Dark Souls III is the third and final game in the Dark Fantasy Action RPG Dark Souls series, developed by FromSoftware and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. This entry also marks the return of Hidetaka Miyazakinote as game director, after an absence from Dark Souls II. The game was released in Japan on March 26, 2016 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC, with an international release on April 12th. The first bit of Downloadable Content, titled Ashes of Ariandel, was released on October 25, 2016. The second and final, The Ringed City, was released on March 28, 2017.
Once there was fire, and with it came disparity: heat and cold, life and death, light and dark. For eons untold, gods, heroes, and kings have offered themselves and the power of their souls to the supernatural "First Flame" that brought this change, in hopes of keeping the world alight. But now, only embers remain. In a world of ashes where everything of note has already been burned, where space and time itself are collapsing in on themselves from the weight of the endless eons this fading Age of Fire has been prolonged, the only hope of keeping the fire going is reviving the lords of ages past to burn what remains of their cinders. However, not even a single "Lord of Cinder" who would willingly give themselves to the First Flame is left now.
You take the role of an Unkindled, a nameless accursed undead made up of the bits of heroes past that wouldn't burn. In this purgatory abandoned by the last of the Lords of Cinder, it falls to you to take the souls of the remaining once great heirs of fire instead... to either keep the flames going yourself, or bring the world to its final end. And so it is that ash seeketh embers.
Gameplay is a "best of" the mechanics from the previous Souls games and Bloodborne. Combat borrows heavily from the first Dark Souls, including many of the player animations, though some features from Dark Souls II return, such as Skill Point Reset items and optional voice chat. Co-op and invasions work similarly to how they did in Demon's Souls and Dark Souls, using soul level range rather than the soul memory system from Dark Souls II but with an added adjustment based on how far the player's weapons have been upgraded. Mechanics from Bloodborne include chargeable heavy attacks, faster, more aggressive combat, and a weapon dependent Stance System. Dark Souls III also replaces the Vancian Magic system from the previous games with a "Focus Meter", a la the Magic Meter from Demon's Souls. Lastly, every weapon in the game has a "Weapon Art" that gives the wielder a unique attack, from shieldbreaking uppercuts with the swords to rushing stabs with spears. More unique weapons also have their own Weapon Arts, and all arts also draw from the Focus Meter. The Focus Meter itself can be replenished from a unique Ashen Estus Jar, forcing the player to divide up their healing if they wish to have access to a wider variety of useful methods of engagement.