How Lordran’s Most Detailed Map Was Created For A Dark Souls Lore Book – NBCNEWS

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The dark fantasy world of Lordran, created by FromSoftware for the beloved action RPG Dark Souls, is acclaimed for its consistent and immersive nature. While it was once a prosperous kingdom ruled by gods, the events of Dark Souls see a land that has become a mere shell of its former glory. The world of Lordran, and its various interconnected regions, has been transformed into a gorgeous physical Dark Souls world map by artist and fantasy cartographer Judson Cowan. However, creating this densely detailed map was potentially more difficult than Dark Souls itself.

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The game world FromSoftware created for Dark Souls is known for its verticality and interconnected design. The RPG’s sequels feature some confusing and nonsensical geometry, like an elevator in Dark Souls 2 that leads up to the castle of Iron Keep, but the first entry fits areas together in believable and surprising ways. For example, players can glimpse the hidden Ash Lake from the distant Tomb of the Giants, and Firelink Shrine connects to almost all of Dark Souls’ regions in some way. While the map size in Elden Ring is many times larger than Lordran, the Dark Souls map makes up for its smaller size with atmosphere and consistency.

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Related: Elden Ring Makes You Use Your Map, But Not Lean On It

Talented artist and experienced Dark Souls cartographer Judson Cowan recently assumed the monumental task of mapping out Lordran. The flawless and highly detailed map, meant to evoke the in-game map of the Lands Between in Elden Ringhas been crafted for inclusion in an upcoming Dark Souls lore tome called Abyssal Archive. The Tune & Fairweather collector’s item will serve as a comprehensive analysis of the Dark Souls mythos and will release in early 2023 to celebrate the dark fantasy title’s 10-year anniversary. Judson Cowan’s fold-out companion map will round out the gorgeous release, and crafting it was no small feat.

Cowan’s Dark Souls Map Is Part Of Tune & Fairweather’s Abyssal Archive

Judson Cowan Faced “The Dark Souls of Gaming Cartography”


Dark Souls Lordran map Judson Cowan grayscale

In order to create a definitive map of the original Dark Souls universe, Judson Cowan used a variety of different artistic and cartographical techniques. Initially, the dedicated mapper surveyed Lordran by simply playing the game, but this proved incredibly laborious. Instead, Cowan took screenshots of each area in the game’s map viewer before splicing them together for both accuracy and visual appeal. The process required Cowan to print and trace together various sections into one big Dark Souls map before going back and adding an excruciating level of detail to each area. The line art apparently took over 150 hours to complete, and the map was then colored digitally using the software Procreate. Judson Cowan’s work resulted in a breathtakingly beautiful map of Lordran, and apparently, the masterpiece is still a work in progress. Fans can see the design process, posted by Judson Cowan on Twitter, below:

The lore of FromSoftware’s Dark Souls is perennially fascinating, and Judson Cowan has captured the wonder of Lordran within his extremely detailed Abyssal Archive map. Charting the interconnected game world was no simple task, but Cowan managed to perfectly match the tone and layout of every in-game area. The Abyssal Archive is available for pre-order now through Tune & Fairweather, and Judson Cowan’s dedication adds a special flair to the Dark Souls anniversary tribute.

Next: Dark Souls, Bloodborne Fan Art Book Kickstarted With VaatiVidya

Sources: Tune & Fairweather, Judson Cowan / Twitter

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