The leaked Dark Souls III screenshots and E3 rumors have been confirmed to be real by IGN. In addition to the confirmation, IGN also has new artwork and a release window, placing the sequel for a release in “Early 2016.”

If you want to include Bloodborne, this latest entry from From Software would appear to be putting Dark Souls on a path towards becoming an annually released franchise. Only unlike Ubisoft and Activision, From Software is a relatively small company without the massive international roster of employees to squeeze the games on a two or three year development cycle.

Despite the millions of copies they sell and the billions of dollars they make, annual franchises have not exactly been popular with more vocal gamers. I’m wondering how they, especially the vocal Dark Souls fans, will react knowing that one of the niche audience’s most popular modern hits could become the next Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty.

Are annual releases magically going to become acceptable overnight, or is Dark Souls treading a slippery slope that might prove a little too dangerous for its longevity?

More to come from E3 next week. Keep your eyes and ears open during Sony’s and Microsoft’s press conferences.