It’s high time we got a ‘Dark Souls’ television series, so what is Sony waiting for?

Why a Dark Souls TV Series Would Work
Getty Images/AlexandrBognat/FromSoftware

Sony owns a minority stake in FromSoftware, which is why every so often one of its games ends up a PlayStation exclusive. In a recent chat with Reuters, Playstation Studios head Herman Hulst indicated that it isn’t unthinkable for Sony to consider collaborations outside of the video game medium with developers it has invested in. Upon hearing this, my mind began to race about how a From IP could be adapted into a movie or TV show.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice would be an obvious pick for a direct movie adaptation, containing the most outright exposition of the developer’s back catalog, and Bloodborne could make one hell of a horror flick if finessed correctly. But it’s the prospect of a Dark Souls TV series that excites me the most.

Image via FromSoftware

While video games are more or less unrecognizable compared to what they were 20 years ago, Hollywood’s ability to successfully adapt them to big and small screens has been a considerably slower evolution. At the advent of social media, this began to change and fans started being heard. We made it clear that we would no longer tolerate Hollywood execs and directors making quick, cheap cash grabs on recognizable intellectual property. 

Hear that, Uwe Boll? Take Alone in the Dark, Far Cry, and just about every other game adaptation you’ve ever touched and stick them where the sun don’t shine.

I still wouldn’t categorize what we have now as a “golden age” of video game adaptations. We’re slowly, but thankfully, starting to see true standout gems, with the likes of The Witcher on Netflix and Sonic the Hedgehog, but there are still stinkers being dropped — Lance Reddick deserved better in that abysmal Resident Evil series. 

We’ve got plenty to look forward to, but still plenty to be apprehensive of. While HBO’s The Last of Us is looking promising, the jury is still out on that Super Mario Bros. Movie

Off the bat, let me be clear ⏤ a Dark Souls series would be an absolute flop if it were to focus on the adventures of the Chosen Undead mucking around in Lordran. That’s what the games are for, and they did a great job of it. Instead, it should focus on the treasure trove of lore the world of Dark Souls has on offer and expand upon it. 

Picture a limited HBO series called Dark Souls: The Age of Fire. It’s a working title, and it’s a little bit derivative, but bear with me.

Image via FromSoftware

This hypothetical series would feature an ensemble cast, with the focal point being Gwyn’s court in Anor Londo. Gwyn would be portrayed by an actor who can pull off being a patriarchal tyrant we can root for, and feel for ⏤ and can rock a beard. Maybe Andrew Lincoln could fit the bill in a few years, seeing as Michael Gambon or Ian McKellan would be a little on the nose, but they’re visually quite close to what we’re after.

Whoever our Gwyn ends up being, over the course of the series we get to know him, his offspring, and his four knights ⏤ Ornstein, Artorias (our Dark Souls TV universe Mandalorian, but less monotonous than Pedro Pascal), Ciaran and Gough ⏤ and dig deeper into the relationships between them. 

Beyond the inner court of Anor Londo, we can dive into the political stories unfolding between the crown city and other provinces in and around Lordran ⏤ Oolacile, New Londo, Astora, Catarina, Carim ⏤ the list goes on. Of course, there’d be an interpersonal dynamic at play with the Lord Souls in the possession of Gwyn, Nito, and the Witch of Izalith.

The show could kick off at the pinnacle of Lordran’s prosperity following the realm’s triumph over the dragons (though that could be a miniseries in its own right) and would examine the existential crisis of keeping the First Flame kindled. We all know how that ends.

Imagine something in the vein of the iconic Game of Thrones intro cinematic, panning over a map of Lordran. We get a bird’s-eye view of Anor Londo, Izalith, and so on and so forth. Of course, instead of the triumphant fanfare of the Game of Thrones theme, we have a bleak and Hollywood-appropriate adaptation of Gwyn’s theme being plinked away on the piano with a few booming drums and such. Timestamped reference track below:

There are so many untapped wells of lore within the Dark Souls mythos that could be expanded upon. Beyond the arc of Gwyn’s inevitable downfall, there is rife opportunity for spinoff potential. We could get a 4-6 episode miniseries on the adventures of Artorias and Sif, for instance, and we could get a cheeky faceless Chosen Undead cameo in it for fun (or tears, probably tears). 

We could get a sequel series focusing on Prince Lothric grappling with his inherited duty to link the flame, or a more jovial Catarina spinoff. If we’re getting lazy, we could look into a potential post-apocalyptic I Am Legendesque TV movie about Solaire, or some alternate timeline stuff involving King Vendrick and Aldia (dumping on Dark Souls 2 aside, we can’t deny that there’s a bunch of lore there to dig through).

A caveat to the potential success of a Dark Souls-verse for TV would be the fact that it is quite high fantasy compared to its character-driven TV drama peers, especially when it comes to some of its larger than life characters, namely Gough, Nito, miscellaneous Dragons, etc. They would either need exceptionally well thought-out retconning, redesigns, or casting. It’s either that or an extremely hefty CGI and practical effects budget. 

Image via FromSoftware

Given the fact that Dark Souls has such a well-established, loving fanbase, and there is quite clearly a market for mature fantasy dramas, a Dark Souls TV series would be a smash hit if executed correctly. 

The overarching universe is filled with staples that are found in all of HBO’s biggest hits which fans keep coming back to – complex characters with tragic fates, world-ending prophecies, apocalypses, and living, breathing fantasy locales which audiences would love to take a step into. Pair it all up with the game’s excellent score mixed with a splash of tastefully added Hollywood strings and synths and we’ll have ourselves a real winner. 

We got to know these characters and stories in item descriptions and lore tabs, now let’s bring them to life in a long-form visual medium.

Make it happen, Sony and Miyazaki.