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Bloodborne fans’ PSX demake is peak retro PlayStation aesthetic

Yharnam looks a little different

Bloodborne PSX - a fanged wolf-like beast, depicted in PlayStation-era graphics, stands in the middle of a room. Image: Lilith Walther
Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

There is no Bloodborne 2 on the horizon, and developer FromSoftware is still working on the mysterious Elden Ring. Fans who want to delve deeper into 2015’s Bloodborne, which is now considered a classic, are finding other projects to pursue — like a PlayStation demake of the game.

Game developer Lilith Walther has been creating Bloodborne PSX in Unreal Engine and sharing the passion project on Twitter for some time now. Fans have watched it evolve from a prototype into a much more sophisticated and polished looking version. The project originally began in 2017 before being shelved; Walther restarted work in January 2021, and has since posted regular updates with fans.

The goal is to create a version of Bloodborne that is in line with the technology and graphics of the original ’90s PlayStation console. Walther posts regular threads showing progress — for instance, here she shows off the PSX version of the game’s Cleric Beast fight.

Other people have contributed to the project, including composer Evelyn Lark and artist Corwyn Prichard, who has worked on textures for levels as well as a model for the Plain Doll character.

Bloodborne fans use Walther’s Twitter threads and the Bloodborne PSX Discord to discuss how things should be interpreted from a high-res version on PlayStation 4 to a much more limited and carefully designed “demake.” Right now, PlayStation-era graphics are currently “in,” and developers challenge themselves to create the aesthetic with projects like Cyberpunk 1997.

“I would say early gen 3D games are finally starting to hit the ‘retro’ aesthetic that pixel art has been enjoying for years and years,” Walther said in a conversation with Polygon over Discord. “I think the rise in popularity of not only BBPSX but many, many indie games that are using a low poly ‘early 3d gen’ art style is proof of that!”

The community around Bloodborne PSX shows that popular games can live on through niche projects and deep discussions, many years after they’ve been released. Bloodborne remains a uniquely stylish and intriguing game, and Bloodborne PSX proves that people still want to revisit the world.

“People have been tagging me with their own early-in-development [PlayStation] demakes saying that I was directly responsible for inspiring them, as well as others saying that they want to get into game development because of BBPSX,” Walther said. “Even the people who say that they look forward to the updates every day makes me so happy. Game development is something that I’m always more than eager to help people understand and maybe get into and seeing BBPSX push that farther than I ever have before fills me with so much joy.”