Elden Ring boss Hidetaka Miyazaki reflects on how being a father might impact his future gaming


With the release of Shadow Of The Erdtree this week, From Software president Hidetaka Miyazaki conducted a series of interviews in which he discussed the next steps for the respected action RPG developer, or at least hinted at them in the way that a Dark Souls NPC suggests that you might want to browse around New Anor Londo. During one such conversation, Miyazaki comes dangerously close to discussing the “themes or core elements” of whatever game or games FromSoftware is working on next, commenting that he was inspired by the experience, although perhaps “short-term.” having a daughter.

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“There are a lot of elements that excite me, both in terms of video games and tabletop board games, and I think there’s a lot of fun to be had in that,” Miyazaki said Gaming spot, when asked about the game mechanics that currently intrigue him. “But for me personally, what I’m most excited about comes during the development of the game. Whenever I have a good idea and I can come up with a hypothesis and then test that theory by asking, “Hey, is this funny? Is this a good idea or not?” These moments bring me the most emotions. So maybe in my work I’m constantly chasing that feeling and excitement while creating games.

“One other thing that really excites me right now is watching my daughter grow up,” he continued. “And it may be a very short-term thing, but it is fascinating and very engaging to watch a little person discover or see the world; see how a person is built or how he is built, how his personality is shaped, how to start identifying and building your own identity. It might just be being a father, but I think there’s definitely something about it that excites me.”

When asked by Spot whether this parental fascination can provide the raw materials for an artistic or entertainment work, and in particular whether “the more naive and idealistic perspective that children have can change the way you see the world, and therefore the worlds you portray in games”, Miyakazi added:

“For me, it’s the rediscovery and discovery of that fleeting moment of beauty in many of these dark, cold, harsh and grotesque worlds, which I think allows it to shine even more,” he continued. “This philosophy applies to how I design and direct video games. So if I find a newer, even higher or more stimulating beauty, it will make the worlds even darker, more grotesque and harsher, so that they can shine even brighter. When it comes to a fantasy world, the brighter something shines, the darker the shadow it casts, right?”

Worse. I have at least three thoughts on this subject. The stupidest thing is that I can absolutely imagine an Elden Ring patch that explicitly increases grotesqueness by 25% to compensate for accidentally setting the beauty values ​​too high in the previous update and making all the Undead have rosy cheeks.

Another is that it sounds like round two of the Sad Daddification of video games, made eminent by the 2018 God Of War reboot – a loose period of introspection in which various prominent male game designers tried to humanize action games by drawing on their own experiences fatherhood . I don’t know if there has been a corresponding mummification of video games, perhaps because the industry hasn’t done a great job in the past of supporting and including game developers who become mothers.

Third, the concept of a Souls genre inspired by his daughter is complicated, given the absolutely convoluted, hyper-Aeschylean, and completely self-effacing way that the Souls games and their offshoots think about family. I don’t think there are any robust families in the Spirit World (Quelaana in the header image is probably one of the happier daughters, which is saying a lot considering she’s half-spider). If a parent or child participates in these games, there is a risk that you will try to usurp them, murder them, eat them, enslave them, or utilize them as fuel for your own immortality.

Games often draw parallels between ancestors and the very concept of continuity, extending their sordid dynastic parables outward to encompass the circumstances of their creation. I’m curious to see how this intricate worldview might evolve as Miyazaki himself struggles with being a dad. But maybe he’s tired of these disgusting puzzles and sees in the thrill of parenthood an opportunity to rediscover himself as a creator of, I don’t know, sunlit slice-of-life games. Let’s come back to this thread in a few years.

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