Dark Souls is a role-playing video game that takes a minimalistic approach in presenting its story and plots. It employs a circulation system that continually challenges the player, inducing the player to immerse themselves into the experience in the cycles of failure, rebirth, and re-approaching to the challenges.
This project combines theories of narratology to analyze the game’s space and circulations design from an architectural perspective and reconstruct a system of space based on the original game. These spaces in the system are not platforms where the narrative would performed, but places where the narrative would generate.
The narrative is intrinsic in video game design, a player’s interaction with the medium actives the narrative. In most of the games, the player is an audience of story, as the story usually presented with cutscenes and in-game dialogues. In the game Dark Souls, it has diminished the occurrence of cutscenes and dialogues, and it relies on the reactions between the player and space to create the narrative. The player is the participant of generating the narrative.
A consistent narrative space can be created by utilizing the narrative mechanics of the game. The project first analyzes the spatial characteristics of different nodes on a path base on a player’s possible experience when passing through them. These nodes become the narrative device in a story. It then overlaps these devices with the structure of circulations to summarize their narrative structure. The game’s original structure is dissembled next, and reconstruct again without altering their original context. Irrational spatial nodes will be relocated and make them more correspond with the circulation’s narrative structure.
The reconstructed system divides space into eight areas, and each area has its own set of circulation. The narrative structure within the areas is similar to each other. Nodes within the areas are not exclusive to their respective areas: a spiral staircase can either be the introduction in area C or a short cut back to area B. A node’s meaning is ambiguous when isolated, but when it placed in a context, it becomes a narrative device with purposes to the overall story. The sequence of traversing nodes within the area would alternate the circulation of the latter area. Therefore, players create their narrative of the same story when they chose their playing sequence.