Keep On Livin’: Dark Souls Not Going Anywhere

But you're dead or have been all along or would have been or became or

Life and death are complicated in Dark Souls. You kill someone, then you go have a sit-down and they’re alive again. Or undead again, whatever. Or you rob someone’s grave, then discover you’re the one who offed them in a time travel lark. Accordingly, the life of the game is a bit messy too. With Games for Windows – Live possibly maybe shutting down (I’ll explain–it’s daft), publishers Bandai Namco (they switched the name around in April) have reassured it’ll still be up and running “for the foreseeable future.” As I imagine I’ll like to occasionally revisit Dark Souls for years to come, I’m pretty glad.

Dark Souls “will remain fully functional on GFWL for the foreseeable future,” Bandai Namco explained yesterday. It’s a statement which sparks more confusion than you might expect.

We sorta kinda think Microsoft are turning off GFWL on July 1. Maybe? Microsoft noted the supposed shutdown on the Age of Empires Online support page last August, then swiftly and silently pulled the notice down after people noticed. That several publishers have started ripping GFWL out of their games and replacing it with Steamworks is probably no coincidence, but Microsoft haven’t had much concrete to say publicly about GFWL since. Pretending you didn’t say something only ever makes it worse in the long run, you big sillies.

Microsoft Studios head Phil Spencer hinted in March that something is up, saying they have mysterious plans for the service but that turning GFWL off “isn’t exactly the right thing to do.”

Whatever’s going on, Bandai Namco reassured a little later that “There is no danger of [Dark Souls] being non-functional.” They also say they’re “currently seeking avenues to continue support and ensure the functionality of Dark Souls on other services,” promising more details on that later. Which could suggest that the GFWL service will continue in a way Namco might not want to use. Or it doesn’t. What a big silly mess.

Whether GFWL goes bye-bye or not, it’s good to know I should still have Dark Souls.


  1. SomeDuder says:

    Wish they’d just replace the GfWL functionality with Steamworks, instead of trying to find some patchwork solution. I’m guessing plenty of people still play the first game to warrant the effort (Hell, I only started and finished DS1 last winter).

    I’m guessing that MS is offering some kind of premium service to developers/publishers to keep GfWL going for their game only…

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      I concur, some kind of update error related to GFWL has left my Dark Souls playthrough hanging in limbo. That is, the game is unplayable for me in online mode, although I have no trouble acessing my GFWL profile seperately in a browser.

      No amount of uninstalling, reinstalling, manually updating the various components related to the GFWL “experience” (GWFL executable, Marketplace environment, Login Assistant) or any other – more obscure – potential solution (installing to a different drive, installing Windows Live Essentials and other stuff) was able to change that and after hours of tinkering around I gave up and bought DS II. Which runs like a charm, coop and invasions included. Hopefully, there will be some kind of Steamworks or P2P solution (for coop) available down the line.

    • TheDudesRug says:

      Dark Souls 2 is so much better in connectivity terms. You summon a phantom, and in 80% of the cases he spawns after 10 seconds, or, if it fails, in 95% of the cases you get an instant message that this will not work out. Having to wait one effing minute to know if the phantom will connect or not broke co-op for me in DS.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        I played DS1 90% of the times as hollow, never used co-op, never invaded, almost never got invaded myself as i simply went human for bonfire tinkering only.

        Then, all of a sudden, i find myself in DS2 doing a lot of helping as a SunBro and then later joining the blue sentinels while spamming cracked blue eye orbs to obliterate dem pesky sinners. As a mostly non PvP player i find it amusing that i enjoyed farming over 150 wins with a very good W/L ratio only to get a spell earlier.

        My point? I thought i did it for farming, but now that i think of i’m pretty sure it’s all tied to how good the whole infrastructure is, and the game itself off course.

        The only thing i really farmed is the usual drill of various Titanite thingies and human effigies, which are now at around 180 and i’m never going to be hollow again. Spamming ascetics in Majula is also nice, at bonfire level 8 and onwards you have a full swarm of skeletons in the mansion basement, it gets hectic but each of them guarantees an effigy.

        • mechabuddha says:

          Same. I pretty much played solo through DS1. Now I run through the Doors of Pharros killing those stupid rat players — I don’t even need to place or find a summon sign, the game automatically pulls me in to PvP.

        • Subject 706 says:

          This. Oh so much this. Online connectivity in DS was a real pain, and most often summoning didn’t work. In DS2 by contrast, Everything is so much smoother. Summoning actually almost always succeeds!

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          Imagine if the Looking Glass Knight was in DS1, he’d be dead before even getting halfway to summoning someone with that pesky shield.

          • aliksy says:

            The other day I learned you can stagger the looking glass knight when he’s in that summoning animation. Three point blank dark hails did it on NG+. I wonder if that stops him from summoning players?

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            It does, never managed though because as i finally got more powerful stuff and fought him again in NG+ the thing was already NG++, as i burned an ascetic in NG to farm some of those horrible statues before the boss for a cool armor set.

            Oh and the NG+’d boss was rather a pain aswell at 100 souls level D:

  2. jalf says:

    I think I know what their “mysterious plans” for the service are. They are exactly the same thing they’ve done the last dozen times they said they had plans for the servics: do nothing at all.

    Which, in this case, means “don’t turn off the servers yet”

    Really, GFWL makes sense if you imagine that it’s some abandoned software running on a server somewhere on the MS campus, and no one can quite remember which server it is or where it is. So they can’t update it, and they can’t turn it off.

    • frightlever says:

      This is Microsoft. They can, theoretically, virtualise the entire GFWL server structure and have the image running in a spare corner of one of their servers, without it impacting the existing efficacy of the service too much.

      • MkMax says:

        Microsoft has always being fond of ENDING things, they create things and they END them a few months later, thats why i dont trust them with anything

      • Neutrino says:

        GFWL is a service? News to me. I thought it was just some crap malware that publishers integrated into their game to punish customers who bought their games instead of pirating them.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      The problem if DS don’t change now, in some years MS could back track again and this time BanCo might not have the will to save the game anymore, with possibly a third entry in the series already on the shelves.

      • Polifemo says:

        I’m gonna be “that guy” and remind everyone that Dark Souls 2 is actually the THIRD game of the franchise ( I’m not including the Kings Field games in this since their format makes them completely different games even if the themes, characters and some mechanics are present in the Souls series).

        Also, Im ecstatic about finding out more about Project Beast. Its like the anouncement of Project Dark all over again.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          I acknowledge it’s existence in other comments, but it’s not like i’m suggesting you should read all of them in this page, so don’t worry.

          And i also backtrack on what i said since they also stated that they’ll look for some other service and stay on GFWL only for as long as needed. Let’s hope they deliver on that promise, though.

          Our best hope is for DS3, if it happens, to be the best souls game ever. Not supporting 360/PS3 anymore at last would also be pretty nice.

          • Polifemo says:

            Opinons hurrah!
            Though I am of the opinion that better than making DS3 they are better off making a completely new setting. Which is what Project Beast hopefully is.

  3. RedViv says:

    I like the picture they illustrated the non-explanation with. Jolly old Capra.

  4. Drake Sigar says:

    Microsoft says they’re shutting down the service.

    Bandai Namco says they’re going to keep using the service.

    Good luck with that.

  5. frightlever says:

    Never played DS but I watched the Crate and Crowbar Youtube series – highly recommended – and it seems that even WITH GFWL online and supposedly working, it doesn’t ACTUALLY work most of the time. Xbox Live, for the most part, is a treat to use. Odd that, no?

    I realise it’s a multi billion dollar company with disparate departments, but you’d think someone would be getting paid to vet their policies before they enact them to see what it’s going to do to their public perception.

    • The Random One says:

      GfWL had the potential to become an actual rival to Steam if out was just XBox Live on PC. The biggest hurdle in trying to edge into their territory is that even if you have a service that’s as good as Steam the average gamer won’t want to split their game library. But GfWL had access to XBox Live profiles, which means it could draw in people from console lands and give them a sense of continuity. Now, I get that Microsoft, like all huge companies, doesn’t like consumer freedom and wants to corral them in their walled gardens, which is why Microsoft focuses its gaming efforts on consoles, but I remain aghast that a company one order of magnitude larger than EA or Ubi could create something so worse.

  6. MkMax says:

    i want gfwl to go away so i can BUY IT since my country is not microsoft friendly (even tho they have offices here) i cant even see dark souls 1 on steam

  7. Frank says:

    The “foreseeable future” for a corporation is one fiscal quarter.

    • jrodman says:

      Well, the considerable future is certainly that far, but i don’t really agree that they “forsee” quite that far.

      Good point though.

  8. Geebs says:

    Oh damn it. On a whim, after having enjoyed a bunch of cooperative play in DS2, I started off a new DS1 game. Despite 30 fps and broken online, it absolutely kicks DS2’s arse.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      Absolutely opinable though, especially depending how much weight you give to it’s cons. DS2 improved on so many things that i didn’t even deem in need of improving, to the point that i can’t help but feel BOTH games are fundamentally flawed.

      They’re both still great games, but the true perfection would be a hypothetical DS3 that combines DS, DaS and DaS2 strenghts. I’m pretty sure this is a little unlikely to happen, though.

      Eitherway, feel free to unlock the framerate, i only found one ladder that killed me without the limiter.

      • Geebs says:

        Cool, I’ll give it a try. Don’t suppose you remember which one it was?

        DS2 is a lot slicker, but I mostly play strength-based melee and the parry/roll/backstab mechanics feel better in DkS. That might also be because I’m in the early part of the game so the weapons are less silly. Looking forward to an un-nerfed zweihander though!

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          It’s the one in the room with 3 rats, after going beneath the bridge with the red dragon on top, past Solaire dude, and it only happened if sliding. There might be another one, but even if there is it’s just another in a rather big pool of safe ladders really.

          I re-learned late a lot of things in DS2, like parrying that was a disaster for me at the start, but for rolling you really are forced to get more agility, there are something like two stats that help it grow. The idea is to force you into more stat choices, for which a respec option is a welcome thing, rather than a just an “easymode” feature.

          They’re basically telling you that if you want to be a full strenght dude right from the very beginning of the game, you can’t expect your style to be “elegant”, which means turtling up behind the heaviest shield and gear you can find, maxing your poise and shield stability, even to the point of staying in the “fat roll” range of carry weight.

          • Geebs says:

            That’s pretty much what I did – Pursuer’s greatsword to attack groups, Estoc because of its ability to stunlock dudes until they fall down, big tower shield, strength/dex/adaptability. Then I started to get Miracle envy because I’d be there tanking the bosses and occasionally plinking away a tiny bit of health, and some other Sunbro with a faith build would take out half of the boss’ health bar with a couple of lightning spears and make me feel totally unnecessary, so I’ve gone strength/faith for NG+.

            The trouble is that build, together with a lightning halberd, now just feels like easy mode :(

            Plus poise is now weird and there’s a distinct lack of flattening dudes with the heavier weapons.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            As far as i know now poise in an unnecessary mess of various maths related to the individual poise of various pieces + where you get it + your natural and ring poise and so on, and some is speculation.

            And yeah, faith is pretty huge. Also this: link to + lighting imbuement + L2 charge + S rank faith scaling. GG.

  9. forddent says:

    I kind of hope that GFWL goes away, but at the same time that means I would probably lose my current Dark Souls save, and that would be disappointing, because I quite like my current Dark Souls save.

    The same thing happened when the Batman games dropped GFWL, and it was a shame because I had SO MANY DAMN RIDDLES SOLVED.

    • Rizlar says:

      Back it up gurl! Discovered you could do this after changing my GFWL screen name from the wierd default and appearing to lose my save. There should be a folder somewhere named after your GFWL username, just copy it and call it ‘backup’ or whatever.

  10. amateurviking says:

    Alice will you be doing Darks Souls 2 Nites? Do Dark Souls 2 Nites.

  11. Kefren says:

    I bought this some time ago (to support them when they released it on PC), and probably won’t get round to it for another year or two due to all the games in my collections. I hope it is still playable by the time I get to D in my games list.