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Dark Souls 3 is bringing brutally hard battling back to PS4, Xbox One, and PC

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We got our first glimpse at Dark Souls 3 two weeks ago, when screenshots and game features were leaked, but the third game in the notoriously tricky action-RPG series has now made its first official appearance. A two-minute trailer, shown during Microsoft's E3 conference yesterday, confirmed both the game's existence and an early 2016 release date. While heavy on the CGI, the game's first trailer was light on details, indicating only that — as with previous Souls games — you'll play as a warrior in a destroyed and dark fantasy land.

Where the last game from Japanese studio From Software — Bloodborne — was PlayStation-only, Namco Bandai says Dark Souls 3 will see release on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. The leak suggests the game will introduce a set of new mechanics to the series, including "swordfighting arts" that work like special moves and let players customize their play style, the ability to create save-point "bonfires" wherever they go, and a mysterious ritual involving human sacrifices that will put a bounty on your head.

Dark Souls 3 details leaked two weeks ago

A European press release for Dark Souls 3 indicated that the game would mark the "final episode" in the series, but importantly, the studio also said that Dark Souls creator Hidetaka Miyazaki was taking on directorial duties. Miyazaki took control of Dark Souls and its predecessor Demon's Souls, before stepping away to oversee the similarly excellent Bloodborne and leaving development duties on Dark Souls 2 to Tomohiro Shibuya and Yui Tanimura. Speaking at the time, From Software said the change was a "company decision," while Miyazaki himself said he wanted "new expressions."

Now president of From Software, we can assume Miyazaki can simply appoint himself onto any project he likes, allowing him to go back to the cult series he created. While his replacements did a fine job with Dark Souls 2, Miyazaki is one of gaming's true visionaries, injecting Dark Souls — and Demon's Souls before it — with mystery, pitch-perfect combat, and an almost unconquerable depth. By welcoming him back as Dark Souls 3's director, developer From Software is making the already promising second sequel an even more enticing prospect.