want to say here, that I have before, is that my first real engagement with the series was Dark Souls (unless we’re counting Kings Field and Shadow Tower, which I’m not) and my original reaction to the game was that of utter bewilderment and confusion. I wasn’t immediately drawn in. In fact, I set the game aside for months. After I went back to it, I was in a better state to try something different, and I’d encourage anyone who’s curious about these games to know that you don’t always “get it” right away - the payoff is so  worth it, though.

Matt:Yep, I think that’s an important takeaway about these games. They certainly require a different frame of mind to really enjoy. For my own part, despite several efforts, I had trouble engaging with Demon Souls and Dark Souls, but Bloodborne really grabbed me, and I ended up pouring in dozens of hours. And so we’re here today to talk about the expansion! Which we know so much about! 

Dan: Right, so outside of a tweet by Shu, we don’t really know much of anything do we? I’m curious that it was referred to as an expansion rather than DLC, so it might be a good deal meatier contentwise than what we’ve come to expect. That said, I’ve been incredibly impressed with From Software’s DLC/content offerings in these games so far - Artorias of the Abyss was actually incredible, giving players a ton more story and one of the coolest figures in Dark Souls lore, and there are some out there that would say that the Dark Souls II DLC is the best content available in the second game. I don’t disagree with that. These packs have generally added a ton to the lore and world (and added some crucial story facts) while presenting cool new items and insane bosses.

[Next Page: How far into the game should you have to be to reach the expansion?]

Matt: Yeah, I’ ve heard about the meaty quality of previous From Software expansions, so I’m stoked to see what they do. Given that we don’t have any concrete details, let’s talk about what we want to see. What’s top on your list?

Dan: In true From Software fashion, there are lots of mysteries and very few answers at work in Bloodborne, and while the community has done an admirable job at coming up with theories and piecing various clues together, there’s a lot we still have to see. Given some of the hints from the core story, I’m expecting to see more Great Old Ones and definitely Oedon. But that will probably be an invisible boss. Outside of specifics, if this holds true to form for From additional content, I expect a handful of powerful new bosses and some extremely interesting new weapons. This content is generally balanced around endgame, so I’d highly recommend having a character at the end of a playthrough ready to experience it rather than being stuck in the middle of a NG++ or something.

Matt: Yeah, that’s actually part of my wishlist. I want the content to be balanced for endgame or later characters, so I get a sense of continuity. However, I hope they recognize that many of their players (myself included) are in various states of NewGame+ play, and that we don’t want to have to be at a specific place in the story of our current playthrough to dig into the new stuff. In short, have the expansion content unlock upon mission completion, but be available for anyone past that point.

Dan: Yeah, that’s almost certainly not going to happen if we use the past as any indicator. It will likely be accessible from a higher-tier area, like the Nightmare castle, in some out of the way area. Likely guarded by frenzy brain things.

Matt: I’d hope that they’d take advantage of their Hunter’s Dream hub, and let you launch it from there, but you’re right -- it might be a long shot. So what about story in particular? You and I have talked a lot about various theories about where the base game ends. Anything special you’d like to see as the storyline moves forward?

Dan: I’m sure we’ll get some vague answers and some great new questions. I’d look to Artorias for this - the way he was implemented in Dark Souls was fascinating, offering a completely new way to go back and experience an encounter with Sif. His story is tragic and awesome and I highly, highly recommend Dark Souls as your second game to experience in the series. Bloodborne counts!

Matt: Well, in the Bloodborne world, I’m sort of hoping they play off of one or more of the enigmatic endings that we got to see. How cool would it be if you got to play a new hunter whose job it was to take out the new Great Old One that had emerged from the Hunter you played in the base game? Perhaps you could gain access to the previous hunter's old weapons and power, in order to be a match for him. 

Dan: Yeah, I think that would be cool, but historically you’re locked into the character you’ve worked on and leveled up, etc. I wouldn’t put anything past From, but they’re really great at iteration on their current formulas - so I don’t see them breaking the mold here and letting you play as a mutant squid or anything.

[Next Page: Hoping for new areas to explore and troublesome mechanics addressed]

Matt: You heard it here first. Mutant squid playable characters in Bloodborne. I’ll tell you something else I would be interested to see them explore: Bloodborne was all about people who had been physically transformed into terrible beasts, but with the exception of what happens to your Hunter at the end, we don’t see too much of that for your playable character. It would be neat if the expansion offered some genuine metamorphosis powers to your character, which offered short term special powers, and offered players options about how they transformed. 

Dan: Well, Bloodborne is unabashedly mired in Lovecraftian ideology, and I think that the few tastes it offers of Old One’s powers - tentacle swipes and other magical attacks - is about all they can allow the player to be true to the source material. Anything else and they’d just go insane. Like, in the Lovecraft world (and Bloodborne sort of, through insight etc) these creatures are so out there that to even try to look at one or think of one would drive most people mad.

Matt: That touches on another thing I’d be eager to see the expansion explore a little more. I loved the Nightmare locations in the base game, and the implications that they were literally other realms or dimensions - horrible dream worlds originating in the minds of feverishly insane individuals or creatures. I hope that whatever new areas appear in the expansion follow up on this idea, with even more outlandish locales and experiences. I can enivision visiting an other-dimensional city that rises out of the ocean, like in Lovecraft’s classic Call of Cthulhu story, or strange surreal dreamscapes, not unlike what we saw in the base game with the Micolash fight. 

Dan: Actually, now that you bring that up, I can totally see that happening. Visiting Miyazaki’s vision of R’lyeh would probably be the best thing ever. Uhh,  yeah. Let’s do that.

Matt: Let’s talk about mechanics a little bit. You think we’ll see From respond to any of the criticism it got about how the game worked structurally? 

Dan: Really doubt it. Outside of big issues like bugs or exploit fixes, I’d expect this to be strictly content focused, building on what’s already there.

Matt: I would tend to agree. We’ve spoken before about Blood Vials, and how that whole farming process isn’t exactly thrilling. But we both agree that it’s unlikely that mechanic is going to be removed for an expansion. However, I do think From has the opportunity to address some other issues that might make the game a little more accessible and fun, but without making it any easier. For instance, one of my big gripes with Bloodborne was the long runs between lamps and boss locations. I didn’t find those to add anything meaningful to the difficulty -- it was just tedium in between attempts at otherwise exciting and challenging boss fights. 

Dan: Blood Vial farming has its roots in Demon’s Souls and I think that’s where they’re keeping this Sony-locked IP trend going, more Demon’s than Dark in structure. One of the big gripes from some of the community in Dark Souls 2 was bonfires everywhere, especially before bosses. I’m not a fan of boss runs either, to be honest, but it is what it is.

Matt: Yeah, that’s an aspect of From’s development style that I’m interested in understanding more about. For instance, Bloodborne obviously had some features that were a direct reaction away from what had been in previous installments. For instance, many players in Dark Souls tended to turtle up on defense, and Bloodborne actively discouraged that through a change in its style of combat -- making things faster and encouraging engagement. My hope is that From is willing to recognize things that might not be thrilling in the base game design, and be willing to make changes. On that subject, what about multiplayer? There were obviously some people (and I include myself in this group) who were frustrated by the obscure and seemingly convoluted process involved in trying to play with friends.

Dan: Sure, the bell process isn’t as good as sigil/sign summoning. I agree with that 100%. But again, I wouldn’t expect any changes. Just get ready for Dark Souls III!

Matt: In an ideal world, are there any other things you’d want to see show up in the Bloodborne expansion?

Dan: Yeah, as mentioned earlier, I’d like to see an underwater city where we fight a giant cthulhu thing that gives me nightmares and kills me at least 10 times before I beat it. If we can get even half that I think it’s a win. As I’ve stated before, From’s DLC/expansion content has historically been on par or vastly superior to the core content offerings, so I’m expecting a lot here. And I really doubt that I’ll be disappointed.

Matt: Here’s hoping!

 

What mechanics, features, or story details would you like to see in the Bloodborne expansion? Share your thoughts in the comments below.