Hidetaka Miyazaki, the creator of the Souls and Elden Ring series, gave an interview to New Yorker highlighting his inspirations, artistic goals, and some reflections on his meteoric rise in the gaming industry over the last decade. Miyazaki was candid about his mechanical skills in games, stating, “I’ve never been a very skilled player, I die a lot.” He further explained, “If death is supposed to be more than just a sign of bad luck, how do I make sense of it? How can I make death pleasant?
In an interview, Miyazaki was adamant that the complexity of his games is a major part of their nature, but he didn’t mince criticizing players who are turned off by their design, stating that he does “feel apologetic towards anyone who thinks it’s too much.” There’s a lot to overcome” in his games, but he just wants “as many players as possible to experience the joy of overcoming challenges.”
I was fascinated by the exploration of Miyazaki’s personal history. He grew up in difficult circumstances and, after graduating from college, took a well-paying but unfulfilling job to help support his family. After moving into the gaming industry late in his career, inspired by Fumito Ueda’s Ico, Miyazaki was placed in charge of the failed project and licensed to take risks. That project was the 2009 game Demon’s Souls, which established most of the series’ defining characteristics.
Regarding FromSoftware’s latest release and its potential for a more accessible experience, Miyazaki stated that the team wanted “people to feel like winning is an achievable feat.” At the same time, FromSoft’s president also explained that “in our games, in particular, difficulties give meaning to the experience. So it’s not something we’re willing to give up at the moment. This is our identity.”
Another point of interest was that Miyazaki went into more detail about his working relationship with George R.R. Martin. The nature of Martin’s contributions to the backstory and the basis of the setting have been public for some time now, but this feature revealed that Miyazaki has been a fan of Martin’s fiction for a long time – long before the resounding success of Game of Thrones – and that the two artists even became friends through a collaboration. Sometimes it really pays to meet your heroes.