It appears that back in 2016, Bandai Namco received a pitch for a 2D Metroidvania game set in the world of Dark Souls. Pixel artist Thomas Feichtmeir shared a screenshot of the proposal on Twitter, which depicts a knight fighting Dark Souls 3’s Dancer of the Boreal Valley. Many series hallmarks are present, such as Estus flasks, stamina meters, similar UI elements, and more.
While Bandai Namco didn’t accept the pitch, Feichtmeir was finally able to share his art due to the expiration of its Non-Disclosure Agreement. It is relatively rare to get a peek at one of the many unaccepted proposals happening behind closed doors at major publishers, but in an interview with Kotaku, Feichtmeir shed additional light on the subject. “The art was created around 2016 as everyone wanted to have a cool 2D, Souls-like Metroidvania, as the genre was new and the hunger for a game like this was strong,” he said. He didn’t reveal what developer made the pitch, as some parts of the NDA are still active. As for why it wasn’t accepted, he wrote in a Tweet that “I don’t know what the reasoning was, I just created the art for the pitch.”
He also said, “a lot of people [on Twitter] pointed out that this looks a lot like Blasphemous…they are right and it also makes a lot of sense, as a few years later I actually would work on Blasphemous as an artist,” he says. Feichtmeir worked on other 2D Metroidvania projects like the upcoming Gestalt: Steam & Cinder and The Mummy Demastered, alongside many other titles like Songs of Conquest.
Those tantalized by the pitch will be happy to hear of the significant overlap between FromSoftware’s design principles and many Metroid-inspired titles in recent years, such as found in Salt and Sanctuary, Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights, Hollow Knight, and of course Blasphemous to name a few. With the massive success of Elden Ring, it will be interesting to see if Bandai Namco lets studios outside of FromSoftware take a crack at their IP going forward.