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Mythology In The Demon's Souls Games Explained

Once a PS3 exclusive, Demon's Souls recently made its way to PS5 in a breathtaking remake from Bluepoint Games. While the updated edition changes some aspects of the original game, adding quality of life improvements and balancing the difficulty, it still retains the lore of the 2009 classic. And what a bunch of lore that is.


FromSoftware has always approached lore in games in a "less-is-more" fashion, providing bits of information to players without ever bluntly detailing how everything connects. Some fans have even noted that while they enjoyed the game itself, the lore remains incredibly difficult to piece together. In response to a Reddit thread asking for help in understanding the lore of Demon's Souls, one user noted that "it's cryptic as usual." That it is.

But dense lore hasn't kept Souls fans away, and there are plenty of resources online to help players understand the grave misfortune that has befallen the land of Boletaria. Now that Demon's Souls can be easily played on the PS5 (if you can get your hands on one, that is), it's time for everyone to armor up and learn the lore needed to understand the game. School is in session.


What is Demon's Souls world like?

Boletaria has been through a lot. The opening cinematic of Demon's Souls explains that on the first day of Boletaria's existence, "man was granted a soul, and with it, clarity." In a video by DaveControl, Dave elaborates that before Boletaria fell prey to the corrupt being known as the Old One, people used the Soul Arts to bring everyone together and enjoy a peaceful existence. The Soul Arts include much of the magic that the player character can use throughout Demon's Souls, and stems from the souls of living things. The game explains souls as both innate to humans, capable of granting them magical abilities, and as a key component of Demons.


In the game, Ostrava of Boletaria explains to the player character that Boletaria used to be a great kingdom. He praises King Allant, who once ruled the land during its more peaceful days. It turns out that King Allant, much like King Arthur, enforced peace with the help of a group of knights and a round table, but that wasn't enough to keep the country safe. Eventually Ostrava reveals that the king is his father, and that he has turned into a Demon. The pursuit of power drove King Allant to awaken the Old One, and now the world is in a whole lot of trouble.

What happened before Demon's Souls?

When the player character speaks with the Monumental in the upper chambers of the Nexus, they explain that "Once, we too, a scourge of Demons faced. In the distant past, under a benevolent rule the world was united, owing to the Soul arts. Until a lust for power caused the awakening of the Old One." Though the Monumentals were able to force the Old One into a deep sleep again, they lost "half the world" in the process.


The Monumentals gave Archstones to six different people they thought they could trust, in order to keep the Old One imprisoned, but now the Old one has awakened, thanks to King Allant, leaving the player character in charge of vanquishing the Demons that provide the Old One with souls. With no souls, the Old One will inevitably search out the player character in order to find a new source of those sweet, sweet souls, leaving the player character with a chance to attack.

The last Monumental describes all of this and more to the player character after the defeat of the game's first boss, but the story doesn't feel complete somehow. After all, who is the Old One and what makes it so bad, aside from some power-hunger and a knack for enlisting Demons to help it?


Who is the Old One?

The opening cinematic of Demon's Souls describes the great Old One as an "irrevocable poison," but the truth is more complicated than that. Fans have theorized that the Old One was meant to serve as a link between God and man, but greed led King Allant to twist the Old One into something infinitely more sinister. Technically, the Old One is the first Demon, who is responsible for creating the Demons encountered throughout Demon's Souls.


The Demons and the Old One have a symbiotic relationship, with the Demons feeding off of the hunger of the Old One, and the Old One feeding off the souls of the Demons, which in turn feed off the living. In a neverending ouroboros of greed and power, the Demons and the Old One must exist for the cycle to continue and eventually destroy the world.

Whew, that's a lot. To boil down the essence of the game: the Old One was corrupted by greed and a desire for power, and has in turn turned everyone it comes in contact with into mindless, chaotic Demons. Now, the player character must journey through the world, killing Demons and restoring peace to the land. It's a classic tale of good versus evil.

How does Demon's Souls fit with other Souls games?

The lore of Demon's Souls doesn't directly connect to the Dark Souls series, but some fans have spotted similarities between them. Dark Souls is considered to be a "spiritual successor" to the earlier game. The settings of the games might look aesthetically similar, but the lore does not line up, leaving fans to speculate and craft wild theories.


Many fans believe that the games are not officially related because of legal restraints. Because Sony bought exclusive PS3 rights to Demon's Souls, FromSoftware could not legally include content from Demon's Souls in Dark Souls, which made the jump to other consoles. This ultimately necessitated a slight name change. While the lore of Dark Souls is a completely different beast from Demon's Souls, the lineage is visible in each gnarly skeleton the player character hacks through.

On the Japanese podcast Game no ShokutaruDemon's Souls and Dark Souls director Hidetaka Miyazaki stated, "I would be yelled at if I wouldn't say no," when asked if the two games were connected. Miyazaki's playful banter could hint at a connection between the games, but he's on the record as saying, officially, there's no relation. 


No matter what, there's something to be said for the delightful contradictory nature of Demon's Souls lore. After all, it's kept fans interested for years.