Gamers in Japan who "acquired" an early copy of the upcoming Dark Souls have received a very nasty in-game surprise courtesy of the developer.
Dark Souls comes out in Japan tomorrow, September 22, yet some gamers in the country who know people who know people are playing it at this very moment. That fact apparently doesn't sit too well with From Software, the studio that created the game, and so it took advantage of a feature that allows players to "invade each other's worlds" to make its displeasure known.
The studio is sending maximum level "Black Phantoms" into the games of anyone currently playing, presumably to teach them the error of their ways by tearing them a new one. And tear them they will; as Edge notes, Black Phantoms enter the game at level 145, with 1900 hit points and all abilities maxed out at level 99, an absolute juggernaut compared to its own level 45 reviewer, who has 1001 hit points and abilities topping out at level 30 - after nearly 60 hours of play.
It's a cruel and unusual punishment, yes, and it's also entirely awesome. I detest always-on DRM, which I assume the Dark Souls system requires (the original source article at Esuteru is in Japanese, so I'm just guessing there), but if a developer or publisher is going to insist on using it, this is how it should be done.
Dark Souls comes out in North America on October 4 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.