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The Real Reason Demon's Souls Changed Its Name

A remake of the critically acclaimed Demon's Souls is finally slashing its way to the PlayStation 5 in 2020. The new remake has brought extra attention to the original game and the titles it spawned. Fans may be surprised to learn that although the original Demon's Souls is now regarded as a landmark game and a classic in the action-RPG genre, it didn't always garner this level of praise, even from the people that published it. In fact, Sony Japan's dissatisfaction with the original Demon's Souls inadvertently led to the creation of an entirely new series of games.


The original play-testing process for Demon's Souls was an unmitigated disaster. In an interview with Game Informer, Sony President Shuhei Yoshida said that he originally thought that Demon's Souls was "an unbelievably bad game" when he played it late in development. However, Sony would eventually come to regret its next move.

Sony originally published Demon's Souls in Japan, where it was met with underwhelming sales. Sony decided not to publish the game in other territories. Instead, the license was acquired by Atlus USA, which published the North American version of the game, and Namco Bandai Games, which published the game in PAL territories.

From Demon's Souls to Dark Souls

After Demon's Souls proved to be more of a success in North America, Bandai Namco Entertainment published a spiritual successor made by FromSoftware. Since the Demon's Souls IP was still owned by Sony, the Dark Souls branding was created, making those games sequels in just about every way but name. This is how Demon's Souls seemed to go through a name change, and the Dark Souls franchise was finally born.


For years, FromSoftware has fielded questions about the possibility of remaking Demon's Souls. In a 2016 interview with GameSpot, Miyazaki said, "The Dark Souls series is Bandai Namco Entertainment's IP, and Demon's Souls ... is Sony Interactive Entertainment's IP. Hence, the decision to do a remake or remastering is under their jurisdiction ... I don't think we'll be involved with [a remake] happening, but it could happen through another developer." 

As Souls fans now know, that's exactly what ended up happening with the new Demon's Souls remake, which was developed by Bluepoint Games. This is how two very similar IPs came to exist with slightly different titles.