With Lords of the Fallen (yes, they dropped the ‘The’ for the reboot) releasing later this year, one of the first Souls-like games not developed by FromSoftware is coming for Dark Souls’ legacy, and we had a chance to watch a preview and chat with Hexworks creative director Cezar Virtosu at GDC 2023 in San Francisco. There’s a lot going on with Lords of the Fallen, and one of the biggest changes in the RPG game genre is coming to bonfires.
“I think it’s high time to discuss a breakthrough that we’re doing: the ability to create your own bonfires,” Virtosu says. That’s right, those paragons of safety from Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Elden Ring will be placeable. But before you start worrying though, Virtosu knows this is controversial, so it won’t be easy to do.
“You’re perhaps wondering, ‘are you adding a manual save to a hardcore game?’ We are, but creating this anchor requires three to five Umbral Seeds. We’re still tweaking the number exactly, but it’s expensive.”
You get Umbral Seeds from exploring Umbral – the more dangerous version of the overworld you go to when you die, which you can explore while alive with a lantern that transforms the area it lights into its umbral counterpart, and is layered directly on top of the base game – and killing marked ones, but a drop isn’t guaranteed. Virtosu tells PCGamesN that these placeable bonfires are an “investment of time, luck, and drop rate,” and not something to be placed lightly.
Lords of the Fallen’s placeable bonfires can also only be put down one at a time, so if you already have one in the world and drop another, the first will be overwritten. “We’re currently still tweaking if our bonfires can be destroyed or not,” Virtosu adds. “Because currently, our given bonfires are few and far between.”
We still don’t have a release date for Lords of the Fallen, so Hexworks is still fine-tuning exactly how the anchor/bonfire mechanic will work, but Virtosu tells us exactly why you can place bonfires, and this won’t change: “We give you enough tools to mitigate challenge, but it’s all about mastery, like is this a good place for you to rest?”
If this Lords of the Fallen mechanic interests you, Virtosu also told PCGamesN all about how it’ll be taken to the next level in New Game Plus, where you can only use bonfires placed yourself.
“In New Game Plus, there are no bonfires, only the craftable ones,” Virtosu says with confidence. “The interconnectivity of the world will shine because you’ll be able to go everywhere by foot and rely on your own bonfire to progress. This is the unadulterated vision of the game.”
Virtosu adds that Hexworks scaled this mechanic back on the first playthrough to help players master the mechanics of the world of Lords of the Fallen, only to truly test them the next time around. You’ll still keep all your stats, items, and character in New Game Plus too, and of course, the game will be harder as well.
Lords of the Fallen is releasing on PC via Steam and the Epic Games Store later this year.
If you want more, we’ve got a list of the best fantasy games available on PC right now, and it’s currently unclear if Lords of the Fallen will end up joining them.