Save Our Souls Saves: Dark Souls From GFWL To Steam

AN HILARIOUS SATIRICAL CARTOON: Artorias is labelled 'Steam' and the Chosen Undead he's hacking into is 'GFWL'

Look, are things really so bad in Lordran? Sure, it’s swarming with undead and we’re all a few short hours away from losing our minds, but it works, doesn’t it? Lifts are still moving, traps keep on rolling, and most people have given up on complaining. But wait: this was an elaborate metaphor for Games for Windows – Live. “Bwhaaaaaa?” you cry, unable to believe such artful wordsmithing, but it’s true. And that’s not all. Watch this simile: like the Chosen Undead replacing Lord Gwyn and linking the bonfires, Dark Souls is going from GFWL to Steamworks.

Players will be able to transfer saves, characters, and achievements from GFWL once the Steam version launches in November, Bandai Namco explain. GFWL rankings won’t carry over, they say, which I assume is PvP arena rankings and covenant leaderboards and such.

You’ll need to be quick, mind, as migration won’t be available forever. The early crow catches the burrowing rockworm and all that. More details on quite how all this will work are promised soon.

If you bought Dark Souls on the GFWL Marketplace, I must ask: why? But you’ll be able to get a Steam version for free by going on an dark and dangerous journey into the GFWL Marketplace client to find your GFWL token. You should start on that quest now, as you might have a spot of troubleshooting ahead; I tried to load the client out of curiosity and received an unhelpful “connection error” message.

Amidst the “will they, won’t they” drama about Microsoft potentially shutting down GFWL in July, which didn’t happen, Bandai Namco had said they were looking into bringing the die ’em up to other services. I am glad they are, and won’t miss GFWL at all once it’s gouged out the last of my games.

At least, I think this is what’s going on. Namco Bandai’s language is weirdly stilted, speaking of migrating saves but not explicitly saying they’re removing GFWL, but what else would they be up to? A recent update to Dark Souls’ Steam database entry refers to a “NOG4WL” build too.


  1. Michael Fogg says:

    Praise the sun, etc.

  2. mehteh says:

    If they dont fix the console port issues i still wont buy this

    • mlaskus says:

      Most issues have been fixed by the community.
      link to

    • gi_ty says:

      It works fine. Throw in the graphics mods there really isn’t any reason to still be going on about port issues. If you don’t want to play it fine, but complaining about lazy port with the amazing mods available and the fact that it functions pretty solid overall without them seems a bit trite.

    • sebmojo says:

      You mean the console port issues that were fixed a few hours after release by a couple of tiny files that you drop into the install directory? Those issues?

  3. gnodab says:

    That was the last biggy amongst the GfWL hostages! Well, maybe Bulletstorm, but I have no hopes there.
    Now I can play the Steam Version instead of the cracked version without Multiplayer. Thank you for no longer forcing me to pirate your game!

    The only thing that’s missing now is HHOMMVI without Ubi’s always online bollocks. I can’t even finish the first campaign mission, because I keep getting thrown back into the start menu, due to “disconnects”. Whilst streaming the cooptional podcast without problems, mind you! At least the superior MMX works fine.

    • Horg says:

      You can play HOMM6 by setting uplay into offline mode, but you will lose access to the dynasty features. I wouldn’t bother though because the disconnects are far from the only bug that uplay implementation caused, the whole game is a mess.

      • gnodab says:

        That might be worth a try. What are the other bugs, though? I was never allowed to play long enough to encounter them. And I have to admit I belong to the minority who hated HOMMV. I even liked IV better…. So I’d really like a new HOMM style game. I tried Age of Wonders III but either I am an idiot or the AI is horribly cheating, since I couldn’t even finish the first campaign. And I detest having to play some elven drama anyways. I much prefer the more creative dread penguins.

        • Horg says:

          The worst problem is a memory leak that makes the game slow down and eventually crash. I don’t think that was ever even acknowledged, never mind fixed. Various campaign bugs preventing completion, DLC not registering, sound problems, graphical issues, you name it, it’s probably broken.

          Oh and you might want to take another look at AoW3, Triumph have done some significant re-balancing for single and multi-player. Basically the campaign AI wont snowball to T4 units and end game tech anywhere near as fast as it used to.

          • gnodab says:

            Thanks for the feedback!
            I might have to give AoW3 another try then. And maybe just head straight for scenarios, in case the campaign still sucks.

      • Moraven says:

        Never had problems with the game or uPlay.

        The Dynasty system seems silly to be connected to an always online system.

    • Person of Interest says:

      I didn’t think Namdai Banco would ever ship a GFWL-less version, but if they actually do, I’ll definitely buy it.

      Another game overdue to shed its GFWL is DiRT 3. Codemasters sent a press release to all the gaming news sites last year announcing a switch to Steamworks, except they never finished the damn patch!

    • gi_ty says:

      UPlay is such garbage. I have had worse experiences with that than any with G4WL. Far Car 3 just completely quite working after I finished half 3/4 of the game. It just CTD’s no matter what I’ve done to try to fix it. Its buggy and slow and feels incredibly bloated, especially when your running steam on top of it all. Whoever thought up UPlay is a fool. It seriously cant come anywhere near the usability of Steam or even Origin.

  4. SigmaCAT says:

    I just shared this on my facebook. All it reads is “YEAHHHHHHH” with twenty-seven H’s.

    I will finally be able to play this game for real without stealing it. I made around half a playthrough, then stopped at Smough and Ornstein (this was with a cracked version). I then decided to pick it up at 7€ on Steam, because I really really wanted to try the multi. Thanks to GFWL I never could but THIS! This is great-awesome-poop news.

  5. RaveTurned says:

    If they do confirm the game’s online capabilities will be fully functional after GFWL is finally taken offline, there’s a fair chance I’ll pick this up at last. Probably in a sale, but still.

  6. Spacewalk says:

    Yeah! I can buy it now!

    • Hex says:

      Yay, I bought it several months ago but I’ll finally be able to play it soon!

  7. Wowbagger says:

    \[+]/ Solaire is excited by this prospect.

  8. Horg says:

    Removing GFWL is potentially great news. However, if it breaks the mouse fix mod then it could be bad. We probably wont have any way of knowing how this will affect mods until the change over is made, and if they are only giving us limited time to make the switch then it’s going to be a bit of a gamble.

    • karthink says:

      I read it as limited time to transfer your saves. The game will probably receive a giant patch that makes the GFWL go away irrespective of when you update it.

  9. Eglath says:

    Hope that won’t affect the graphic mods though, can’t bear the game running at 720p30fps.

    • Gessen says:

      And those beautiful textures modes and shaders :(

      • Eglath says:

        Textures shouldn’t be a problem, the vac for Dark Souls 2 didn’t ban players for modding textures, or so I’ve heard.

  10. amateurviking says:

    What price dedicated servers a la DS2?

    I want the moon on a stick too.

  11. Kefren says:

    I’m just curious – what is GFWL or Steamworks for in this game? (I own it but haven’t played it yet). I only play games like this single player, can you not just choose that option and not be pestered by either of those services?

    • Dr I am a Doctor says:

      For online gameplay, you brainiac.

      • Kefren says:

        Ah, thank you doctor. But … I thought it was a single-player game, with some optional optional facility to message other players (something I’d turn off if it was an option).

        • Scumbag says:

          The whole game is a giant interlinked world. Multiplayer is there if you want in a funkey risk / reward way, but events in one person’s world can trigger small things in other player’s worlds. The messages are littered everywhere and are not as intrusive as they sound (messages carved on the floor from preset phrases, so more “Be wary of Enemy” as opposed to “UR GAY”) plus small things like bells ringing in other player’s worlds, bloodstains that show the last moments of another player’s fate (very handy at times) and other such things.
          Its a funny thing as while I was hesitant about seeing that stuff in game at first, I cant imagine playing it now without all the extras.

          • BlueTemplar says:

            Still, will you be able to play it without Steam, and if yes, what features will you lose?

          • Scumbag says:

            I guess with the article here it’ll be a Steamworks game, so I doubt its playable without Steam unless you pirate the game.
            You’ll loose the messages, ghosts and summoning abilities, which is not game breaking, but the game will seem far more of a slog for it. A lot of the design is to coax people to cooperate and communicate how to do some of the more obscure parts e.g. the whole DLC part of the game is very easily missed. Also some of the bosses are designed for multiplayer in mind, so they will be far tougher.

          • BlueTemplar says:

            There’s a growing list of Steamworks video games that can be launched without the use of the Steam client :
            link to
            Notable in that list is Counter Strike : Source, which is a mostly multiplayer game.
            P.S.: Also, it would seem that among video games that can be launched without the use of the Steam client, Steamworks video games might actually outnumber Non-Steamworks video games!

          • HothMonster says:

            You can play it offline. The core things you would lose are, ability to summon co-op help and the pvp invasion mechanics (though there are NPC versions of both, not as extensive but you would get a taste). The small additional things you lose are what he mentioned, messages, bloodstains, and other minor things that ripple through the game world. While these small things don’t affect you a great deal as far as actually playing, they do have a huge affect on the atmosphere of the game.

            At it’s core DS is a single player game and can be played that way from end to end. But I really really recommend playing it online if possible. Even if you never summon a co-op companion and hide from invasion as much as possible you still lose something without being connected. It’s hard to put into a online comment and explain to someone who never played but online is not just your standard co-op and pvp it plays a large part in the games ambiance.

  12. MykulJaxin says:

    This is a chance to start fresh for me. In my first ever game of Dark Souls, I, a foolish noobling, was too frightened of invasions to regain my humanity, so I soloed up to the Lord Soul bits with naught but my Elite Knight armor and Black Knight Sword and was stuck down at Nito. I had been selling pieces of equipment for paltry souls along the way, making subsequent playthroughs more mandatory than they already were. So now I can start over from the beginning and shoot for all the achievements in a more economical fashion.

    • fish99 says:

      Nothing foolish about playing the game that way, I stayed hollowed for pretty much the whole of all 3 Souls games.

      • aliksy says:

        i pretty much stayed hollow in Dark Souls 1 to avoid invasions. It’s the sensible thing to do. Summoning help makes the game dramatically easier (assuming the help is competent), and I kind of liked how that required risking some asshole coming into to your world to murder you and all your friends.

        I invaded in blight town a lot. I may be a monster.

  13. zentropy says:

    All of my yes! Been waiting forever for this to happen. I’m so fucking excited I think I just came a little bit. :O

  14. suibhne says:

    I’m unclear on what this means for current Steam copies of the game. I’d love to migrate my GfWL-under-Steam savegames over to Steamworks-under-Steam, but I can’t figure out if this applies to me, too, or only to people purchased a non-Steam version of DS.

    • lordfrikk says:

      Like any other Steamworks game, all versions will be Steam-only from that moment on.

      • suibhne says:

        I understand that. Awesome. But will folks in my position (purchased via Steam, were saddled with GfWL anyway) face any savegame migration issues? I lost dozens of hours of savegames in previous titles like Batman:AA due to GfWL bullshit.

  15. pepperfez says:

    My optimism is yet to be rewarded, but I still hope that GoG Galaxy provides an alternative to Steamworks for this sort of thing. A DRM-free option would surely do less to encourage piracy than GFWL did.


    Yes, but what about FUEL? That is the big question.

  17. Kohlrabi says:

    And now, Namco Bandai, add 60Hz mode, pretty please with sugar on top. :)

  18. Stephen Roberts says:

    I sure hope I’m back in time to catch the save game transfer process! Why is there a time window on that?

    Additionally, for all it’s heinous faults (such as denying my friends the simple ability to play Dark Souls in the first place) I did notice one awful loss from Dark Souls 2 being moved to Steamworks: You can’t just send someone a message. As far as I can see, steam requires you to be friends first before you can start name calling. A great part of Dark Souls was the messaging back and forth between invasions, cooperation and tomfoolery. But I don’t want to add everyone to my friends list.

    Shocking to think GfWL got something right.

    • Wowbagger says:

      Yes being flamed by illiterate knuckle draggers was always part of the charm for me.

    • Josh W says:

      It’s funny, because that feature seems quite contrary to the design of the game; your interactions with other players are quite fragmentary (excluding the effects of specific orbs), you run into players, you have periods when you are together or apart. It’s not as passing as journey is, but it’s in the same zone of accidental pervasive multiplayer, where you run into other players rather than seeking them out.

      The structure of the hints reinforces this, spreading very far but hiding the details of the personality of the other player. There’s a distance to the game that I find distinctive, and quite nice, forming a kind of alternative train journey or dance floor or ticket cue, where we can have passerby interactions that are different from the ones you have anywhere else, and have been designed to be interesting, but don’t have their meaning from depth of relationship, as if humanity is all about getting to know people. People can be interesting if they are weird people you barely ever get to know, weird ghosts who impinge on your life for moments and disappear, leading to you loosing all your souls you spent ages gathering graaagh.