For Steam users with access to the game’s development branches, Souls series dataminer Lance McDonald was the first to discover a new Dark Souls 3 update via SteamDB. It’s probably for testing the game’s internet features, which have been absent for a very long time. The “bnedebug” and “pgdebug” branches added on July 21st are the first updates of this type in two years. The changes are described under the “Depots” tab on the game’s SteamDB page. It’s hard to picture Bandai Namco changing the six-year-old game for any other purpose than to fix its protracted server outage. Notably, there are no such updates listed on the corresponding SteamDB entries for Dark Souls or Dark Souls 2.
Fans of a game who have been waiting 183 days and counting for its online features are getting the thinnest of gruel. Following the revelation of a severe security flaw in the games’ netcode that could have theoretically allowed malicious people remote access to players’ computers, Bandai Namco shut down the servers for all three Dark Souls titles at the end of January. Elden Ring has rightfully focused his attention on the situation, which is quite a dilemma for FromSoft and Bamco. While officially assuring gamers that the Souls series servers would return in May, Bandai Namco has been rather silent since then.
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If there was ever a security issue, it appears to have been resolved with Elden Ring’s online implementation, despite the occurrence of sporadic exploits and griefing. Although FromSoft’s strategic reuse of resources and technology across games has usually worked to their benefit, there were concerns that this weakness might have extended to its most well-known title. If McDonald’s research is accurate, it seems like the Souls series servers won’t be returning all at once, but rather incrementally, beginning with Dark Souls 3. Given that DS3 is the most recent release on Steam with the largest active playerbase, it makes natural that FromSoft and Bamco would start there. Our watchful Souls Watch will continue until happy GiantDads are once again quickly rolling on the cobblestones of the Undead Burg.