Hidetaka Miyazaki

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Hidetaka Miyazaki
Native name
宮崎 英高
Born1974 or 1975 (age 43–45)
Shizuoka, Japan
NationalityJapanese
Alma materKeio University
OccupationGame director, game designer, writer
Notable work
Souls series
TitlePresident of FromSoftware, Inc.
Term2014–present
Awards

Hidetaka Miyazaki (宮崎 英高, Miyazaki Hidetaka, born in Shizuoka, Japan) is a Japanese video game director, designer, writer, and company president of FromSoftware. Miyazaki originally joined them as a game designer in 2004, and soon began directing games in the Armored Core series. He became internationally known for creating and directing the Souls series, starting with Demon's Souls in 2009. Other notable games he has directed include Bloodborne and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.

Miyazaki's influences range from the works of various novelists, mangakas, and other game designers such as Fumito Ueda and Yuji Horii, as well as Asian and European architecture. Miyazaki's games, particularly the Souls series, often invoke the use of high difficulty, strong visual and environmental storytelling, and a large amount of setting and character background information provided through mostly vague flavor text and fluff. His work in the Souls series has been seen as influential, with him winning a lifetime achievement award and generally being called an auteur of video games.

Early life[edit]

Miyazaki stated that he grew up "tremendously poor" while living in the city of Shizuoka, Japan, stating that he had no life ambitions unlike many peers of his age.[1] Despite that, he was a heavy reader, but as his parents could not afford to buy him books or manga, he had to borrow from his local library.[1] The books he read at the time, many in English, were sometimes beyond his reading capabilities, with parts of text he could not understand fully. Using his imagination to fill in the blanks by using the accompanying illustrations, Miyazaki used this as inspiration for some of his later ideas on video game design.[1] Alongside this, he was restricted from playing video games by his parents until he was old enough to attend university, so he instead played gamebooks and tabletop games such as Steve Jackson's Sorcery! and Dungeons & Dragons.[2]

Career[edit]

After graduating from Keio University with a degree in social science, Miyazaki went to work doing account managing for the U.S. based Oracle Corporation.[1][3] Upon a friend's recommendation, Miyazaki began playing the 2001 video game Ico, causing him to consider a career change to a game designer.[1] At age 29 however, Miyazaki found that few game companies would employ him, with one of the few being FromSoftware, where Miyazaki began working as a game planner on Armored Core: Last Raven in 2004, joining the game's development halfway through.[1][3] Miyazaki later directed the development of Armored Core 4 and its direct sequel, Armored Core: For Answer.[3]

Upon learning about what later became Demon's Souls, Miyazaki became excited at the prospect of a fantasy action role-playing game and offered to help.[1] The project, up until Miyazaki was assigned to it, was considered a failure by the company, with Miyazaki stating "I figured if I could find a way to take control of the game, I could turn it into anything I wanted. Best of all, if my ideas failed, nobody would care – it was already a failure."[1] Although the game was received negatively at the 2009 Tokyo Game Show and sold far under expectations upon release, it began to pick up after a few months and soon found publishers willing to release the title outside of Japan.[1] After the release and success of the game's spiritual successor Dark Souls in 2011, Miyazaki was promoted to the position of company president in May 2014.[4][5]

After the release of the Prepare to Die edition of Dark Souls in August 2012, Sony Computer Entertainment approached FromSoftware concerning cooperative development on a new title. Miyazaki asked about the possibility of developing a game for eighth-generation consoles, and the concept of Bloodborne developed from there. There were no story or setting connections to FromSoftware's previous games, even though Miyazaki conceded that it "carries the DNA of Demon's Souls and its very specific level design".[2] Development ran parallel to that of Dark Souls II, which Miyazaki simply supervised as he was unable to direct both games simultaneously.[6]

After the release of Bloodborne in March 2015, Miyazaki returned to the Souls series as the director on Dark Souls III (2016), with assistance from Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor and Dark Souls II lead directors Isamu Okano and Yui Tanimura, respectively.[7][8] A month later, Miyazaki stated his intentions to personally stop development on the Souls series.[9][10] His next two projects were the 2018 virtual reality (VR) game Déraciné, and the 2019 action-adventure Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.[11][12] At the 2018 Golden Joystick Awards ceremony, he was awarded show's Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the video game industry.[13] The award was presented to him by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson, two of his design influences.[14] Miyazaki is also set to direct the action role-playing game Elden Ring in collaboration with A Song of Ice and Fire series author, George R. R. Martin.[15]

Influences and design philosophy[edit]

Miyazaki is often inspired by real world architecture and incorporates it into his game design philosophy. One such example is the Milan Cathedral in Italy, which he used as a base to model Anor Londo, a central location in Dark Souls.

Miyazaki's influences include video games such as Ico,[16] the early Dragon Quest games,[17][18] and The Legend of Zelda[17][19] and King's Field video game series,[20] manga series such as Berserk, Saint Seiya, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure,[21] and Devilman,[19] the literary works of H. P. Lovecraft, Bram Stoker, and George R. R. Martin,[19][22][23] and gamebooks such as Steve Jackson's Sorcery! and RuneQuest.[19][24] Miyazaki is also inspired by architecture, especially of Europe, and often uses it as a way of environmental storytelling.[25][26][27] He stated that psychology, sociology, and the history of humanity have also influenced his design philosophy.[2] The multiplayer mechanics of the Souls series were inspired by his own personal experience of driving up on a snowy road as cars ahead began slipping back and were pushed up hill by other people in the area. As Miyazaki was unable to give his appreciation to them before leaving the area, he wondered whether the last person in the line had made it to their destination, thinking that he would probably never meet them again. This gave birth to the series' interconnected multiplayer systems, with it attempting to emulate that same sense of silent cooperation in the face of adversity.[28]

Miyazaki stated that the notable difficulty of the Souls series had no intention of being "more difficult than other titles on purpose". Rather, the difficulty was a part of the process that gives players "a sense of accomplishment by overcoming tremendous odds", while also having a certain level of difficulty incentivizing players to "experiment more with character builds and weapon load-outs".[25] He has stated that death is supposed to be a tool meant to be used to learn in a trial and error process, and that the idea of using death in-game as an educational tool would have been received poorly by both his superiors and the players, at least before the commercial and critical success of Demon's Souls.[29] When asked about his style of storytelling, Miyazaki stated that despite what others may believe, he does not dislike direct storytelling, but instead prefers players to interpret the world for themselves; stating that the player gets more value from it when "they themselves find out hints of plot from items or side-characters they encounter in the world".[25] Many gaming journalists and critics have called him an "auteur" of video games, noting his influential work in the Souls series which has gone on to influence many other game designers.[30][31][32]

Works[edit]

Year Title Role
2005 Armored Core: Last Raven Planner
2006 Armored Core 4 Director
2008 Armored Core: For Answer
2009 Demon's Souls
2011 Dark Souls Director, producer
2014 Dark Souls II Supervisor
2015 Bloodborne Director
2016 Dark Souls III
2018 Déraciné
2019 Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
TBA Elden Ring

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b c Silva, Marty (February 5, 2015). "Inside the Mind of Bloodborne and Dark Souls' Creator – IGN First". IGN. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Gantayat, Anoop. "Hidetaka Miyazaki Discusses Dark Souls". Archived from the original on April 27, 2016. Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  4. ^ Duwell, Ron. "Dark Souls' Hidetaka Miyazaki Promoted to President of From Software". Techno Buffalo. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
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  6. ^ "新しいハードで新しいゲームを――PS4専用タイトル「Bloodborne(ブラッドボーン)」とはどんなゲームなのか。ディレクター・宮崎英高氏インタビュー" (in Japanese). 4Gamer. June 19, 2014. Archived from the original on February 16, 2015. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
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  8. ^ Scammell, David (June 17, 2015). "Dark Souls 3 is being developed by a different team to Bloodborne". VideoGamer.com. Archived from the original on June 17, 2015. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  9. ^ Hillier, Brenna (April 27, 2016). "Dark Souls 3 director already working on a new IP". VG247. Archived from the original on April 28, 2016. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  10. ^ Hussain, Tamoor. "Dark Souls 3 Interview: "It Wouldn't Be Right to Continue Creating Souls"". GameSpot. Archived from the original on March 29, 2016. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  11. ^ Yamagiwa, Masaaki. "Déraciné: Japan Studio X FromSoftware's PS VR Debut". blog.us.playstation.com. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
  12. ^ McWhertor, Michael. "FromSoftware's Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice coming from Activision". Polygon. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
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  17. ^ a b "Dark Souls' grand vision". Edge. Archived from the original on February 4, 2012. Retrieved July 13, 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
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  19. ^ a b c d Mielke, James. "'Dark Souls' Creator Miyazaki on 'Zelda,' Sequels and Starting Out". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 5, 2016. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  20. ^ Cook, Dave. "From King's Field to Bloodborne: the lineage of Dark Souls". VG247. Archived from the original on April 15, 2015. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  21. ^ "Dark Souls Design Works Translation: Weapons and Equipment Part 1/2". Giant Bomb. Archived from the original on May 22, 2015. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  22. ^ "[Bloodborne] Exclusive Interview with Jun Yoshino!". playstation.com. Archived from the original on April 15, 2015.
  23. ^ Krabbe, Esra. "Elden Ring Is an Evolution of Dark Souls Says Creator – E3 2019". IGN. Archived from the original on June 22, 2019. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
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  27. ^ Stanton, Rich. "The Real Dark Souls Starts Here: 13 Real-Life Inspirations for Lordran". IGN. Archived from the original on August 20, 2016. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  28. ^ MacDonald, Keza (May 27, 2010). "Souls Survivor". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on March 19, 2017. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
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  31. ^ Hetfeld, Malindy. "Auteur Theory and Games". Unwinnable.com. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
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