Bandai Namco grow their own Soulslike with Code Vein

Bandai Namco published From Software’s splendid Dark Souls games but, as that series ends, it seems Bamco want to make a Soulslike of their very own – one raised on anime and fizzy pop. They’ve recently announced Code Vein [official site], an action-RPG which looks Soulslike in the ways imitators often do. This one, though, is set in the not-too-distant future of our own world, where something apocalyptic has left the remains of humanity as empty monsters lusting for blood. Bamco haven’t confirmed release platforms for Code Vein yet but nearly all their big games hit PC nowadays so let’s go ahead and watch this trailer:

Talk of folks losing themselves in bloodlust and becoming “the Lost” is all very Soulslike and yup, the brief snippets of action looks Souls-ish (not that Dark Souls invented all this, of course). But imitators and admirers do struggle to capture the magic. Our Brendan will tell you that level design is what really makes Dark Souls sing.

Anyway, what’s going on in that trailer? Bamco say:

“In the not too distant future, a mysterious disaster has brought collapse to the world, as we know it. Towering skyscrapers, once symbols of prosperity, are now lifeless graves of humanity’s past pierced by the Thorns of Judgment. At the centre of the destruction lies a hidden society of Revenants called Vein. This final stronghold is where the remaining few fight to survive, blessed with Gifts of power in exchange for their memories and a thirst for blood. Give into the bloodlust fully and risk becoming one of the Lost, fiendish ghouls devoid of any remaining humanity.

“In this challenging action-RPG, Code Vein finds players assuming the role of a Revenant. After stumbling into Vein, players are tasked to embark into the world with a companion picked from the various residents of Vein to uncover lost memories and an exit out of this new demented reality. The world of Code Vein is dangerous, full of vicious enemies and monstrous bosses to put players’ combat skills to the test.”

Me, I’m in this for the lore. I’m already salivating, a puddle forming in the well of my keyboard, imagining that Code Vein is full of rich and deep lore in item descriptions. Swords and hats will surely tell tales of lost heroes known by such grand titles as Steph From Accounting, Morag Next Door, Muhammad Upstairs, Ian Video Games, and Michael Winner. Who where these people, how were they undone, and what can we learn from them?

We’ll find out when Code Vein arrives in 2018, presumably on PC.


  1. Yukiomo says:

    Surely you agree his name would be Ian Videogames, Alice.

  2. brgillespie says:

    The Revenant’s power emanates from his carefully-feathered jRPG hairstyle.

  3. Jokerme says:

    Looks like they are trying a little too hard. I hope it turns out good, though. But it all depends on the gameplay. If it’s bad nothing else matters.

    • Alien says:

      For me it`s not the gameplay that makes the “Soulsborne” games special, it`s the art and level design.

      This however doesn`t look good at all…

  4. Spacewalk says:

    Dark Souls nothing, it looks like Darksiders with a wee-coloured filter over the top.

  5. TheDreamlord says:

    Bah, attacks don’t look like they connect, they just pass through. That’s not soulslike at all, even if they wish it to.

  6. Merry says:

    empty monsters lusting for blood

    It’s another bloody zombie game isn’t it.

  7. trollomat says:

    Even if it comes really close to soulslike levels of gameplay, atmosphere and level design, I’m gonna have a truly hard time swallowing the manga people. I will though, of course, soulslusting as I am, but I’ll never understand how people can be into that.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      I’ll never understand how people can write off an entire medium like that. Even if it’s conceivable for them to find no enjoyment at ALL in something so vast and varied, which I’ll grant you I can just about come to terms with, it boggles the mind that this hypothetical person could fail to see how others might. It’s a big thing encompassing pretty much every genre in existence, is it really that hard to understand that people could take joy from pictures on a page or a screen?

      Anyway, yes. Looks neat I think. I’m not as invested in Souls as some, but I like me some good solid combat, so here’s hoping this nails it.

      • FreshHands says:

        As everyone knows, you are both right.

        On the other hand I have really outgrown manga, anime, samurai, katanas, waifus, bad poetry and powerfantasies.

        That’s the reason I am a little afraid of From doing a nipponese-style soulslike.

        BB and DS are basically Western fantasy seen through Japanese eyes. Fusion of worlds, simply amazing.

        • jcvandan says:

          Never heard of Waifu before but googled it after reading your comment and all I can say is…lol.

        • Skandranon says:

          I genuinely can’t believe anyone can claim to have outgrown power fantasies and still play video games.

      • popej says:

        To be fair you could quite easily switch the pertinent words in your musings and ask the same questions in reverse.

    • Addie says:

      As a souls-o-phile myself, as long as the gameplay is right, I’m in.

      Regarding the art direction, as long as you can see what you’re doing well enough to play it, then whatever works, works. If they were repeat the Dark Souls-style surrealistic approach, where the impossible and fantastical is rendered as realistically as possible, then they’d get accused of being a knock-off. If they were to attempt the Lords Of The Fallen-style heavy-metal-cover-on-steroids look, they’d probably get mocked openly, much as that was a fun enough (7/10) game. If they stick with the cartoonish anime on realistic background style they have here, then at least it should make it easier to read the enemy attacks. And if their design team has more experience with anime-style design, then the execution should be better than if they’d attempted a realistic style.

      Besides which, looking back at the history of videogames, the games which have attempted photorealism are all the ones which have fallen from grace the hardest. The games with the strongest art direction are the ones which still hold up. Why set yourself up for failure?

  8. CurseYouAll says:

    Poor man’s Dark Souls

  9. ColonelFlanders says:

    Meh. I’m going to keep ignoring all these nonsense try-as-you-mights for a good while longer. I think Dark Souls needs 15 years to mature so that some spunky developer can rip off that philosophy with the technology of modern times. Kind of like Mizayaki did with Zelda, actually.

    • DelrueOfDetroit says:

      What do either Miyazakis* have to do with Zelda?

      *assuming that’s a typo

  10. mitthrawnuruodo says:

    So have we renamed the whole action RPG genre as Soulslike?