A conversation with Bloodborne creator Hidetaka Miyazaki

The genius mind behind Demon’s Souls discusses his new PS4 action epic

Okay, let’s make this 100% clear. When it comes to the Souls series – and the work of creator Hidetaka Miyazaki in general – I’m a proud, unabashed fanboy and I’ll happily assault anyone who comes within shouting distance with irrefutable testament. Duly, with From Software’s latest effort – the deliciously dark action epic Bloodborne – just a few days out from launch, I’ve got one last chance to jump on my soapbox and bang the drum ;)

Last week, Miyazaki-san was kind enough to put aside a little of his valuable time to answer a few questions about his eagerly anticipated PS4 exclusive. Read on to find out what he had to say – and you need not worry about spoilers. Like so many of you, I’m doing my upmost to ensure I know as little as possible about the gruesome treats that lie in wait when I boot up my copy of the game next Friday.

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The Souls titles were never specifically labelled ‘horror’, but I can think of few other games that fill me with such a sense of fear and dread while playing. It looks like you’re taking that ball and running with it in Bloodborne – just watching the trailers makes me incredibly anxious…

Hidetaka Miyazaki: There are several reasons why you need a sense of horror in the world, especially with Bloodborne, which has a more chilling world view than Souls. It’s not like horror is something we specifically go for, but it’s important to have that sense of fear and terror because it directly ties into the player overcoming that and enhancing their sense of achievement.

“To create a game world that is always kind to players – that’s not how I see the real world.”

At the same time, my personal view is that the world we live in can be a harsh and unkind place. To create a game world that is always kind to players – that’s not how I see the real world. Whether it be nature or society, it’s often a harsh and unkind environment – so that translates into my games.

I know there are some who prefer the ‘hub’ system from Demon’s Souls but for me, one of the most memorable aspects of your recent work was the extraordinary world-building of Dark Souls – how the game’s locations all linked up like some grand, intricate work of origami. How have you approached Bloodborne’s map design?

Hidetaka Miyazaki: I wanted to take the best of both approaches. So every area is linked in one way or another much like the first Dark Souls, but you also have a hub system like Demon’s Souls.

The world itself is a painted world in several respects – like Dark Souls – but essentially each area is still seamlessly connected. At the same time, to access each point, there are central hubs that act as warp points, and to reach new points, you still have the hub which also acts as a refuge as well. I wanted to combine the best of these elements so that you’d be able to easily go to areas you’ve already discovered.

Since launch, the stature of Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls has grown and grown, and they now inhabit pretty rarefied air, comfortably sitting among the all-time greats. How do you deal with having such an obsessive and passionate fanbase?

Hidetaka Miyazaki: First of all, I’m incredibly happy to have these fans. I’d be lying if I didn’t feel pressure to meet their expectations, but I get a lot of enjoyment reading and hearing what they have to say.

For these people to put so much time into my games and really discuss things that I’ve created with such passion… I’ll go online and enjoy reading what they have to say. Of course, sometimes there are things that are not so enjoyable to read – but even taking that on board, over all I take great pleasure in their comments. As a creator it’s such a valuable resource, to listen to their honest feedback and think about what game I’m going to make next. You couldn’t go out there and pay people money to put in the hours that these people do!

When I went to PlayStation Experience in the USA at the end of last year, there was a Q&A panel there with the players, and I realised the level of passion that people have.

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Does it bother you that people are so fixated on your games’ perceived high level of difficulty, rather than other aspects of the experience?

Hidetaka Miyazaki: It’s not something I find frustrating. I do understand why people ask about it a lot, but I’m happy that people are fascinated by it – in that respect I don’t mind being repeatedly asked about difficulty. It’s something that I find enjoyable to discuss.

As a game creator – or a creator of anything – for people to be fascinated and ask questions and be curious about what I’m making, that’s something that can’t be taken for granted and I’m very grateful for that.

Often to the detriment of my social life, I’ve found Souls games to be hugely replayable, relinquishing new secrets every time I return to them. How are you approaching New Game + in Bloodborne?

Hidetaka Miyazaki: The actual set-up is essentially the same, but if you play it I think you’ll see that the feel is a bit different to Souls. There is that replayability in the same form for Bloodborne as there was in Dark Souls, but it’s a different game, so even if the feature is similar, you might have a different experience with New Game + or New Game ++ – or however many times you choose to replay.

“I’d like gamers to challenge themselves and see what they can get out of New Game+”

A simple example is that there is no defensive style of play in Bloodborne. That starts to be more apparent the more New Game + playthroughs you go through. So a gamer can experience a different taste of New Game + compared to a Souls game. I’d like gamers to challenge themselves and see what they can get out of New Game +.

There’s been a little consternation among Souls fans on the web at the suggestion that Bloodborne won’t feature quite so many weapons as in the Souls games. Can you clarify exactly how the weapon system works in Bloodborne?

Hidetaka Miyazaki: In terms of how many physical weapons there are, the amount is less than in a Souls game, but that’s to some extent a decision made due to the game design.

The weapons transform – so one weapon will have various uses and strategies that you can implement. You can also customise your weapon with Blood Gems. There are different types and you can slot in up to three at a time. One gem might have you use less stamina per swing, for example.

You can have many different combinations – so actually the amount of weapons in Souls is absorbed in Bloodborne by this customisation element and how someone can tailor a weapon to how they want to use it. In a way, the variety is still there, but it’s absorbed down on a customisation level, rather than in the quantity of actual weapons, much more than in Souls.

18 Comments
2 Author replies
1

Good read, although it ends sort of abruptly…I was initially concerned about the number of weapons and more importantly armor, but I realized that the previous games had so much, yet I used about 5% of all the possible items, so I suppose its not such a bad thing, although it was possible for everyone to find something they like. Interested to play this game eventually.

1.1

Indeed, it did end rather abruptly! It was late in the day and everyone needed their dinner. I could have spoken for much longer ;)

2

Fred is commenting again I see. Two questions, one on topic one not.

On topic: I notice that the price for this is somewhat above the US version, whenever we ask why we pay more you always answer “the publisher sets the price” well this is published by SCEE so, why are we paying a significant markup? According to SCEA the game is worth 60 US dollars, yet we are expected to pay 74 US dollars, explain.

Off topic: a month the ago you promised to return to the Powers thread with details regarding the release date, you didn’t. Am I to assume that that means this Sony owned, Sony produced and Sony published TV show still doesn’t have a European release date? Care to offer an explanation of the delay and possibly give an ETA?

hey murton.

why’d you have to go & ask ‘difficult’ customer based questions?

Mr Dutton will just perform his keyser soze impersonation. he he.

2.2

Hey TrueMorton. Unfortunately I’m not in a position of either authority or wisdom to discuss the complexities of global commerce in any depth. Obviously I’m aware that all manner of commodities are slightly more expensive in Europe than they are in the US (I buy things, believe it or not, and it bugs me just as much as it does you), and there are a huge number of factors why this is, from currency conversion, to varying costs of supply chains, localisation expenses, to regional taxation issues (eg. that $60 you quote does not include sales tax, which is added at checkout in NA, unlike EU), and so forth. All I can say is that we do our best to price our games as competitively and as fairly as possible.

Re. Powers. I don’t have an update for you at present. As soon as EU dates are confirmed, you’ll know about it here.

2.3

Ah, the tax excuse, I was prepared for that.

US PSN doesn’t add tax at the checkout, at all. And due to a flaw in the tax system VAT isn’t actually collected in the UK on download purchases, (though this loophole will close nect month, will there be a price hike?) and even if VAT was was collected the difference would be approx 16% not as much as 40% (300% in the case of Sonys Music Unlimited service) Also that doesn’t explain why SCEE published games were all £40 before the November 2013 and then suddenly £50+ afterwards, did our tsc rate suddenly double on the same day the PS4 came out? I must have missed that.

Seems to me that games had to increase in price this gen because they’re getting more expensive to produce, but because some SCEA exec promised at E3 2013 that games wouldn’t increase in price, Europe would have to be overcharged to cover the reduction in revenue in the US.

As for Powers, that’s just poor. I realise that you can only give the information you’ve given but e...

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Ah, the tax excuse, I was prepared for that.

US PSN doesn’t add tax at the checkout, at all. And due to a flaw in the tax system VAT isn’t actually collected in the UK on download purchases, (though this loophole will close nect month, will there be a price hike?) and even if VAT was was collected the difference would be approx 16% not as much as 40% (300% in the case of Sonys Music Unlimited service) Also that doesn’t explain why SCEE published games were all £40 before the November 2013 and then suddenly £50+ afterwards, did our tsc rate suddenly double on the same day the PS4 came out? I must have missed that.

Seems to me that games had to increase in price this gen because they’re getting more expensive to produce, but because some SCEA exec promised at E3 2013 that games wouldn’t increase in price, Europe would have to be overcharged to cover the reduction in revenue in the US.

As for Powers, that’s just poor. I realise that you can only give the information you’ve given but every major TV content creator now recognises that the smaller the gap between US and Europe broadcast, the lower the piracy rate. By the time SCEE gets its act together and gets this content out there people will have obtained it by other means, making it a commercial failure and therefore ending the show before it gets going and all because someone in an office somewhere wouldn’t push a button.

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6

Any info on the trophy list for the game? I am expecting the platinum rarity to be 0.1% :)

A question about Bloodborne: can we tun off the HUD?

supersmith2500 20 March, 2015 @ 18:50
5

What’s the difficulty in the game?

SatoshiOokami 23 March, 2015 @ 09:10
5.1

So high even developers have problems with finishing it =D

Can’t wait.
Even got an emergency appointment at the dentist and got a filling done on top of a filling so it doesn’t interrupt Bloodborne playtime!
day off work too :)

Great interview. Miyazaki is the new Miyamoto of visionary and uncompromised game design. Bring on Bloodborne!

Dear Fred,

I know this is totally unrelated, but could you kindly please ask Jawad to reply to the many, many concerns over the delayed Rock Band 3 content in SCEE regions?

Week after week we ask and get no response. The developers (Harmonix) are the only ones keeping us informed and apparently they’ve tried to communicate with SCEE (have submitted and re-submitted the content), yet nothing seems to be happening. There are now a total of 6 songs available worldwide on the XBOX, and they’re also on the US PSN Store without any delays. The first three were released way back in January, and it’s only us PS3 players in SCEE regions who are left waiting for the content to appear.

It’s not a good start with Rock Band 4 set to be released for the PS4 later this year!

Could you please make some enquiries and try get the content up on the SCEE PSN Stores?

Thank you!

(here are the songs in question)

Arctic Monkeys – R U Mine?
Avenged Sevenfold – Shepherd Of Fire
Foo Fighters – Something From ...

Show full comment

Dear Fred,

I know this is totally unrelated, but could you kindly please ask Jawad to reply to the many, many concerns over the delayed Rock Band 3 content in SCEE regions?

Week after week we ask and get no response. The developers (Harmonix) are the only ones keeping us informed and apparently they’ve tried to communicate with SCEE (have submitted and re-submitted the content), yet nothing seems to be happening. There are now a total of 6 songs available worldwide on the XBOX, and they’re also on the US PSN Store without any delays. The first three were released way back in January, and it’s only us PS3 players in SCEE regions who are left waiting for the content to appear.

It’s not a good start with Rock Band 4 set to be released for the PS4 later this year!

Could you please make some enquiries and try get the content up on the SCEE PSN Stores?

Thank you!

(here are the songs in question)

Arctic Monkeys – R U Mine?
Avenged Sevenfold – Shepherd Of Fire
Foo Fighters – Something From Nothing
Tenacious D – Rize Of The Fenix
Weezer – Back To The Shack
Frank Turner – I Still Believe (FREE)

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