When Dark Souls II was shown off at E3 2013, one of the main takeaways from the trailer was its impressive lighting system. Dark areas were intended to be a major component of Dark Souls II’s gameplay, forcing players to equip a torch just to be able to navigate through their pitch-black passages.
The graphics engine was designed with the then next-gen PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles in mind, but when Dark Souls II was released on PS3 and Xbox 360 back in 2014, the hardware limitations meant that the ambitious lighting system was scrapped. Now, modder Stayd is working on replicating that original lighting model using Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin on PC.
Stayd is an artist and graphics programmer, and has been sharing work-in-progress screenshots of their Flames of Old graphics mod on Twitter. The mod adds some striking updates to the game’s lighting that fundamentally changes how Dark Souls II looks. Notable areas like Heide’s Tower of Flame and Shrine of Amana look much improved, but the Shaded Woods catches the eye in particular.
The lighting is much more natural, especially with the green filter removed, and this allows the texture work in the environment and on the character model to stand out. Stayd has also made some other tweaks, such as removing the trees in the upper left corner to reveal the Shrine of Winter, which adds a sense of scale to the area, and adding more ruins and foliage.
Stayd plans to mod the whole game in this way, and you can keep up with the whole process on their Twitch channel.