Dark Souls 2 PC servers are finally back online, but Dark Souls: Prepare to Die is officially dead

Dark Souls PTD shutdown Header

Nine months after being taken offline, FromSoftware has restored online and PvP features for Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin on PC, but has also decided that they will not resuscitate Dark Souls: Prepare to Die. You might have been prepared for this news, but the original Dark Souls game PC release is now dead as an online game.

There’s a further wrinkle to this announcement, in that only the DirectX 11 version of Dark Souls 2 has been restored today, with the DirectX 9 version still being locked out of online multiplayer for the time being. Dark Souls Remastered is also still offline with work continuing on that game.

Dark Souls 3’s servers were brought back online in August, went offline for a bit in September, and then came back again a week later.

The whole Dark Souls trilogy was taken offline on PC at the start of 2022 after the widespread discovery of a critical Remote Code Execution (RCE) exploit in the games. RCE exploits are a huge issue for Bandai Namco and FromSoftware to be dealing with, as they allow hackers to run arbitrary code that has free reign over a computer. This can be used to mess with and corrupt someone’s game save, but that’s getting off lightly when it could also install malware to capture login details, brick computers, install bitcoin miners and more.

There had been some low level awareness of this from before 2022, but once it went mainstream in the run up to the launch of Elden Ring, FromSoftware was forced to act and take the older games offline. They were able to implement a fix for Elden Ring before launch – this game using an iterative version of FromSoftware’s online networking code – but Dark Souls was a longer term project.

A big part of this is simply down to the age of a game. Dark Souls 3 was released in 2016 with the final expansion coming out in 2017. After that point, the game engine continues to evolve, the SDKs and development tools change, server infrastructure differs, and there’s new systems for a developer to work on. Returning to legacy code bases can throw up countless issues when then trying to marry that with newer components, and that’s before considering the servers. Of course, there’s also just the time and resources that it’s taking when compared to FromSoftware being able to see how many or how few people are still playing, and they will surely point to Dark Souls Remastered as a more current version of the game that they will continue to support.

Source: FromSoftware

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