King's Field Influences the Souls Series

King’s Field lays the foundation for the creation of the Souls games.

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King’s Field laid the foundation for the creation of Miyazaki’s Souls games. It is the necessary series that enabled the birth of Demon’s Souls, the first game that successfully applied Miyazaki’s blueprint for a challenging dark fantasy game with arduous combat and obscure game mechanics.

Miyazaki was responsible for the spice that gave life to the base template already present in the King’s Field series, but without these early games, the Souls games would not be what they are now.

Discover how the King’s Field series contributed to the creation of the Souls games and how they influenced FromSoftware’s most successful franchise.

Influences of King’s Field on Souls Games

Stamina Bar

All the Souls games are known for their combat mechanics. No matter how difficult the games are or whatever shortcomings they might have, the fans have never criticized per se the combat of the games. It is the core of the Souls games and was never compromised.

And the foundation of the Souls combat is the stamina bar. This is what prevents the game from becoming a mindless hack and slash that are prevalent outside FromSoftware. It laid the firm restriction that enabled Miyazaki to build up layers of game mechanics that aim to reward great difficulty with a sense of accomplishment.

Except for Sekiro, all the Souls games will have the stamina bar present, typically restricting the physical attacks and even spells, miracles, and pyromancies. Players will not be able to spam actions and must manage their character’s stamina.

The first King’s Field already contains the stamina bar, with a behavior that is consistent with the future Souls games.

Open World - Free Roam

All the Souls games are open-world games in the context that the player is not encumbered by a story or a game mechanic that prevents him from going anywhere he wants. Yes, the flow of the experience is structured and designed beforehand, but the player is never placed on rails. The experience is never scripted, unlike in other games like Horizon Zero Dawn or Red Dead Redemption, both considered “open world” but extremely restrictive to the players.

This nature of openness in the Souls games is present as early as the first King’s Field games. The player can go anywhere he wants and is only restricted by a hindrance in the game that is consistent with its free-roaming nature.

Aural Fidelity

Aural fidelity is a characteristic of games, which means high integrity, consistency, and immersiveness in the way sound is used for the player’s experience. It is what makes a game more real and less gamey. In the Souls games, when a player is exploring a dark dungeon, he might hear the grunts or breathing of a monster. When he hears that, he knows that danger is near, and he might be ambushed soon. He might hear walking steps that get louder in a certain direction. Such aural cues are what contribute to aural fidelity.

In addition, the presence or absence of sound or music in the parts of the game contributes to aural fidelity. The Souls games have a high immersiveness and realism that is consistent with what a player will actually feel when entering a dark dungeon.

As early as the first games of King’s Field, this attribute is already present. You can hear monsters before even seeing them. Plenty of auditory cues will guide the player in his adventure.

Meticulous Combat

We already covered the stamina bar above and shared that it’s the foundation of combat in the Souls games. In this section, we will cover the level of realism that the Souls games try to achieve in conjunction with the stamina bar.

The Souls games use the concept of armor and weapon weight. The heavier your armor or weapon, the slower the movement and combat capability of the character. As early as the first King’s Field games, FromSoftware is already using this concept to add depth to the action and RPG elements of the game.

In addition to affecting movement speed, weight also affects stamina consumption. The heavier an item is, the more stamina it consumes.

In the King’s Field games, you would not be able to hack and slash your way to success. Every move counts. You have to learn each enemy pattern and respond with proper timing to defeat them.

Unencumbered Storytelling

The King’s Field games are light in story and are by intent. They are not games that will put the player in a rail where he has no choice but to experience the scripted sequence of events as designed by the game creator.

At the hands of Miyazaki, the level of environmental storytelling will reach its peak and will become one of the main features of the Souls games instead of a limitation. But as early as the first entries of the Kings’ Field series, this is already present.

Weapon Degradation

Weapon degradation is present in all of the Souls games, except for Sekiro. It is a concept wherein a weapon will diminish in effectiveness after continuous use. A visit to the blacksmith is needed to regain a weapon’s original quality.

This game mechanic is present as early as the second King’s Field game.

High Difficulty

The Souls games are known for being highly challenging and difficult. The first thing the new players learn when playing them is that they do not comprise and can be brutally punishing.

In the same sense, the King’s Field games are the same. In fact, the game Demon’s Souls followed the same path that the first King’s Field experienced - disliked and criticized for being difficult and frustrating, but later on, it built up a following and a fanbase through word-of-mouth and finally became a commercial success.