While PlayStation Experience allowed me to finally get my hands on Bloodborne, it didn't actually feature the just announced Chalice Dungeon. During the Bloodborne Panel, we were able to get a better look at the procedurally generated dungeon, its mechanics, enemies and boss fight.
Bloodborne's Director, Hidetaka Miyazaki, stated that the Chalice Dungeon won't be a mandatory part of the game. It won't require players to traverse through in order to complete the game, instead, it's meant to enhance the player's experience by extending the game and adding a new layer of ever changing difficulty.
The wording on the Dungeon's changing layout was slightly confusing, since Miyazaki stated that the Chalice Dungeon will lock its layout when you first enter it, and then subsequently return in case you don't beat it the first time. They opted for this so players could eventually learn the layout, master the enemy placement and eventually learn the patterns of the boss. The only thing that wasn't clear was how and when the Dungeon changes layout, if that's something that happens automatically or whether the player has control over it.
The first boss composed of human bodies stitched together and giant sickles as hands
The procedurally generated dungeon was also crafted to players could constantly share their experiences with the game, and keep a steady flow of new content and strategies well beyond the game's original lifespan. This is interesting and actually makes a whole lot of sense, considering the past Souls games have had a single layout that players could master, share strategies for, and that's it. There would always come a point where nothing new could be shared among players. The Chalice Dungeon will change that with the varied layouts, so players can continuously keep sharing new strategies and experiences with the game's community.
The Dungeon itself is located deep below Yharnam, the game's main location, and will consist of three separate layers, meaning there will be twisting and winding paths, filled with traps for players to explore. The PSX demo shown off consisted of a rather small area, but we were assured that this was simply built specifically for the event, and that in the final game, the Dungeon will be much larger, more winding and way more challenging.
Players will have to make their way through the Dungeon to find and unlock various shortcuts that will eventually allow them to face the boss. We were told that both enemies and the bosses will also be random, meaning that players will never know who they will be going up against, adding yet another layer of difficulty.
The Dungeon's final boss, a giant fiery guard dog
The Chalice Dungeon was tackled co-operatively at the event, but it's built so players can tackle it solo as well. The way this demo Dungeon as structured, also showcased that both players won't necessarily take the same path to get to their destination. Both players started in separate sections, one on a higher level than the other, and eventually they both met up in a swampy area where the first mini-boss was located. I hope this carries through to the final game as well, since that can create some unique exploration opportunities.
While the Chalice Dungeon won't be a mandatory part of Bloodborne, it would be a shame if players would opt to skip out on it. Thanks to its procedural nature, it will ensure that the community will always have plenty to share with one another.