Dark Souls II details have spilled onto the internet courtesy of the latest issue of Edge.
For issue 249, which contains a ten-page feature (buy it online), the Edge team were treated to a ten minute demo of the sequel and described it as an "athletic leap forward in terms of graphical fidelity".
"There was an endearing shonkiness to the visual presentation of Demon's Souls and Dark Souls," reads the feature. "You never sensed photorealism was a virtue the team held in particularly high regard."
"Dark Souls 2, by contrast, looks effortlessly ready for the next generation of consoles, on a par with the fidelity of, say, Watch Dogs and Star Wars 1313."
It goes on to say its visuals come "tantalisingly close" to hyper-realism.
According to Edge the sequel has been in development since September 2011 and will be "roughly the same size as its predecessor".
As implied by the name, Dark Souls 2 is a direct sequel to Dark Souls, but isn't set in Lordran. Although From Software didn't disclose the name of the new setting, it did say the name "will be key to the story" and will be revealed eventually.
Newly appointed director, Tomohiro Shibuya, was cagey on story details, offering up only a high-concept overview: It will once again focus on a cursed character seeking out a cure for his affliction.
Speaking about what distinguishes Dark Souls 2 from its predecessor, Shibuya alluded to "the concept of time and the existence of time" as key to game. He also says that "action" is something that he wants to improve in the game, be it motions or the combat system.
On the goal of making the game more accessible, Shibuya said familiar systems will be made much easier to understand.
"I personally feel the covenant system was something that was difficult to fully absorb and experience [in] Dark Souls," he said. "I intend to make it more accessible to players. And that's not just with the covenant system, but with a lot of other aspects that I felt were difficult to adapt to."
Finally, Shibuya discussed the inclusion of vehicles: "We want to constantly think of something new that hasn't been tried before, so that's where that idea [of the chariot] came up," he explained.
"Being in a ship or boat is definitely something we are considering but being able to control one is not in the works."
The Dark Souls 2 dev team is "Substantially bigger" and From Software has "nearly doubled the internal team focused on world creation alone," according to Edge. The game is estimated to be roughly 25% complete.
The first Dark Souls 2 trailer was shown earlier this month at the VGAs.