Berserk is a legendary manga. The series’ creator, Kentaro Miura, died on May 6, 2021. But his story needs to live on. Berserk follows the Black Swordsman called Guts who fights monsters with extreme brutality while wielding a very large sword. The series has enthralled readers since its run began in 1989.
During its lengthy tenure, Berserk’s detailed gothic hellscape visuals have inspired numerous gaming trends. Arguably, the big-sword protagonist trend was inspired by Guts. Dante from Devil May Cry, Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII, and Caim from Yoko Taro’s Drakengard are all characters that have arguably used elements of Guts as a basis.
Berserk’s influence goes far beyond lead characters. Every game in FromSoftware’s Souls franchise features numerous monsters and characters inspired by Berserk. Which makes the studio the perfect company to give Berserk its first good adaptation.
We need a Berserk game. And FromSoftware needs to make it.
Berserk has had mostly bad adaptations
Berserk is a legendary manga. It has gained acclaim for gorgeously detailed worlds, which Miura painstakingly drew. In addition to the art, Berserk features an expansive world, nuanced characters, and incredible action scenes.
There have been multiple attempts to adapt the series with varying levels of success.
Firstly there was a 1997 attempt to adapt Berserk into an anime. This one was widely well-received by audiences, but it’s incomplete and difficult to locate legally.
Berserk has since had two other anime adaptation attempts. One occurred in 2012 as a film trilogy based on the series’ Golden Age arc. While this adaptation was enjoyable, it was criticized for favoring action over the character drama. Following the film, a two-season anime aired. It adapted far more of the show than other attempts but failed on many other levels like cutting over story elements and simply looking terrible
There seems to almost always be something lost when adapting Berserk.
The most balanced modern adaptation attempt came in the form of a Dynasty Warriors-style game titled Berserk and the Band of the Hawk. The game spliced classic Musou gameplay with scenes from the film series. The game facilitated many of the beats that other adaptations missed. Using gameplay, the developers included many of the more contemplative moments from the series, which might be deemed too slow for other mediums.
Berserk and the Band of the Hawk critically failed due to repetitiveness and unwieldy difficulty spikes. Nevertheless, its existence is proof that with the right studio, a video game might be the best way to adapt the ambitious series.
Gaming is the only medium that can capture the ambitious number of details present in the series.
FromSoftware is the perfect studio for Berserk
If you need a studio to adapt Berserk into a video game, look no further than FromSoftware. Hidetaka Miyazaki, the man who has helmed nearly every entry in the Souls franchise, loves Berserk. On top of that, almost every game with Miyazaki’s involvement has been very overtly inspired by Berserk.
The Hunter’s Mark in Bloodbourne is said to reference the Mark of Sacrifice in Berserk. The characterization and story in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice are also seemingly inspired by Berserk. Dark Souls features numerous monsters that were directly pulled from Berserk. Elden Ring, a game that has only had two pixels from it shown, already might have a Berserk reference. That winged helmet we’ve seen in teasers bears resemblance to the Berserk character Farnese.
It’s obvious that Miyazaki adores Berserk.
The Souls games already closely resemble Berserk in terms of atmosphere. It would only take a little tinkering to turn the winning Souls formula into a Berserk game. The gameplay is arguably already there, especially if you combine elements from Sekiro. If you combined the tone and setting of the Souls games with the story, speed, and counter system in Seikiro, you’ve effectively got the basis of an amazing Berserk game.
Adapting Berserk into a Souls game would bring it to the attention of those that have yet to experience the series and could extend its longevity in the public eye. And what better way to honor Miura than to properly adapt his life’s work?