Hidetaka Miyazaki Says His Games Are Always Bleak Because the World is “Generally a Wasteland” and “Not Kind to Us”

Hidetaka Miyazaki, director of Dark Souls, Dark Souls III and supervisor on Dark Souls II; has recently discussed his motivation behind the worlds he creates. The answer is rather bleak.

In an interview with IGN, Miyazaki discussed his newly announced and next-in-line title, Elden Ring, and his collaboration with George R. R. Martin. It seems the game will carry over more elements of Dark Souls than just the aesthetic, and even with new additions that Elden Ring is the next “evolution” of those games.

“Elden Ring is a third-person action RPG with a fantasy setting. The gameplay is not so far from Dark Souls. That doesn’t mean that the gameplay will be identical, but you could say that Elden Ring belongs to the same genre.”

[…] “With a larger world, new systems and action mechanics inevitably become necessary. In that sense, I think that Elden Ring is a more natural evolution of Dark Souls.”

[…] “While the narrow and complex dungeons of our previous games were indeed interconnected, Elden Ring’s environments will be much more open and vast. The more extensive world will form the base of Elden Ring’s gameplay, and its mechanics are designed with that type of environment in mind.”

Miyazaki states these open environments will create for more “diverse situations” than the smaller and enclosed areas of Dark Souls games. The main character will even be able to ride and fight on horseback. He also wished to encourage exploration, hoping to “create depth in a different way than” Sekiro. 

Regarding the story, Miyazaki discussed his love of Martin’s work, and how he was given a lot of freedom unlike FromSoftware’s own writers. He also felt something “immediately clicked” and “was really surprised by how smoothly it all went.”

“It all started with me being a fan of Mr. Martin’s works. A Song of Ice and Fire and its drama adaptation Game of Thrones are both masterpieces. I am also very fond of Fevre Dream and Tuf Voyaging.”

“Storytelling in video games – at least the way we do it at FromSoftware – comes with a lot of restrictions for the writer. I didn’t think it was a good idea to have Martin write within those restrictions. By having him write about a time the player isn’t directly involved in, he is free to unleash his creativity in the way he likes. Furthermore, as FromSoftware we didn’t want to create a more linear and storydriven experience for Elden Ring. Both issues could be solved by having Martin write about the world’s history instead.”

[…] “It was a fascinating collaboration, as we both weren’t restricted by each other, yet still influenced each other’s work. [Martin’s work] really is like a guide for the world’s lore, and therefore feels quite different from his novels. As someone that loves to learn about a world’s setting, it was very exciting to read.”

[…] “The player will be able to learn about Martin’s mythology through exploration. We are known for letting the player explore the game’s lore through fragments of environmental storytelling, and this time around Martin’s story is what you will be trying to unravel. The period the player actually explores is still connected to the old times, so as you slowly discover why the world has become the way it is, you will learn more about Martin’s mythology as well.”

Discussing how Miyazaki always created “beautiful worlds,” Miyazaki mused on what he considered beautiful, with some grim yet insightful words on how beautiful things often look more beautiful when surrounded by pitiable situations. It also offered insight into the dark aesthetic in most of his work.

“Light looks more beautiful in darkness. When there is something beautiful in the middle of a wasteland, we are able to appreciate it more. One jewel doesn’t look like much when you have a pile of them, but if you find one jewel in the midst of mud, it is worth so much more.”

[…] “Personally, a world that is happy and bright is something that just doesn’t feel realistic to me. It may sound like I have a trauma or something [said with laughter]. But I believe that the world is generally a wasteland that is not kind to us. That’s just the way I see it.”

Elden Ring will launch 2020 for Windows PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

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Taking his first steps onto Route 1 and never stopping, Ryan has had a love of RPGs since a young age. Now he's learning to appreciate a wider pallet of genres and challenges.