There will be one less reason to praise the sun next year. Atlus announced it will be shutting down the servers that allow online play in its classic PlayStation 3 exclusive, Demon’s Souls, on February 28, 2018.
Losing online functionality will genuinely shift the way the game plays. While it’s always been possible to play the game entirely offline, the online mode enabled cooperative and competitive gameplay between players, the ability to leave helpful (or hindering) messages, and one of the coolest conceits for a boss fight in an ostensibly single-player game. The latter involved pulling in random players to take the form of the boss and try to stop another player from advancing in the story.
Atlus had originally planned to shut down the servers way back in 2012, but said it found a way to “continue to invest in and support our fans as they have continued to invest in and support us and Demon’s Souls.”
Many games today are built with online functionality at their core. What does it mean for the future of game preservation if so much of the experience depends on a company both continuing to exist and continuing to support a title they’ve long since stopped earning money from?
Regardless of the broader questions, enjoy the next few months with Demon’s Souls. The game will never be the same again.