Dark Souls II features gameplay mechanics similar to its predecessor; Shibuya stated that he had no intention of changing the controls. The game features a whole new world, with many weapons that are used to fight the monsters in the game. Covenants, a feature in the original Dark Souls, that allowed the player to align with different factions, make a reappearance, though easier to understand and more accessible. The game world is roughly the same size as in Dark Souls, though content density is much richer, and gives players more freedom in how to progress, with the beginning of the game more accessible to newcomers. The game retains the challenging gameplay known to the original, as Tanimura explained: “We do not plan on having an Easy Mode since we are creating this game with a thought that challenge and difficulty are core elements of the game.”
The development team utilized a more powerful graphics engine for the sequel. New challenges, adding to the series’ documented difficulty level, were also added. The game features a more advanced ai system, that allows enemies to react to a wider range of actions by the player.
On September 19, 2013, an announcement regarding the delay of the pc version was made by Tanimura who said the delay was necessary to ensure an optimal version of Dark Souls II on pc.
Bandai Namco Games producer Takeshi Miyazoe originally stated in December 2013 that he did not expect there to be downloadable content (dlc) for Dark Souls II. Despite that, in an interview in January 2014, he said that there is definitely potential for dlc for the game and that fan feedback is key. On June 4, 2014, FromSoftware announced a trilogy of dlc collectively known as “The Lost Crowns”. The first of these, titled Crown of the Sunken King, was released on July 22, 2014. The second, Crown of the Old Iron King, was released on August 26, 2014. The final dlc, Crown of the Ivory King, was slated to be released on September 24, 2014, but was delayed until September 30, 2014, due to unknown reasons. It was then released a day early (September 29) on pc, and a day later (October 1) on ps3.