Bloodborne is an action role-playing game developed by FromSoftware and published by Sony Computer Entertainment, which released for the PlayStation 4 in March 2015. Bloodborne follows the player’s character, a Hunter, through the decrepit Gothic, Victorian era–inspired city of Yharnam, whose inhabitants are afflicted with a blood-borne disease. Attempting to find the source of the plague, the player’s character unravels the city’s mysteries while fighting beasts and cosmic beings.
The game is played from a third-person perspective. Players control a customizable protagonist and the gameplay is focused on strategic weapons-based combat and exploration. Players battle varied enemies while using items such as swords and firearms, exploring different locations, interacting with non-player characters, and unraveling the city’s mysteries. Bloodborne began development in 2012 under the working title of Project Beast. Bearing many similarities to the Souls series of games by the same developer and director, Bloodborne was inspired by the literary works of authors H. P. Lovecraft and Bram Stoker, as well as the architectural design of real world locations in places such as Romania and the Czech Republic.
Bloodborne received critical acclaim, with praise being directed at its gameplay, particularly its high level of difficulty, sound design, Lovecraftian themes, and interconnected world design. Some criticism was directed at its technical performance at launch, which was improved with post-release updates. An expansion adding additional content, The Old Hunters, was released in November 2015. By the end of 2015, the game had sold over two million copies worldwide. Bloodborne won several awards and has been cited as one of the greatest video games of all time. Some related media and adaptations have also been released, including a card game, board game and comic book series.
Bloodborne is an action role-playing game played from a third-person perspective and features elements similar to those found in the Souls series of games, particularly Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls. The player makes their way through different locations within the decrepit Gothic world of Yharnam, while battling varied enemies, including bosses, collecting different types of items that have many uses, interacting with the strange non-player characters, opening up shortcuts, and continuing through the main story.
At the beginning of the game, the player creates their character, the Hunter. The player determines the basic details of the Hunter; gender, hairstyle, name, skin colour, body shape, voice, and eye colour are some of the options the player can customise. The player also chooses a starting class, known as an “Origin”, which provides a basic backstory for the Hunter and sets the player’s starting attributes. The origins, while describing the player character’s past, do not have any affect on gameplay beyond altering your starting stats. Another way the player defines their Hunter is by choosing what brotherhood they are a member of. These religious societies, known as “Covenants”, each have their own views on the world of Yharnam.
The player can return to the safe zone, known as the “Hunter’s Dream”, by interacting with lanterns spread throughout the world of Yharnam. Doing so replenishes health, but repopulates all enemies in the game world. Lanterns also serve as the game’s checkpoints; the player will return to the last activated lantern when they die. Positioned away from Yharnam, the Hunter’s Dream delivers some of the game’s basic features to the player. Players may purchase useful items, such as clothing, from the Messengers using Blood Echoes or Insight, level up their character by talking to the Doll, or upgrade their weapons in the workshop, among other things. Unlike Yharnam and all other locations in the game, the Hunter’s Dream is considered completely safe as it is the only location in the game not to feature enemies. However, the last two boss battles of the game take place in the Hunter’s Dream, although both are optional to the player.
Bloodborne’s world of Yharnam is a large map full of inter-connected areas. Some areas of Yharnam are not connected to the main locations and require the player to teleport there via the gravestones in the Hunter’s Dream. The player may be presented with multiple options when progressing through locations, but usually there is a main path that the player uses to progress through the story. When traversing the main path, the player will encounter paths that lead to completely different locations that are optional. Each path also eventually leads back to the central area the player started in. This provides the player with shortcuts, useful for when they die or need to backtrack.