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The Surge is a sci-fi spin on Dark Souls, from the Lords of the Fallen team

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Deck13's Lords of the Fallen was an unabashed Dark Souls clone, but was mostly forgiven for liberally swiping from From Software's game by being a pretty solid action game. For the developer's next game, The Surge, Deck13 is hoping to do more than ape Dark Souls' medieval setting and combat by looking far into the future — and building on the foundation it laid with Lords of the Fallen.

The Surge is planned to hit PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One sometime in 2017. It's very early in development — just a few months old. As such, Deck13 didn't have much to show us other than concept art and a vision for The Surge.

Deck13's Marco Süß laid out the developer's plans for The Surge in an interview with Polygon at Gamescom, saying that the studio is developing its hardcore action-role-playing game with a deep crafting system in mind. Süß said Deck13 hopes not just to borrow mechanics from From Software's Souls games, but add to it with new gameplay mechanics, faster combat and futuristic technology.

"We want to move forward and show something new," Süß said, "give it our own flair, our own spin."

The Surge is set some 60 to 70 years in the future, when the technology that humanity has come to depend upon has turned against it. Süß showed a single piece of concept art (above) of the post-devastation world in which The Surge takes place, where enhanced humans and inhuman creatures live among the ruins of a technologically gifted society.

The Surge

Players will assume control of a survivor in that world, an ordinary man who wears a powerful, industrial-grade exoskeleton. It's not express built with military combat in mind, but that's where the game's crafting system and modular upgrades will come in, Süß said. Those systems will tie into The Surge's combat, which will allow players to target specific limbs of tech-enhanced enemies, lop them off and harvest their technology.

The Surge's combat will be faster-paced than that of Lords of the Fallen, Süß said, and complemented by exo suit powers, possibly including short bursts of flight for air-based attacks. Deck13 wants to give players a broader range of options in their approach to combat. Customization of the player's exo suit will lead to different play styles, Süß said, using Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's futuristic exoskeletons as an example of potential upgrade paths.

Deck13's latest effort is still in the conceptual phase, Süß reiterated, but the studio is staffing up — it just opened a new office in Berlin — to get the game out within two years.

Süß said that Deck13 is responding to criticism it received from Lords of the Fallen, mainly around the game's story and its frequent label as a clone of Dark Souls, in its approach to making The Surge.

"People thought of the game as more of a clone, but we didn't think of it that way," he said. "But we want to add to the genre this time. We want to put [out] something that has never been seen before."

The next level of puzzles.

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