Hidetaka Miyazaki, the developer of the Souls series and Elden Ring, spoke with The New Yorker about his influences, creative aspirations, and some musings on his stratospheric climb in the games business over the last decade.
“I’ve never been a particularly great player, and I did a lot,” Miyazaki admitted regarding his own mechanical competence with games.
He continued, “I’ll tell you why,” he said “How can I give death meaning if it is to be more than a symbol of failure? I’m not sure how I’m going to make death fun.”
Miyazaki was adamant in the interview that the difficulty of his games is a core part of their nature, but he didn’t dismiss the criticisms of players turned off by their design, saying that he “feels apologetic toward anyone who feels there’s just too much to overcome” in his games, but that he simply wants “as many players as possible to experience the joy that comes from overcoming hardship.”
The feature’s study of Miyazaki’s personal biography captivated me. He grew up in a challenging environment and left college to work in a well-paying but unfulfilling profession to help support his family.
Miyazaki was put in charge of a failed project and given permission to take chances with it after a late-career transfer to the games business inspired by Fumito Ueda’s Ico. Demon’s Souls, released in 2009, introduced the majority of the series’ distinguishing qualities.
Miyazaki stated that the company wants “for people to feel like success is an attainable achievement” while discussing FromSoftware’s latest release and its promise to be a more approachable experience.
However, the head of FromSoft stressed that “In our games, it is the difficulty that gives the experience significance. As a result, it’s not something we’re prepared to give up right now. It’s a part of who we are.”
Miyazaki went into additional depth regarding his working relationship with George R. R. Martin, which was a last subject of interest.
The nature of Martin’s contributions to the setting’s background lore and framework has long been known, but the feature revealed that Miyazaki has long been a fan of Martin’s fiction—long before Game of Thrones’ breakout success—and that the two artists developed a personal friendship as a result of their collaboration. It might be beneficial to meet your heroes on occasion.