This feature is a database of gathered knowledge from articles, ingame dialogue, player theories and various other sources to find ties and confident links between the two games universes.
DISCLAIMER: A lot of people seem to outright dismiss the notion that Dark Souls and Demons Souls universes are connected in any way except various references. Such statements are based on conjecture and opinions.
No statement by any From Software employee, or the games director Hidetaka Miyazaki have outright debunked the theory that the games share ties to eachother and further evidence from the Prepare To Die edition further increases the ties between the two. So please, include supporting evidence, if you want to debunk them And no, the interview where Miyazaki states that the IP of the original game belongs to Sony doesnt magically debunk theories made on connecting lore between the two. For example, the King's Field series had multiple publishers owning the IP rights, but all of them held ties to eachother without being blatantly obvious that they happened in the same universe. Thanks!
When Demons Souls was released in Japan on February 9th, 2009 no one could have predicted the success that the game would have both in its native country and abroad, due to the porting craze that began after the game started going viral on the internet. It did help that the game was released with fully english interface, voice acting and gameplay elements in addition to its japanese translation.
The game had a unique world, drawing inspiration from From Softwares late series of King's Field games, first person RPG:s released on the Playstation during its rise to fame as the "King" of home consoles in the 1990´s. The series was obscure, but had its own fanbase in both Japan and abroad. Although the games weren't a 100% coherent storyline wise (with a few exceptions in the series releases), the games still held a consistent and dark fantasy universe. This in turn created a base for the first entry in dark fantasy on the current generation consoles, Demons Souls. The game had a setting very similar to the King's Field series and held a variety of references to the old games, yet they were kind of treated seperate by the game director, Hidetaka Miyazaki. A few years later, in 2011 the games much anticipated sequel "Project Dark" slowly started making its way into the form of Dark Souls, the game we all dissect, analyze and rummage through to find tidbits of lore and stories in the game universe.
One thing have made some people skeptical and jaded about the games universe though. People strictly treat it like a stand-alone sequel. A new world, with new characters, with new people, all completely cut off from the characters, events and lore estabilished in Demon's Souls. This all based on a statement by the director in a single interview paragraphing the difficulties of creating a "direct" sequel to the original game due to Sony owning IP rights. This led into people writing "The game is a spiritual successor".
We conviniently also forget that roughly everything after Kings Field II was also considered spiritual successors to the first two games, but no one seems to outright claim that they dont share similarities, ties or have a coherent universe and recurring characters/cameos I think the word "spiritual succesor" needs to be taken a little closer look so we can figure out whats going on:
''In any event, recently I noticed that there were certain movies which,
although not designed to be, are like sequels to earlier, unrelated
films. Movies that show you what would have happened years later if only
you use a little imagination and poetic license[.]"
— Cracked - "Recent Films That Are Accidentally Sequels To 80's Films"
On the Wikipedia page on Spiritual successors, the general ideas are:
"Creative teams will make a product that resembles the original game in
some way, without copying or mentioning the original directly, notably
omitting the title, story, and character names."
What this pushes forward in the ideas department is that games like the Soul Blazer series recycle story ideas and elements in future games, while keeping their "game universe" mostly intact. This in general is very apparent in quite a few game series in the past and although many people assumed the Zelda series to be a series of games almost 100% untied to eachother on a storyline level, the official timeline released in Hyrule Historia completely flipped the tables of people pushing the series to only have "spiritual" ties between each entry.
This in turn returns us to the Demon's Souls/Dark Souls universe. We are given an interview statement talking about IP rights, spiritual successors and project highlights along with gameplay, yet what we receive as an end result is a scarily coherent, almost canonically tied "spiritual sequel" to Demon's Souls. Umbasa, Clerics, Gods, Latria's King Jeremiah, The concept of Primeval Demons, Dragons and Gray Fog as "genesis" elements, Archtrees a prominent element in symbolism littered across the Nexus, the fall of the northern kingdom, the references of "dark souls" and "inifinite darkness" pervading lands devoid of sane souls.
Lets jump in and begin with the primary elements!
The creation of the world in both games shares quite a staggering amount of similarities and ties, irregardless of people simply either dismissing them, not caring for them or simply neglecting them due to focusing more on the lore of one game at a time. Its understandable though, the ideas in play here dont need a massive leap of logic, but require knowledge of the inner workings of both games and lore snippets that are kind of hard to completely tie together without proper knowledge. Its a very tedious process. For now, we begin with the genesis, as described in the opening of both the games, the creation of the universe of the Souls games and how they are connected with eachother in a very "convinient" (to say the least) way.
We can begin with the passages found in Demon's Souls intro. The first imagery we see in the game is a dragon god, accompanied with what looks like a hollowed human in its claws, flying over mountainous regions while the following passage is displayed on the screen:
"On the first day man was granted a soul And with it, clarity."
This is a curiously interesting passage, as both games describe their genesis to begin with quite similar premises, humans reaching out to a power that brings them to being and gaining power. The Dark Souls intro refers to the soul in question as "Souls Of Lords". In Dark Souls it is never made clear that brought these souls to being except the references to the fire, an element generally found to be breathed to being by legendary beings like dragons and as the references in Dark Souls seem to indicate that the powers of flame are more or less tied to the ancient dragons, we can easily assume that the souls that were granted to the dark race of creatures known as "Humans" was a privilige offered by the dragons. This is either in a god-like ideology (as in both games dragons are depicted to have godlike features and terminology) or we could simply assume that the dragons might have accidentally brought about the existence of humans, much like we have tales in greek mythology of all being birthed from "chaos" an uncontrolled element of creation that brought forth existence. In this case, as chaos is referred to throught Dark Souls, it is possible that both theories hold valid ground, but in that sense this is just about aas much as we get from the genesis in Dark Souls, so well return to the second passage from Demon's Souls:
"On the second day upon Earth was planted an irrecoverable poison. A soul-devouring demon"
This by far is the most puzzling line. If we are to assume by this, something happened during the first day that made the dragons vary, if not struck by horror even. As thus its very hard to create any other parallels besides the fact that the dragons never assumed that the humans would govern over the aspects of creation, as its listed in the Dark Souls intro:
"Then there was fire and with fire, came disparity: Heat and Cold, Life and Death... And of course, Light and Dark."
Its very likely to assume that the disparities created by the existence of fire was never to be wielded by the hands of mortal creatures, and thus the dragons feared (if not even shunned) the dark and its denizens. Gwyn, The "Lord Of Sunlight", Nito, "First Of The Dead", The Witch of Izalith and the Daughters of Chaos and most importantly the Furtive Pygmy.
All of them represent the disparities created by the existence of an element like fire and as Laurentinius spoke about humans and their relationship between fire, its very easy to figure out the disparities. For light to exist, there must be dark. For death to exist there must be life, for chaos to exist, there must be order. Its then easy to see why the dragons fear humans, not by their power alone, but by what the represented when they took their souls from within the flame. The fated day when the lords challenged the dragons seemed to be an event that took a long time (and its a thing well return to later), but something needs to be discussed first. The poison, the soul-devouring demon...
Its very likely to see that the very "first flame" that was breathed into the world was a creation of dragons, as we know of human history the most important of our discoveries during our first days on the hostile planet earth was the discovery of fire and thus our dependency on it is metaphorically referred throught the game, but its also very clear for us to see that other things exist as well. Gray fog, archtrees...
Creations that seem to be almost as old (if not older) than the dragons themselves. This is an element quite a few people seem to miss and here ill fill the gaps between the advent of the human civilization and the events between the creation of various kingdoms, the powers extracted from the flames and obviously the "soul devouring demon".
First of all, its clear to assume that the fire can also have other effects beyond breathing clarity into creatures like humans. Its clear to assume that it could also animate creatures and objects that could be otherwise considered "inanimate" and in this case, its very likely that the dragons brought forth a creature created from their flame to control that which was granted by the flame, the essence of creation. Souls.
If you have Dark Souls, visit Izalith. Dig into the lore and think of what was said about the Izalith and her domain. She duplicated the first flame and what was the result?
I guess im crazy, or maybe i didnt want to overlook this important detail but it reminds me of a certain antagonist weve seen in multiple pictures in Demons Souls. Yes, im talking about the Old One...
Now dear reader, take a moment to put all these things together and watch this video, then ill draw a little synopsis of all weve covered so far and create a timeline to our little genesis and the events there after, just so we can digest the information:
Now, im introducing to you guys the story of the pandemonium. This is the time when humans challenged the dragons with the power of their "gods", banished the old one, created the archstones and began the Age Of Fire. It wasnt without loss though, the fabric of reality was powerfully skewed by the war, as nearly half of the world was lost from the fabric of reality and banished into infinite darkness. Now lets make this into a synopsis:
"Humans gained sentience and clarity from consuming the souls of the dragons fire, gaining power beyond imagination. The everlasting dragons, afraid of such calamity summoned forth their guardian of souls, an irrecoverable poison brought forth from the flames to devour and control the fabric of creation and life. As the humans grew, so did their power, wealth and kingdoms. The world flourished under the benevolent rule of the powerful soul arts, bringing forth prosperity and unimaginable power. It didnt come without a price however, as the Old One awoke from its slumber when the humans lust for power turned into endless greed, manipulating life and death like puppets on a string. In time, from within the great archtrees a colourless fog seeped in and demons, the hunter of men began their dark work.
The northern lands were hit first, Oolacile, Lordran and numerous other countries succumbed to a tide of demons in a horrific pandemonium. Banding together, the humans wielded what powers they could to stem the tide of the Fog and mend the fabric of reality. In these centuries of war, the archstones built by the order of Monumentals eventually stemmed the spread of the fog and under the vast powers of the gods of Anor Londo and their trusted lieutenants and knights, the humans fought back the tide and the old one was eventually lulled back to slumber. Thus with the strength of lords, they challenged the dragons and in righteous fury the humans, with help of the scaless dragon, Seath performed genocide on the everlasting dragons.
And so with loss of numerous souls and half of the world, lost in fog and banished to infinite darkness the monumentals came to an agreement to ban the use of the soul arts and vigilantly guard over the fabric of reality and so began the Age Of Fire, yet soon the flames will fade and only dark will remain... even now there are only embers and man sees not light, but only endless nights and amongst the living are seen, carriers of the accursed dark sign..."
This ends the first part of the post but the second part, portraying the events that take place during the pandemonium will be detailed in the next part!