One of the highest rated and most beloved titles Sony has in its catalog- and not just on the PS4, but across every system and game that they have ever released- is From Software’s Bloodborne, the Victorian Horror/Lovecraftian themed action RPG that launched in 2015 to great critical acclaim. Bloodborne is widely regarded as the pinnacle of the Soulsborne formula that From Software themselves pioneered, and is regarded as one of the best games of this generation, and indeed, one of the greatest games ever made, period.
That praise is well earned, too- not only is Bloodborne a masterpiece of atmosphere (something that From has always excelled at), but also of level and world design, as well as of moment to moment gameplay mechanics. Even more so, Bloodborne stands as a stunning, shining example of what storytelling unique to video games as a medium can be like, relying on players actually playing the game and engaging with it to convey its plot, rather than giving it to them in uninteractive exposition dumps. Bloodborne is a masterpiece- along with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, it is one of the triumphs of this generation.
It’s as though the game didn’t do well, either- its sales were well over 2 million units worldwide, which is a great result by any standard, and also squarely puts it over the sales of games like inFamous: Second Son, Killzone: Shadow Fall, Ratchet and Clank, and LittleBigPlanet 3. By any standard- critical, commercial, fan reception- the game was a runaway success. Which is why the absence of a follow-up is so baffling. A Bloodborne 2 would be so well received, presumably accrue mass critical acclaim, and sell a whole lot, too- so why doesn’t it exist? Why has it not been announced?
"Bloodborne a masterpiece of atmosphere (something that From has always excelled at), but also of level and world design, as well as of moment to moment gameplay mechanics. Even more so, Bloodborne stands as a stunning, shining example of what storytelling unique to video games as a medium can be like, relying on players actually playing the game and engaging with it to convey its plot, rather than giving it to them in uninteractive exposition dumps."
There are, I feel, several things to consider with this topic- on a commercial front, From Software has found mass success and mainstream acceptance thanks to their multiplatform games, and to them, it would make the most sense to continue to make games hitting as many platforms as possible, rather than working on exclusives. We know, too, that From wants to take a break from the Souls formula, and Bloodborne 2 would be a new Souls game in all but name.
Sony, of course, can always go ahead and make a brand new Bloodborne game – they hold the IP rights – without From if they wish to. And it could still work out well- Bloodborne was worked on by From and by Sony Japan, the latter of whom would presumably still be involved with the new game. Not just that, but From is hardly the only company capable of pulling off Souls style games well- they pioneered the genre, but as games like Nioh show us, other companies can do just as well with their own spin on it.
But for Sony, it may be a strategic decision more than anything else- you see, Bloodborne is unlike anything else in Sony’s catalog. While Sony’s games usually emphasize narrative and storytelling, Bloodborne is squarely focused on its mechanics and game design. Then, too, its pedigree means that it appeals squarely to hardcore and enthusiast gamers- people more willing to spend hundreds of dollars to play a game on your system. But those people have already bought into the PS4, which at this point is at over 70 million units sold- from Sony’s perspective, making a new Bloodborne right now wouldn’t make any sense. In fact, holding it back for the eventual PS5 would be the best thing they could do- announcing a follow up to such a beloved game, and one that has so much cachet with enthusiast and core gamers, as an exclusive to your new system, would mean said enthusiast and core gamers would buy that new system right away. Not only that, but by doing this, Sony could also potentially get the follow up done by From themselves- since it would be a few years down the line, and they may be more willing to go back to the Souls formula by then.
"From Sony’s perspective, making a new Bloodborne right now wouldn’t make any sense. In fact, holding it back for the eventual PS5 would be the best thing they could do- announcing a follow up to such a beloved game, and one that has so much cachet with enthusiast and core gamers, as an exclusive to your new system, would mean said enthusiast and core gamers would buy that new system right away."
The final factor to consider here is the creative one- you see, I feel like one reason Bloodborne works as strongly as it does is due to its central mystery and ambiguity, as well as the sheer shock of its novelty. Bloodborne‘s core strength is its mystery, its atmosphere, its sense of palpable dread and wonder- a Victorian cityscape mingled with a Lovecraftian nightmare, and you’re dropped into it with no explanation. The game is about the discovery of what the hell is going on here- it actively makes its levels, its visuals, its art, its very gameplay mechanics, storytelling techniques, as players work through the game and unravel and uncover the central mystery of what the hell happened in Yharnham, and why it is the way it is.
That central mystery and wonder is what contextualizes everything you do, and is the reason that Bloodborne was heralded as being a fresh reminder of the potency of the Souls formula, after Dark Souls 2 began to make an argument that it might be getting tired. While the central formula of the Soulsborne games is powerful, addictive, and will always make for a good game, it’s only when it is paired with the ambiguity and mystery of the unknown that it is elevated into a masterpiece. That’s the reason that the best received games in this mold- Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls, Bloodborne– were all fresh and new, and not follow ups to anything.
Creating a literal Bloodborne 2 means by necessity ruining the ambiguity and mystery of the first game, because now questions have to be explained, and answers committed to. The dread of an unknown world is gone, because you already know what the world is- even if it’s a new area, you know to expect Lovecraftian horrors and Victorian England urbanscapes. A literal Bloodborne 2 sounds like a terrible idea.
No, the best thing From and Sony could do would be to keep the Bloodborne name, as well as the central idea of a blood borne disease, and put it in a completely new setting, with a completely new mystery. Imagine a Bloodborne 2 set on a space station where people are dying due to a mysterious illness, and eldritch monstrosities are stalking you, as an example- how cool does that sound? It would still be the core Souls formula, and it can still be called Bloodborne 2, but a new setting gives From a fresh creative vision, and it also gives them the chance to rethink their central mechanics again.
"The best thing From and Sony could do would be to keep the Bloodborne name, as well as the central idea of a blood borne disease, and put it in a completely new setting, with a completely new mystery."
So, even if a Bloodborne 2 were to come, and it were to be called that, I feel like From Software and Sony would be best served by taking a complete departure from the existing game- that would really be the only way to honor and respect its legacy properly.
That said, I do feel like, as much as I want something that delights me as much as Bloodborne did back in 2015, we won’t see a proper follow-up any time soon. From Software has indicated, as mentioned, that they want a break from the formula, plus we know they are working on… something else. We don’t actually have any details about it right now. We can also surmise that for Sony, a follow-up would make far more sense with a fresh console cycle than it does right now.
As a result, I don’t think a Bloodborne 2 will happen just yet, and when it does, I feel like it will be very different from the original game. But I don’t think I will mind that, and nor should anyone else- after just how superlatively fantastic the original game was, I think we can all agree that From and Sony Japan have earned the benefit of the doubt.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to GamingBolt as an organization.