New Dark Souls II Trailer: Dissecting the "Curse"

We try and seek deeper answers to Namco Bandai's irritatingly enigmatic new trailer for Dark Souls II.

A new trailer for upcoming hardcore horror title, Dark Souls II, is out and it has everyone a twitter. With only three months left until the game's release, this is the first trailer to actually touch upon any of the story and lore behind this whole new adventure.

So what is Bandai Namco letting (or not letting) on about the dark secrets that this game holds? We'll dissect the trailer and ruminate about what the "Curse" could be, and what's actually going on in this three-minute flurry of sight and sound.

Dissection

"Perhaps you've seen it. Maybe in a dream? A murky, forgotten land..."

New Jersey?

It's not a great start to a game where the main character keels over and lays with their fingers twitching on the ground. However, here's where things get interesting. As the narrator tells us that "souls may heal your ailing mind," our hero seems to get up and feels absolutely fine despite their rather dramatic tumble. Hmmm.

So is this great kingdom once ruled by a great king (who didn't own a thesaurus by the sounds of things) called "Dragon Lake?" Old ladies are irritatingly mumbly. Not to mention there's a complete absence of any lake in this shot. But it's actually "Drangleic." Either way, we gather this is where we're going. Lets hope those wyverns are friendly. Everybody sing now, "There's a wyrm at the bottom of my garden..."

Now here's where things start to get interesting. The next bit of text that follows reads in full:

"Bearer of the curse, seek misery.
Till this frail hope shatters.
Lest this land swallow you whole.
As it has so many others."

We've now learnt that our hero suffers from a curse (not surprising seeing as the title of the trailer is "Cursed"). But it also seems that we're not the only one that have attempted this journey before. Is there a treasure or a prize that we're after? But what of this curse?

"...Seek Misery"

It seems that the game knows that we'll all be dying a lot, much like in the original Dark Souls. But it's clear that this curse is not a cheery one, unless you particularly enjoy dying over and over again. So the game seems to already expects us to die a lot, and thus forms an integral part of the plot. It's certainly different from the usual gaming approach of, "We see you died there, but lets pretend that didn't happen and carry on as usual."

"Lest This Land Swallow You Whole, As It Has So Many Others"

This is the most intriguing part of the verse. The lines suggest that the curse is the only thing that will prevent our hero from failing. Talk about piling on the pressure!

The next shot is of a lone figure walking around the overgrown and crumbling remains of a large fortification or citadel. Let's face it, this will probably the closest we'll ever get to The Last Guardian.

The balance of music over voice acting at this point is all wrong, making it difficult to figure out the narration during this shot of this guy and his really hot (literally) body. The best we can make of it is:

"Man will never be forgiven. He shall sleep."

Or

"The mad will never be forgiven. We shall see."

The next bit of text is gives us something a bit more solid, and leads towards what we think is a very definite answer to what this curse entails. It's followed by the return of mumbly old woman, again with the sound balance a bit score-heavy. But she seems to enforce what we think, as we're pretty sure she's saying:

"We are undead. We'll never be [no idea]. You'll go horribly instead. You can't be one of them."

The next bit of voice-over is much clearer, but it doesn't really tell us anything surprising.

"You need to beat the beast."

We're assured this isn't a euphemism.

In the next bit of voice over, it seems the old lady has suddenly taken a crash course in diction and the orchestra has received an Anti-Social Behaviour Order for noise nuisance.

"Your wings will burn in anguish, time after time. For that is your fate. The fate of the cursed."

Again, this makes a very direct reference to amount of player death that will be in this game.

Conclusion

We think that the curse is that of immortality: you can't die. This is what sets you apart from others who have breached Drangleic unsuccessfully. Trawling through both indecipherable and indecipherable text and voice acting, it's hard to come to any different conclusion.

But the real enigma is the vagueness surrounding the game's lore. Sure, your need to go and fell some grave monstrosity as your ultimate goal, but which one out of the myriad adversaries reeled off during the trailer's three minutes is it? There is something more than that, right?

  • Is the purpose of your excursion to rid yourself of the curse so you can finally rest in peace?
  • Is there a threat to the rest of the world if this beast isn't beaten?
  • Is Drangleic hiding some sort of mystic prize?

To add misery to mystery, Andi Ewington's statement that the prequel comic book won't touch on any lore won't solve things either, despite the gradual release of its pages leading up to the title's release.

The trailer, even if somewhat obtuse, still piques a real excitement for what looks like an astonishing follow-up to Dark Souls.

Dark Souls II will be released in March 2014. For more information, visit www.darksoulsii.com.

Featured Columnist

Bearded British game-bear. Likes his JRPGs accompanied with a G&T. Lives in London, UK. Also writes a lot about theatre and film. *jazz hands*

Published Jan. 17th 2014

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