In new “Soulsborne” action RPG Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption, you get weaker after every boss fight

In a twist on convention, you'll level down rather than up every time you defeat bosses

“What if it was only boss fights?” was the conversation that started it all. As avid fans of the Soulsborne genre, myself and the rest of the Dark Star team have laughed, wailed and screamed at those game types for years.

But as we got older we noticed a growing problem: we just didn’t have the time anymore. Kids, work (even sleep) took priority and suddenly our favourite genre was being neglected. It was while we discussed this – as friends, long before we founded Dark Star – that the core idea of Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption (out today on PS4) was born.

All of us agreed that the boss fights were the moments we loved most about the Souls-like games. And so a concept was solidified (though we bounced around the idea for about a year before we decided to turn those late night musings into an actual game).

By this time, we had a solid concept: a nameless warrior facing his sins. And, as our lead artist is passionate about European religion and medieval art, we already had a head start.

Sinner SinnerSinner


The game’s core concept was strong from the get-go and early design work proved we had the solid foundations of something. But we had a few major issues.

The game’s core concept came together pretty solidly, and we were confident we were onto something, but we had a few major issues. The biggest was the player getting stuck.

We had taken a lot of inspiration from the game Furi. But its style of linear progression and our slower-paced action wasn’t proving to be a good pairing. Our solution? Allow all bosses (with the exception of the final boss) to be approachable at any point rather than gate access to them.

Simple, right? Variety is the spice of life, after all! And it worked. Our play testers loved it, our publisher was dancing for joy. But there was still something missing: progression.

Sinner is a big project and we are a small team, so we always knew that massive skill trees, hordes of weapons, and shiny upgrades were off the table for us. This presented a serious problem: how then do we make the player feel like their character is developing the more they play?



Nobody can remember who exactly suggested we weaken the player as a ‘reward’ come the end of each and every boss fight. But we all remember that eureka moment vividly.

In Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption, you don’t get stronger, you get weaker. You start as the most powerful you will be and you get weaker as you progress.

This solved the feeling of progression and the game’s difficulty curve. The enemies don’t get tougher: you get weaker.

As we began showcasing the game throughout China, and eventually America and Europe, we realised that players wanted something like this. Brutal, punishing, but open and varied. The response so far has been amazing.

We cannot wait for Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption to land on PS4 today! It will be our first time launching on the platform and we are overwhelmingly happy to be here.

0 Author replies

“Sacrifice your strengh” ? 😁

That being said, this game looks absolutely gorgeous!

I’m so out of touch. How long has there been a gaming genre named “Soulsborne”?

Since Bloodborne came out! …Before that, they were just called “Souls-like”. It’s definitely been a thing for a while.

“Soulsborne” only consists of Souls games and Bloodborne. “Soulslike” on the other hand consists of them and anything that has the similar style. So, “Soulsborne” = the series and “Soulslike” = the genre.

Thanks for the clarification.

Can we not start throwing around ‘Soulsborne’ to the same extent as ‘Metroidvania’.



Why not? It did make the genre famous. If you have no other problems in your life you must be a happy man (or woman).

Because it doesn’t mean anything. A challenging game with melee combat. That’s about it. Just like Metroidvania doesn’t mean anything. A game where you learn new moves to reach previously unavailable areas. They’re both lazy, I think. But you’re right, it doesn’t actually bother me really.


“You get weaker after every boss fight…” – Nope.

“What if it was only boss fights?” – Nope nope nope nope…

Boss fights only? They make it sound like something unique – ever heard of Shadow of the Colossus by any chance?

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