We could have had a 2D pixel art Metroidvania take on Dark Souls III, but publisher Bandai Namco rejected the pitch. Pixel artist Thomas Feichtmeir (“Cyangmou”) revealed this recently on Twitter. He explained that the project had been pitched by a team six years ago, and now that its relevant non-disclosure agreement is up, he is free to shed a bit of light on it. He also shared an image he created for the 2D Dark Souls III Metroidvania pitch.
The image shows some familiar Dark Souls HUD elements, such as health, magic, and stamina bars, as a pixelated player fights off the Dancer of the Boreal Valley, one of Dark Souls III’s most iconic boss fights. It looks like players would have been able to accumulate Souls and maybe even use an Estus Flask or two, but the image is just a mock-up. Of course, we’ll probably never know what it would have felt like to play a 2D Metroidvania version of Dark Souls III, but you can at least get a sense of what it would have looked like in the image below.
Dark Souls III launched in early 2016 and served as the finale for FromSoftware’s Dark Souls trilogy. Judging by what little information Feichtmeir has shared so far, the pixel art spinoff was pitched pretty close to the main game’s release date. In a follow-up tweet, he added that, from his understanding, FromSoftware would not have been involved in the offshoot. Pixelated Dark Souls III seemed to not make it past the pitching phase, but Feichtmeir would later incorporate the art style used here for the game Blasphemous.
Some fans have already pointed out that, while Dark Souls III did not get a full-fledged Metroidvania spinoff, it did receive a pixelated promotional tie-in in the form of Slashy Souls. Funded by GameStop, this endless runner launched for mobile devices just before Dark Souls III launched. It’s… fine at best and a far cry from what we could have received.