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Bloodborne: The chalice Dungeon is an area UnIque to each Player.

If nothing else, (aside from being bloody brilliant) Dark Souls loves repetition. Wait! Relinquish your flaming extendable staff. We mean that in the nicest fashion possible. From Software’s past hack ’n’ slash masterpieces revel in making you master areas over and over again with surgical precision. The Souls series has always wallowed in death, using each demise to teach you its exquisite combat mechanics through trial and error. Well, that’s about to change somewhat. As a certain chain-smoking Jurassic Park worker would quip, “hold onto your (bleeding) butts.” 

Enter the Chalice Dungeon: a quasi-procedurally generated underground area of Yharnam that’s individual to each Bloodborne player. “You might see similarities with the old roguelikes,” said director Hidetaki Miyazaki at a UK event celebrating PlayStation’s 20th. Miyazaki would later clarify these comments during a Q&A at the PlayStation Experience, confirming that though each Chalice Dungeon would be bespoke, it would retain the same layout and enemy placements when summoned. “Once you have generated your dungeon after the ritual, the dungeon will stay fixed.” So far, so semi-confusing.


Chalice in underland
“It’s going to remain unchanged for that time,” he continues. “The benefit of that is that it allows us to give players an opportunity to master the dungeon.” The generous slathering of procedural sauce effectively comes with the fact you can share your unique take on the Chalice with other players, according to Miyazaki. “You can share this experience freely. What we’re aiming for is a shared connection between all players.” Quite how the mechanics behind this sharing will work remains unknown. Still, the prospect of playing and passing on a dungeon that’s completely unique to you should bind Souls fans together like never before.

The demo Miyazaki guides us through shows glimpses of just how this procedural pit of death shakes up Bloodborne’s skirmishes. From Indy style boulder traps, to collapsing pits and monster attacks from every angle, the Chalice Dungeon offers one hell of a challenge. “It will be comprised of a lot of layers,” says Miyazaki. “It provides lots of verticality.” Duck! No wait… jump! Look, just don’t stand still, alright?

While you’re dodging for your life via - O - remember there’s no block button now Miyazaki warns you also need to be on the lookout for areas of interest. “There are various activation points; they are locked within various parts of the dungeon.” What do these points lead to? Aside from acting as shortcuts, they can also funnel you towards bosses. Horrible, ‘bring-along-three-pals-or-you’ll-be-deader-than-fried-chicken’ bosses.

The dastard we witness our Victorian slasher and his two co-op compadres face off against can be described thusly: a giant, decomposing wolf… that’s been skinned… and boasts a toothy crocodile head… oh, and also breathes fire. You’re going to need a bigger boat/flamethrower.

Flame game
Actually, fire plays a big part in Bloodborne. Not only does a recent trailer show off a previously unseen flaming tankard weapon, but parts of the Chalice Dungeon are brimming with barbecuing possibilities. Example: in one run, there’s a knee-high lake of oil that just so happens to be inhabited by dudes with fiery swords. Now, we might have missed out on a few seasons of London’s Burning, but even we know flames + oil = all the badness. Tread carefully.

Miyazaki has also confirmed Bloodborne features PvP combat, though wouldn’t be drawn on what form competitive battles may take. Regardless, our already-giddy levels of anticipation for the game’s 27 March release are now in obsessive orbit. Get very excited, then prepare to die.

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