If you have played a Souls, you have been repeating this dungeon for 10 years without realizing it and Elden Ring is no exception

March has been the month of Elden Ring. Our journey by means of the center lands has turn out to be From Software’s best-selling work thus far, and one of the crucial profitable titles of the corporate that gave delivery to such an influential saga as Dark Souls. Quite a milestone. I’m additionally a kind of gamers who’ve launched into the epic that the Miyazaki group has ready with such care, a journey through which, as in earlier titles within the saga, I can’t cease seeing winks, references, or immediately tributesto a number of the earlier installments of the Souls saga.

This left me pondering of a kind of recollections, one which repeats itself with explicit drive, nearly like a unwritten rule inside the sequence. This is a map that has been chasing me since none apart from Demon’s Souls, the primary installment of this legendary sequence, and from which evidently the From Software group has not managed to flee fully both. Today I’m going to inform you why Demon’s Souls Prison of Hope is particular, and the way its concepts they’ve been repeating all through the Soul Saga.

A jail out of nightmarish terrors

Demon’s Souls is a title with a peculiar construction inside the sequence. Unlike its fundamental sequence successors, in addition to the Elden Ring itself, with its open world, Demon’s mapping is closely divided into thematic zonesfully alien to one another, each in strategy and concepts, as in navigation or gameplay.

“Latria’s tower defies everything we’ve encountered before in Demon’s Souls”

The tower of Latria corresponds to the third archistone of Demon’s Souls, being his first space the second dungeon, in probably the most basic sense of the phrase, from Miyazaki’s title. The earlier dungeon that we’ve confronted if we go “in order” by means of the completely different areas is the Boletaria Castle, within the first space of ​​the sport. An open and comparatively player-friendly space, with a easy purpose: enter the bowels of the citadel.

On the opposite, the time we transport to the tower of Latria we seem inside a cell within the deepest a part of a darkish and gloomy jail. An area that may remind us of the Comillopiedra tunnels, however substituting the crackling of the lava and the blows of the peaks for the screams of a few of its prisoners, the darkness of not have pure mildand the jingle of the jailers ready for us.


Recreation of the Prison of Hope for Demon’s Souls Remake. Image by Alexis Boyer.

Once situated, we quickly notice that the primary trick of this jail, and the “theme” of the tower of Latria on the whole, it is going to be terror, both to the unknown, to the highly effective enemies that await us, or to the traps (that there are) that lie in wait alongside the way in which. Through the breaking of cycle sport, Demon’s embraces this concept strongly, and exposes it in an immersive method that has quite a bit to do with the design of this jail.

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Real world structure for a fantasy jail

Good degree design in a online game seeks to make sure that navigation by means of the surroundings is pure, and that the gameplay as we transfer by means of the mapping, all of it with out breaking the immersion of sport. That is why, after we see a picture of a online game map, it’s regular for us to assume “that would not be done like that in reality“, even when we do not see it that method whereas we play.

“It is not common that the design of a mapping is considered the same as in the real world”

That’s one of many causes Latria’s Prison of Hope attracts a lot consideration. If we take a look at a map of the world, we are able to confirm that, each in kind and in strategy, this space of ​​Demon’s Souls is structured like an actual jail; with well-separated cell compartments, single entry and exit traces, relaxation areas for guards, and so on.


The jail dismembered by crops. Original picture by Banderi, through Reddit

This is so not solely as an atmospheric factor, one of many strengths of the world, but in addition as a result of the target of this dungeon is get to the underside and search for a gap to get out of jail, a proven fact that makes the “realistic” strategy to jail take impact instantly; In addition, this very pure construction favors navigation by means of iteven at nighttime situations offered by the map.

The combination of setting and strategy is strengthened by the enemies of the world, some tentacular creatures which might be fearsome when they’re those that make the primary transfer, however which might be rapidly dispatched if we catch them abruptly; this improves after we see that they don’t normally seem greater than one after the other, and that their patrols are repeated flooring by flooring, making us increasingly conscious the extra we advance.

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Reminiscences all through the saga

The tower of Latria is a sport of contrasts In Demon’s Souls, from the time we get away of the jail and begin shifting by means of the towers, to the preliminary drop and the ultimate encounter by the demon soul, all of it’s nearly an allegory from the remainder of the sport as an entire. But it is onerous to overlook that first space, each due to its setting and its stable concepts.

“From the depths of a cell, to the top of a tower”

So a lot in order that, though by no means in the identical method as within the unique Demon’s, most of the issues proposed that we noticed within the Prison of Hope jail have permeated the remainder of the installments of the saga. The clearest of those relationships, for sure, are the dungeons of irithyllin Dark Souls 3, each thematically and in intentions.

However, personally, I like to attract relationships with areas reminiscent of The Nightmare of Mensis in Bloodborne on an environmental degree, or with Sen’s fortress in Dark Souls on a thematic degree. each examples take two clear elements of the Prison of Hope, and so they dissect it by means of the lens of the concepts uncovered of their respective video games, however the essence stays the identical.



In Elden Ring we are able to additionally see the echoes of this dungeon in some areas, the clearest could be the underground of Leyndell, with a comparatively comparable environmental sportto the jail, an odd factor for a sport through which the premium towards the restlessness and darkness of Demon’s Souls. Perhaps for that reason, it continues to shock me that, at least eleven years later, From Software continues to rescue concepts from what’s, for me, his most legendary map.

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