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'Dark Souls' spinoff 'Project Beast' appears online

The "Dark Souls" series has gone from obscure regional craze to worldwide franchise, but leaked images from "Project Beast" suggest that PlayStation wants its exclusive back.

tech reviews Updated: May 06, 2014 11:31 IST

The "Dark Souls" series has gone from obscure regional craze to worldwide franchise, but leaked images from "Project Beast" suggest that PlayStation wants its exclusive back.

Images posted to anonymous message board 4chan fell in line with quotes provided by a Sony-affiliated member of the NeoGAF forum.

Together, they are being taken to imply that the next entry to the "Dark Souls" universe will come in the form of a title exclusive to Sony PlayStation.

The series started out in 2009 with "Demon's Souls" on PlayStation 3, a fantasy epic that saw brave adventurers daring to survive in a monster-infested catacomb of castle ruins.

Initially released only in Japan, the game boasts a crushing difficulty and meticulously constructed mythos that created an intensely rewarding experience for players, and it soon became world-renowned, with distribution agreed for international territories.

Follow-up "Dark Souls" capitalized on the concept, as European and Australian publisher Namco Bandai helped ensure the franchise lived on once it negotiated worldwide rights.

Released in 2011 on PlayStation and competing console system Xbox 360, "Dark Souls" eventually arrived on PC the following year; "Dark Souls II" was released to further critical acclaim mid-March on the consoles and late April on PCs.

Now, some fans hypothesize that "Project Beast," a supposed collaboration between From Software and Sony Japan, will take place in an alternative version of the "Dark Souls" universe, with the main character wielding a shotgun instead of a Tudor-period melee or bow weapon.

But with 4chan rumors considered untrustworthy by much of the wider web, why take these images seriously at all?

"We know Yoshida hinted at something along these lines at one point," reasoned NeoGAF moderator Nirolak, "as we know that From Software has both senior and non-senior staff that worked on 'Demon's Souls' and 'Dark Souls 1' that was unaccounted for in 'Dark Souls 2.'"

Furthermore, another NeoGAF member -- Sony employee Demonnite -- has previous posts that are now, in retrospect, considered to have been veiled hints about the work-in-progress.

"It will be a whole different beast," he had said in January, of the potential for "Dark Souls II" to become a title for PlayStation 4 or Xbox one, while in June 2013 he predicted that the Tokyo Games Show "will be a Beast of a show," as noted by Gematsu.

Another user, JPS Kai, popped up with supplementary images, furthering the belief that the job lot came from an unreleased trailer, heightening anticipation for Sony's showing at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June.