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Dark Souls II: Design Works - The Ultimate Collection of Concept Art, Illustrations, and Interviews

Dark Souls II: Design Works Caleb D. Cook

If you are a fan of the Dark Souls series, you probably know how amazing and challenging the games are. But have you ever wondered how the developers created such a rich and immersive world full of lore, secrets, and beauty? If so, you might want to check out Dark Souls II: Design Works, a stunning art book that showcases the concept art, illustrations, and interviews behind the making of Dark Souls II. In this article, we will review this art book and tell you why it is a must-have for any Dark Souls enthusiast.

Dark Souls II: Design Works Caleb D. Cook



What is Dark Souls II?

Dark Souls II is an action role-playing game developed by FromSoftware and published by Bandai Namco Games in 2014. It is the third game in the Souls series, following Demon's Souls and Dark Souls. The game is set in the kingdom of Drangleic, where the player assumes the role of a cursed undead who seeks to break the cycle of death and rebirth by finding a cure for their affliction. The game features a nonlinear open world, a deep combat system, a variety of weapons and armor, online multiplayer modes, and a notoriously high difficulty level that rewards patience, skill, and exploration.

Who is Caleb D. Cook?

Caleb D. Cook is an American translator who specializes in Japanese media, especially manga and video games. He has translated many popular titles such as One Piece, My Hero Academia, Dr. Stone, Fire Force, Soul Eater, and more. He is also the translator of Dark Souls II: Design Works, as well as the previous Dark Souls: Design Works and Bloodborne: Official Artworks. He has done an excellent job of conveying the original text and tone of the Japanese creators while making it accessible and enjoyable for English-speaking readers.

What is Design Works?

Design Works is a series of art books that collect the official artwork of various video games developed by FromSoftware. The books include concept art, illustrations, sketches, screenshots, and interviews with the developers that reveal their creative process and insights into the games. The books are published by Udon Entertainment in North America and Europe, and by Kadokawa in Japan. The books are highly praised by fans and critics alike for their quality and content.

The Art of Dark Souls II

The Concept Art

The concept art section of Dark Souls II: Design Works covers over 200 pages of stunning images that show how the game's characters, enemies, bosses, and environments were designed and refined. The art is divided into four categories: characters, enemies, bosses, and environments.


The character art showcases the various NPCs (non-player characters) that the player encounters throughout their journey in Drangleic. These include friendly characters such as merchants, blacksmiths, firekeepers, covenant leaders, and quest givers; as well as hostile characters such as invaders, traitors, hollows, and corrupted souls. The art also shows the different classes and customization options that the player can choose for their own character, such as warrior, knight, sorcerer, cleric, and more. The art is accompanied by notes and comments from the developers that explain the backstory, personality, and role of each character.


The enemy art depicts the various foes that the player faces in the game's locations. These include common enemies such as undead soldiers, dogs, rats, spiders, giants, and dragons; as well as rare enemies such as mimics, basilisks, crystal lizards, and dark spirits. The art also shows the different types and variations of enemies, such as armored, poisoned, cursed, or flaming. The art is accompanied by notes and comments from the developers that describe the design concept, behavior, and strategy of each enemy.


The boss art displays the most powerful and memorable enemies that the player fights in the game's areas. These include iconic bosses such as the Last Giant, the Pursuer, the Lost Sinner, the Old Iron King, the Rotten, the Duke's Dear Freja, the Looking Glass Knight, the Smelter Demon, the Old Dragonslayer, the Flexile Sentry, the Ruin Sentinels, the Executioner's Chariot, the Skeleton Lords, the Covetous Demon, Mytha the Baneful Queen, Najka the Scorpioness, the Royal Rat Authority, the Royal Rat Vanguard, the Belfry Gargoyles, and more. The art also shows the optional and DLC bosses such as Vendrick, Darklurker, Sir Alonne, Fume Knight, Sinh the Slumbering Dragon, Elana the Squalid Queen, Burnt Ivory King, Aava the King's Pet, Lud and Zallen the King's Pets. The art is accompanied by notes and comments from the developers that reveal the inspiration, theme, and challenge of each boss.


The environment art illustrates the various locations that the player explores in the game's world. These include diverse and atmospheric settings such as Majula (the hub area), Forest of Fallen Giants (a ruined fortress), Heide's Tower of Flame (a submerged cathedral), No-man's Wharf (a pirate cove), Lost Bastille (a prison island), Huntsman's Copse (a forest of blood), Harvest Valley (a toxic valley), Earthen Peak (a windmill tower), Iron Keep (a lava castle), Shaded Woods (a foggy forest), Doors of Pharros (a rat-infested cave), Brightstone Cove Tseldora (a spider-infested mine), Grave of Saints (a rat-infested tomb), The Gutter (a dark abyss), Black Gulch (a poison swamp), Drangleic Castle (the royal castle), Shrine of Amana (a flooded shrine), Undead Crypt (a burial ground), Aldia's Keep (a mad scientist's mansion), Dragon Aerie (a dragon nest), Dragon Shrine (a dragon temple), Memory of Jeigh (a flashback to a war), Memory of Orro (a flashback to a siege), Memory of Vammar (a flashback to a battle), Memory of the King (a flashback to a king's regret), Throne of Want (the final destination), and more. The art also shows the DLC locations such as Brume Tower (an iron fortress), Shulva Sanctum City (an underground city), Frozen Eleum Loyce (an icy kingdom). The art is accompanied by notes and comments from the developers that explain the history, atmosphere, and secrets of each location.

The Illustrations

The Illustrations

The illustrations section of Dark Souls II: Design Works features over 50 pages of beautiful images that were used for various purposes such as cover art, promotional art, in-game art, and more. The illustrations include the game's logo, box art, posters, banners, wallpapers, calendars, stickers, cards, flyers, magazines, books, guides, and more. The illustrations also show the different editions and versions of the game, such as the collector's edition, the black armor edition, the scholar of the first sin edition, and the crown of the sunken king edition. The illustrations are accompanied by notes and comments from the developers that describe the purpose, style, and message of each image.

The Interviews

The interviews section of Dark Souls II: Design Works contains over 40 pages of insightful conversations with the key developers of the game. The interviews include Yui Tanimura (director), Daisuke Satake (art director), Hiroshi Nakamura (lead programmer), and more. The interviews cover various topics such as the game's concept, design, development, challenges, feedback, improvements, secrets, and future plans. The interviews also reveal some interesting trivia and anecdotes about the game's creation and reception. The interviews are translated by Caleb D. Cook and edited by Udon Entertainment.


Summary of the main points

Dark Souls II: Design Works is a fantastic art book that showcases the amazing artwork and development process behind one of the most acclaimed and influential video games of all time. The book includes over 300 pages of concept art, illustrations, and interviews that reveal the vision, creativity, and passion of the FromSoftware team. The book is a must-have for any fan of Dark Souls II or anyone who appreciates video game art and design.

Call to action for the readers

If you are interested in buying Dark Souls II: Design Works, you can find it on Amazon or other online retailers for a reasonable price. You can also check out other Design Works books for other FromSoftware games such as Dark Souls, Bloodborne, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and Elden Ring. You will not regret adding these books to your collection and enjoying them for years to come.


Here are some frequently asked questions about Dark Souls II: Design Works:

  • Q: How big is the book?

  • A: The book is 8.25 x 11.75 inches in size and weighs 2.65 pounds.

  • Q: Is the book hardcover or paperback?

  • A: The book is hardcover with a dust jacket.

  • Q: Does the book include DLC content?

  • A: Yes, the book includes concept art and illustrations for the three DLC episodes: Crown of the Sunken King, Crown of the Old Iron King, and Crown of the Ivory King.

  • Q: Does the book include Scholar of the First Sin content?

  • A: Yes, the book includes concept art and illustrations for the Scholar of the First Sin edition of the game, which added new features and changes to the original game.

  • Q: Is there a digital version of the book?

  • A: No, there is no official digital version of the book. However, you can find some scans and images of the book online if you search for them.



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