Soul bringer

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FromSoft­ware chief Hide­taka Miyazaki ex­plains why he made a hands-on re­turn to Dark Souls

Dark Souls cre­ator Hide­taka Miyazaki is mind­ful of com­pla­cency. Play­ers’ ap­petite for the Souls se­ries ap­pears un­yield­ing, but as his games at­test, the FromSoft­ware boss is keenly aware of hubris’s pit­falls – even dur­ing an end­play. We find him in a con­tem­pla­tive mood when we meet to dis­cuss Dark Souls III. You’ve said in the past that you’d only con­sider re­turn­ing to Dark Souls if you felt that you could achieve some­thing ground­break­ing with it again. Why is now the right time? Orig­i­nally I was not on the Dark Souls III project. A dif­fer­ent di­rec­tor was head­ing up the pro­to­typ­ing; I was busy work­ing on Blood­borne. The Dark Souls III project was hit­ting some speed bumps, and that time was also the peak of Dark Souls II’s de­vel­op­ment work. It was be­fore I be­came pres­i­dent [of FromSoft­ware], and the pres­i­dent at the time asked me if I would get on board with Dark Souls III.

Blood­borne was pretty much built at the time. Be­ing im­mersed in Blood­borne and then look­ing at the prospect of work­ing on Dark Souls again, it gave me the chance to make com­par­isons, and come to re­al­i­sa­tions about what is in­ter­est­ing about Dark Souls’ world, and the dif­fer­ences be­tween what was done in Blood­borne and what could be done in a world of swords and shields, and magic and fan­tasy. I had a sec­ond rev­e­la­tion about the po­ten­tial of fan­tasy. So I felt it was a good time to re­turn. I was able to come to some re­al­i­sa­tions, af­ter Blood­borne, about what types of things might bring more to the Dark Souls ex­pe­ri­ence. Peo­ple have been play­ing the orig­i­nal Dark Souls for four years, in all sorts of dif­fer­ent ways. Is there any­thing that they haven’t found yet? Well, there aren’t any undis­cov­ered items, or spe­cific bits of game­play. But Dark Souls is in some ways an in­com­plete game, and I like to think that it has been com­pleted by play­ers, by their dis­cov­er­ies, as they moved along. I’d love to say that the na­ture of this in­com­plete­ness was com­pletely de­lib­er­ate, but it is both de­lib­er­ate and by accident, in dif­fer­ent ways.

I am con­scious of that when I make th­ese games: I try to make a game that has beau­ti­ful open spa­ces, gaps, room for play­ers to enjoy it in ways that were not au­thored. I never want it to be where you have to fol­low the rules com­pletely, where you have to do things ex­actly as the de­sign­ers in­tended. I like to think that this way of cre­at­ing – leav­ing spa­ces – is sat­is­fy­ing. So if there are in­com­plete as­pects of Dark Souls III, please for­give us. When the player is in­side the world of the game, there are var­i­ous places where they feel they may be able to peek be­hind the cur­tain, pry open a win­dow and see be­yond.

“If all th­ese peo­ple are get­ting mar­ried be­cause of my game, why haven’t I been able to get mar­ried?”

There are all sorts of sto­ries about the ways in which Dark Souls has touched peo­ple’s lives. How do you feel when you dis­cover those things? I have staff mem­bers who were really into Dark Souls and have come to work at FromSoft­ware. Once, at PlaySta­tion Ex­pe­ri­ence, a fan talked to me and said he’d got­ten mar­ried as a re­sult of ei­ther De­mon’s or Dark Souls. I never imag­ined

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