Dark Souls II stands ready to consume our very souls when we least expect it (well, technically this March), and yet we relish the thrill of standing at the brink of death. Challenge has always been the name of the game in From Software's "Souls" action adventure franchise, but that leads to a challenge for marketing as well.
Namco Bandai's marketing director Lee Kirton admits that by all rights, a title like Dark Souls II should a "menace" in today's mainstream gaming market. Kirton wants Dark Souls II to appeal to the market that enjoys games like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, yet the publisher won't have the luxury of labelling it as an accessible, open world title. No sir, Dark Souls and its sequel are all about getting your arse kicked in many different ways.
That means sharing the message that dying will happen a LOT in Dark Souls, but Namco Bandai feels it's equally important it doesn't turn off players as a result. Kirton explains that the publisher will be refining how it spins the series as a result, turning the gloomy "You Will Die" and "Prepare To Die" sentiment into something more encouraging like "Go Beyond Death."
We already see shades of this in Dark Souls II promotional materials like the new trailer, which is all about getting back on your feet no matter how many times you get roasted alive and stuff. Speaking of promotional materials, Kirton also confirms that Namco Bandai's marketing budget for Dark Souls II will be over £1 million ($1.6 million USD) in the UK alone, so it's taking this game pretty seriously. It doesn't get more serious than Dark Souls, after all.