CI Games HexWorks’ Lords of the Fallen was by no means the sequel we were waiting for (Marvel’s Spider-Man 2), but it may prove itself to be the one we needed. The developers have been a little vague with their intentions for the game. Sure, every studio wants to make a AAA box-office bomb that enthralls millions of players, but here, it seems much more than just a shot at critical acclaim for the studio.
The game’s title is exactly that of its 2014 prequel, which looks to me as if CI Games wants to right the wrongs of its past, hence Lords of the Fallen is being represented as a soft reboot rather than a direct sequel. And unlike the 2014 iteration, the reboot doesn’t appear to be Soul-less and bumming, at least that’s what I can say judging from the trailers we’ve seen so far. There’s a lot about it that screams “This is going to be amazing“, but it has got lots that could go wrong as well. This article discusses Lords of the Fallen’s release date, its quirky take on the genre, and why it may just become your new favorite Soulslike.
Lords of the Fallen Release Date
Lords of the Fallen is set to grace our gaming screens on October 13, 2023. The release date was officially announced in late May 2023, accompanied by an exciting gameplay trailer. As previously mentioned, the game will be available on Windows PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X and Series S platforms.
The cinematic trailer shown during Gamescom 2022 had most of us in awe, mostly because everything featured was high quality, exciting, and the perfect incarnation of what a Soulslike game is supposed to be. Lords of the Fallen felt, dare I say, something made by FromSoftware, and the reception was that if the game plays half as good as it looks, it would be a massive success.
Fast-forward to the present day, so much more has been shared by HexWorks. The gameplay footage is twice as good as the cinematic content we saw. Enemy and weapon variety, magic, co-op, Lords of the Fallen is packed with it all. Some are convinced it’s similar to Elden Ring in all the good ways, and hopefully, that’s true.
Semi-open World Design With An Expansive Scope
HexWorks hasn’t been subtle with the latest trailers, they want to show us Lords of the Fallen is a bold take on the genre. It’s allegedly going to be a semi-linear open-world experience, akin to the recent God of War games. However, even the seemingly linear segments promise to be stretched out by giant boss rooms and expansive locations, as showcased in the gameplay reveal.
The overlapping reality system in Lords of the Fallen is another fascinating feature it boasts. Axiom is the world of the living, while Umbral is the world of the dead which can be accessed by using the magical lantern the trailers for the game have been showing off so heavily. It’s safe to assume that this multilayered reality mechanic will be the make-or-break aspect of the game.
FromSoftware IPs, especially Dark Souls, are major inspirations for the title. It’s no wonder why the gothic vibe, brutal combat, and riveting world design feel so familiar after watching Lords of the Fallen, and that’s why many are referring to it as Dark Souls 4. There’s no doubt that this is going to be CI Games’ most ambitious, biggest, and pivotal project to date. Its launch will be a few weeks after Bethesda’s Starfield releases in September 2023, so mark your calendars for both.
Lords of the Fallen Story And Gameplay
According to HexWorks, Lords of the Fallen is set roughly 1000 years after the original game. The Demon God Adyr‘s resurrection is drawing near, and as a member of the Dark Crusaders, your goal is to prevent that. Adyr was the antagonist of the original Lords of the Fallen too. It’s a soft reboot, so most of the lore will be followed up on in the sequel.
The synopsis might seem a little on the simpler side of things, but the Dark Fantasy setting, intriguing RPG elements, bleeding-edge graphics, and good music choice do more than recompense for that — if the story ends up disappointing that is, which I highly doubt.
If you pay attention to the trailers, it is noticeable that the combat has an extra serving of adrenaline rush on top of what one would usually expect from a Soulslike. Sure, like any other game, there are plenty of mechanics that are unique to Lords of the Fallen, but HexWorks has said that their take on the Souls genre will be snappy and fast-paced. It’s also very refined compared to the 2014 original, which rocked quite a clumsy combat system and non-aggressive enemies.
An Unreal Engine 5 AAA Soulslike
Apart from being among the first ever single-player games to employ Epic’s Unreal Engine 5, Lords of the Fallen is (probably) also going to be the first AAA Soulslike to do so. While several highly anticipated titles utilizing Unreal Engine 5, such as Black Myth: Wukong and Hellblade 2, have been officially announced, their actual emergence into the gaming realm remains scarce at best.
The crisp textures, stellar gameplay, and innovative world-building crafted in Unreal Engine 5 are nothing short of awe-inspiring. But that’s long overdue as the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles have dropped years ago now, and we’ve hardly seen any game capable of pushing them close to their limits. Hogwarts Legacy, and God of War: Ragnarok only seem to have scratched the surface of what the consoles are capable of, and Lords of the Fallen will likely take things up a notch.
Multiplayer, Endings, And Heaps More
The developer is actively promoting immersive storytelling and the option to complete the entire playthrough in co-op mode as selling points, and so far, both aspects come across as wonderful. Reports have stated that multiple endings are a thing in the game, which wouldn’t be surprising since the original came with three as well. Regarding multiplayer, there is no official confirmation yet regarding cross-platform matchmaking support. Apart from that detail, you can expect to enjoy conquering the game alongside your friends.
The game starts off with the character creation screen and then lets you pick from 9 classes as per the usual RPG routine. Afterwards, it’s all a descent into madness as you prevent Adyr’s awakening. Expect to witness mayhem, horror, and a lot of rage as Lord of the Fallen has promised all three.
How Lords of the Fallen Can Redefine The Souls Genre
If there is one thing I’ve consistently done in this article, it’s praising Lords of the Fallen — and this is coming from someone who considers the original “mid“. When I first saw the cinematic reveal trailer, I was bewildered by the direction and art style. I genuinely couldn’t find any complaint, and unsurprisingly, it wasn’t just me who was impressed. The entire Souls community was amazed then and still is.
But initial excitement wasn’t quite as high as it is now. This was due to the fact that when players learned it was a successor to the 2014 game of the same name, bitter memories were instantly revived. Fast-forward a couple of more trailers, and this version of Lords of the Fallen seems to be unbelievably good, almost as if it’s the creation of entirely different developers — which it actually is.
Lords of the Fallen Is A First For HexWorks
The original was co-developed by Deck13 and CI Games, but the sequel is being made by HexWorks, a subsidiary studio of CI Games founded in 2020. Lords of the Fallen marks HexWorks’ inaugural release, and its reception will undoubtedly shape our expectations for any future endeavors from the studio.
While it’s technically still CI Games making the sequel, the announcement of a new studio helming the project removed some negativity, if nothing else, since they have no track record. The representation has been clear as well thus far, and the more I see of Lords of the Fallen, the more I’m convinced it’ll play like exactly what Souls fans want it to.
Albeit it is concerning as this is HexWorks’ first game as a studio, and on top of that, it’s a Soulslike, which is exponentially harder to pull off. In any case, the game doesn’t appear to be half-baked, and there’s no harm in looking forward to things turning out for the better.
As the Lords of the Fallen release date draws nearer, HexWorks continues to reveal new images, footage, and tidbits about the lore. The information influx will likely increase tenfold in the coming months before the official launch, so expect September to be filled with marketing.
But October isn’t exclusively going to be full of the Soulslike fever. Alan Wake 2 is also arriving the 17th October 2023, while Assassin’s Creed: Mirage will hit gaming rigs worldwide on the 12th October.
Fall 2023 is shaping up to be the best time of the year, so save the date as HexWorks will Unleash The Darkness soon.
Tayyab’s an anime & gaming enthusiast, and since he can’t make them (yet), he loves to write about why he finds them amazing.
Also, he’s a huge Hideo Kojima fan, and everything else that’s Japanese for that matter.