If you’re tired of looking at crisply-detailed creatures, mossy gothic castles, and glowing lighting in Dark Souls’ 2018 remaster, check out this modder’s pixelated “demaster.” It turns everything in Dark Souls into a blurry, pixelated experience that looks like it could be playable on a PC with a floppy disk slot from the late '90s. 

In “Pixel Souls: Demastered,” the genre-defining role-playing game (RPG) Dark Souls adopts the graphical de-tune of a late 90s or early 2000s game. Some of the screenshots are reminiscent of a retro screensaver. The pseudonymous modder, thegreatgramcracker, definitely succeeded in making Dark Souls look worse than it did on its original release back in 2012. 

Which, somehow, makes it also kind of great. At the very least, it's a novel spin on the modern classic.

The modder even took the time to make the game’s audio worse, as well. Now, dialogue between two splotchy characters against a pixelated sky sounds like it was recorded underwater through someone’s landline answering machine (remember those?).

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Playing with a mod that detunes your entire gaming experience won’t be for everyone, though, as not every gamer is going to want their hardcore RPG to look like its background textures were exported from Microsoft Paint. But individually downscaling assets takes a lot of work, and thegreatgramcracker did not use any AI tools to complete their project, Eurogamer reported. 

But Pixel Souls is far from the first fan-made RPG “demake” out there. Last year, a modder announced a PS1 “demake” of Souls-like RPG Bloodborne—and another released a Game Boy-style demake for Elden Ring. Fan-made demakes have been created for a wide range of games, from Final Fantasy VII to Hogwarts Legacy, Disco Elysium, and Silent Hill 2, to name a few.  

Dark Souls has also seen a plethora of community-made mods and expansions since it was first released back in 2012. According to NexusMods’ website, some of the game’s most-downloaded mods are texture packs that replace game textures or allow you to swap them out for your own. There’s also fan-made remasters that tweak the game’s lighting, mods that overhaul the entire game, and expansions that add to the gothic RPG’s story. 

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Edited by Andrew Hayward

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