Released in 2015, Bloodborne was a hit among fans of the Dark Souls series. Set in a world separate from the Souls universe, Bloodborne features a dark, Gothic, and disturbing realm to explore, and grotesque monsters that you will do your damnedest to slay even as you die again, and again, and again.
Its frenetic gameplay and Lovecraftian horror are just a few of the reasons why fans are clamoring for a second trip to Yharnam and the world beyond it. And although From Software has not confirmed a sequel, there is still hope that players will get their chance to visit this wonderfully disturbing world again.
Where We Left Off……
(Warning: The ending to Bloodborne will be spoiled. Read at your own risk.)
Assuming that you managed to grind through Bloodborne’s unforgiving gameplay and reach the end, you are now face to face with the elderly, wheelchair-bound hunter Gehrman on a moonlit field. Depending on your choices, and if you consume three key in-game items throughout your play, you can experience three endings:
Yharnam Sunrise -Accepting his offer, Gehrman beheads you, which releases you from the Nightmare. As you break free from the world and step into the real, less chaotic Yharnam, the Doll that has accompanied you throughout your journey bids goodbye and wishes that you finally attain some peace in life.
Honoring Wishes -Refusing his offer, Gehrman will insist that you be freed from the Nightmare and will do battle with you. Defeating him, you will encounter a disturbing creature known as the Moon Presence who will then bind you to the Nightmare.
After an unspecified period of time, you are now bound to the wheelchair that once accommodated Gehrman. The Doll, pushing the wheelchair, remarks that the Hunt begins anew. For most players, this is the ending that they get for their journey.
Childhood’s Beginning -If the player consumes all 3 parts of the Umbilical Cord, an artifact that forms whenever a Great One is being conceived, and refusing Gehrman’s offer, you will do battle with him. Upon defeating him, the Moon Presence will descend and attempt to bind you to the Nightmare.
This time, however, it can’t, and immediately attacks. After defeating the Moon Presence, you will be transformed into an infant Great One, which takes the form of a rather familiar slug/larva creature (more on this later). The Doll then takes you to raise you as her own child.
The Old Hunters DLC expands a bit on the lore of the game such as the origins of the Curse and even the Doll, but there are still some unanswered questions. Who are the Great Ones? Why does the Moon Presence become so enraged if you eat all parts of the Umbilical Cord? What is the deal with the real Yharnam?
Either way, there is no denying that there is still much to discover in the world of Yharnam. Hidetaka Miyazaki, director of From Software, is not one for expository world building, and would rather have players discover the mysteries of his games’ worlds and build their own lore. And, of course, a world that is broken, plagued, and trapped in an eternal nightmare has a lot of mysteries to offer.
Are Bloodborne and Dark Souls Linked?
The best ending of Dark Souls (Ending C, to be exact) does offer some hints that the world of Yharnam is linked to the world of Dark Souls. The form that you take, i.e. that bizarre slug/larva being, looks eerily similar to the one found when the player encounters Lord’s Blade Ciaran in the very first Dark Souls Game.
This could imply that Yharnam and Lordran, though distinctly apart from one another, might exist in the same universe or multiverse. If a form of the Great Ones appeared in Lordran, then that could mean the Great Ones’ influence extends even to the Lords of Cinder of the Dark Souls world.
As interesting as this theory might be, however, there is a problem that prevents it from coming to fruition, and it’s not because of any narrative limitation. The reason is that Bloodborne and Dark Souls, though coming from the same developer, are owned by different companies.
The Dark Souls franchise is owned by Bandai Namco entertainment while Bloodborne is owned by Sony Computer Entertainment. Thus, unless the suits at both companies agree to a shared licensing scheme like what Sony and Marvel had for Spiderman, players will never get to see their favorite souls world colliding and, to an extent, most of their theories coming to fruition.
However, Miyazaki has neither confirmed nor denied this theory. As such the theory can still hold some ground for die-hard fans, pesky inter-corporate politics notwithstanding.
“Teasers” and Trailers
From Software has yet to produce any concrete evidence that would point to Bloodborne 2 being in production. However, that has not stopped fans from speculating what game will be announced in their new trailers.
In E3 2018, From released a trailer called “Shadows Die Twice” that featured a bloody prosthetic arm. This got fans excited for Bloodborne 2 as the trailer shared many themes that the game dealt with, most notably the cycles of death, violence, and rebirth. Also, the teaser featured Oriental themes which were not uncommon in Bloodborne with the presence of a character named Yamamura in the Old Hunters DLC.
Unfortunately for Bloodborne fans, the game was revealed to be a new IP called Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. It features a story set in a mythical version of Feudal Japan and a non-customizable shinobi with the aforementioned prosthetic arm as the main character.
Fortunately, Sekiro is generally well-accepted due to its introduction of verticality, and a new twist to the Souls-type combat. But, for Bloodborne fans, it was not the sequel they have waited for.
In E3 2019, fan’s expectations were raised and dashed again when From Software revealed their newest upcoming game, Elden Ring. A collaboration with Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin, the game looks like a return to the dark fantasy series with hints of Martin’s unpredictability and world building style.
Will Bloodborne 2 Be Ever Released?
It is important to remember that only Dark Souls was the IP that From Software developed into a series of games. Most of their games have been one-shot stories with heavily implied connectivity to one another.
But does this mean that Bloodborne is truly out of the question? No. And there are two reasons why:
From Software’s entry in the Playstation VR line, Deracine is a game also set in its own universe, but has some hints to Bloodborne. One Easter Egg is that of a doll raising her left arm up and her right arm horizontally.
For fans of the game, this is the iconic “Make Contact” gesture which players can make while playing. This is similar also to the “Praise the Sun” gesture that players can use in Dark Souls.
The most compelling evidence, however, is the doll’s description in-game, which goes:
The phrase “unfinished tale” and “bad dream” could most likely hint to Bloodborne. After all, the story of the Lords of Cinder is mostly finished after the events of Dark Souls III.
Sekiro’s world, although leaving some room for a sequel, is far from nightmarish compared to Bloodborne. Thus, through the process of elimination, one could think that the doll is referring to the plague-ridden world of Yharnam.
End of the 8thGaming Generation
The end of the decade also comes with it the end of the most current generation in gaming. Although Sony and Microsoft have yet to unveil something, it is expected that Playstation 4 and Xbox One will be replaced by their successors as early as 2021.
With that said, one can speculate that From Software is only biding their time to develop a new game right at the start of the new generation. With this new generation comes new technologies that allow developers to push the boundaries of gameplay concepts even further.
Perhaps Bloodborne 2 is far refined and removed from its predecessor that it will require new video processors that only next-gen machines can provide. Think of the areas you will explore and all the eldritch abominations that you would have to slay if Bloodborne 2 was designed specifically for next-gen consoles.
Lastly, it would be unwise for From Software to announce Bloodborne 2 this late in the current generation. There is quite a lot of high-profile Sony exclusives to contend with, including The Last of Us 2, Ghost of Tsushima, and Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding. All of these are slated for release later this year and the next.
In any case, From Software is not a developer that pushes sequels just for the sake of it. They have been known to prioritize new IPs first over existing ones.
But given that Bloodborne was one of several games that allowed Sony to dominate this generation in its early years, it’s just a matter of time till they commission From Software to develop the next entry into the series.
What Might Be Included
If From Software is given the green light to develop their sequel to Bloodborne, there are several features or storyline elements that they might include. Or, at the very least, these are ones that fans would like to be included in the next entry.
The one thing that made Bloodborne great is the fact that it gave Souls fans a breath of fresh air with a new setting through Yharnam. It would be such a shame, then, if developers decide to set the story in the same place.
Yharnam is absolutely thematic with its Gothic architecture and nightmarish creature design, but there is this feeling that the grasp of the Nightmare and the Great Ones extends beyond the realm. Perhaps a new region would expand the lore of the Bloodborne story while keeping the narrative vague like other From Software games.
More Brutal Combat
Compared to Dark Souls, the gameplay in Bloodborne is faster and more punishing. You no longer can rely on a shield to block attacks, and rolls have a shorter invincibility frame than previous games.
A star in the gameplay aspect, however, is all the outlandish weapons you can discover and combine with each other. It wouldn’t hurt, then, for From Software to include more diverse weapons that let players creatively tear through a menagerie of Lovecraftian horrors.
Expanding on the gameplay will also fit with the story’s themes of survival under harsh conditions. Also, it gives players an incentive to be more aggressive and take more risks in exploring the world
Souls games are known for their hard but fair gameplay. But would it hurt for From Software to make their games less of a hassle to play through?
It would really help if the developers find a way to make navigation in Bloodborne 2 less cumbersome. Fast travel between safe points, like the camp fires in Dark Souls, would make traversing the dangerous world of Bloodborne less time-consuming.
Also, modes like the Chalice Dungeon should be expanded. It is not as fleshed out as the developers intended in Bloodborne, so a sequel should give them a chance to refine this mode for interested players. Lastly, gameplay quirks like long loading times and frequent framerate drops should be addressed in the sequel.
All in all, the question that needs to be answered is this:
Will It Happen?
The answer is a yes. One cannot deny that Bloodborne, for all its flaws and unforgiving nature, is one of the most iconic games of the 8thGaming Generation. Its blend of an interesting world and brutal gameplay earns it a spot near the heart of many Playstation owners.
And if a sequel is to be announced, all it has to do is one thing: git gud. For From Software developers and Souls gamers alike, taking challenges head on and producing better results each time is something that they are quite familiar with.