Drained of Blood - An interview with the director of Bloodborne: Hidetaka Miyazaki. Interview was done by Future Press and is located in their game guide.
The following pages present an interview with Bloodborne's director, Hidetaka Miyazaki alongside carefully selected pieces of the game's concept artwork.
Interviewer (from Future Press): First off, congratulations on your new role as company president.
Miyazaki: Well, thank you very much.
Interviewer: In relation to that, would you say that assuming the role of president has reduced the amount of time you're directly involved with game design? Most people would assume that's the case. How would you say your time is divided now between company-president duties and game development duties?
Miyazaki: Well, to be honest, I'm probably shirking a lot of my presidential duties, or you could say that everyone around me is humoring me on that front (laughs). In terms of percentages though, I'd say it's around 20 percent. Out of your typical five-day workweek, I'd need to devote a little over a day to that kind of work. Still, it's not as if I was able to devote 100 percent of my time to directorial duties even before. Once I knew that we'd build the current company structure, I had the director-level staff plan a new production workflow, one that helps support my work when I'm running short on time, so I wouldn't say that I'm devoting less time to game design now.
Interviewer: Regarding the process of creating Bloodborne, could you tell us what the development process had in common with, for example, Demon's Souls or Dark Souls, or how it's been different?
Miyazaki: I wouldn't say it's been that different, but there are two points in particular that come to mind. The first one, which I touched on a little bit just now, is that the director-level staff in the company are now all participating in a unified production workflow. As for what I'm leaving to them in particular, one thing we need from the start of the porject is the ability to express our concepts and aims in words. When I'm doing all of that by myself, I tend to verbalize the bare minimum necessary…or, to put it in a bad way, I tended to procrastinate a lot (laughs). I couldn't get away with that here. I think a lot of good came out of that arrangement. Verbalizing it and bringing it out to other people made me notice a lot I wouldn't have otherwise.
The chalice dungeons, one of the biggest elements we added to this game, are something that came out precisely because I got other people involved in the operation. The other point is the environment that the title and its production team were working within. This marked a major change. With Demon's Souls, of course - and while we worked on Dark Souls, too - the expectations around us were still pretty low. All around us, there was always the idea that "there's no way that something like this will sell." That's no longer the case with Bloodborne, so it's become notably easier to make. We're feeling more pressure at the same time, but even with that, I think it's the kind of environment that makes a game developer happy. We really owe a lot to the gamers who gave so much praise to our previous titles. It's all thanks to them.
Interviewer: As you worked on Demon's Souls and Dark Souls, was there anything you envisioned for the game but weren't able to make happen? Were you able to make any of those things happen in Bloodborne based on your past experience?
Miyazaki: There are a lot of things, both big and small. If I were to bring up a few of these easier-to-understand details… I could bring up how armor parameters are now based on percentages, or how the effects of items are now based on giving bonuses to your stats.
One problem we had with Demon's Souls was that once you reached a high enough level, the whole idea of armor began to lose meaning to some extent. In Demon's Souls, armor parameters were based on static values that you weren't able to power up at all. As players grew stronger, the percentage of their total defensive ability derived from armor grew smaller and smaller. The importance of your armor equipment declined gradually as time went on, and eventually, once you were high-level enough, armor was little more than decoration. You'd start thinking "This isn't very different from going around naked."
So, in order to fix that, we implemented an armor upgrade system in Dark Souls. We had it so you could boost your armor's stat,s ensuring that even as your character got stronger, the percentage of their defense governed by armor wouldn't go down, ensuring that it remained important. I think this did have at least some effect, but there were some problems with the formula we used, and it was an extremely difficult thing to fine-tune. We only had so many resources we could devote to the balancing process, so it wound up being a bit of a problem.
So we considered those experiences and based Bloodborne's armor on percentage reductions. As the player grows, the percentage that armor plays in your character's overall defense doesn't go down, armor remain an important aspect of the game, and it was much easier for us to fine-tune as well. Your inventory of items work much the same way. For items like Molotov Cocktails which had a static attack stat, you'd rely on them a great deal at first; they'd help give you another option during battle. By the endgame, though they wouldn't be much use at all, and that's a problem we wanted to tackle.
An easy-to-understand example of this [is] an item like Throwing Knives, I think. Items are one of the things that contribute to the role-playing-experience, so we figured it'd be more fun if the game offered enough leeway that you could do things like create a character who relied on Throwing Knives for their offense. For Bloodborne, taking recovery items – which are pretty much essential to the game – and making them their own category makes it easier, I think, for players to express more personality with the items they use. It's nothing flashy, maybe, but it's on element that I hope turns out well.
Interviewer: Making these changes must require a fine-tuning process, acquiring an idea that this or that change is the right decision to make. How do you decide what way to adjust the game's balance? Do you have people test the game and make adjustments based on their reactions?
Miyazaki: Good question. For this game, I participated in the balancing process for things like the basic feel of the game and its foundational elements. For others detailed aspects beyond that, especially when it comes to competitive multiplayer and post-ending repeat play, my strategy was to leave that to the balance team. Either way, though, I keep a close eye on our test-play runs and our feedback. For the former in particular, to put it in an extreme way, if it's not any fun to play, I think that immediately discounts it, and that applies no matter what your concept or your aim is. I remember devoting a pretty long time to repeated test-play sessions, even asking SCE to get involved. However, that doesn't mean we're simply accepting all the feedback we receive at face value. We focus on aspects that make players feel stressed out, out of place, or bored. For that kind of feedback, we listened carefully and went to see what we can do about it. That doesn't mean, though, that we necessarily implement that suggested solution as-is.
One we know what needs improvement and figure out how to solve that, we try to find a solution that follows our concept and aims… One that adheres tot he overall worldview of the game. If we didn't do that, the game would feel like this big patchwork mess.
Interviewer: We image you'll be releasing patches for the game after it goes on sale?
Miyazaki: …That's a hard question to answer, but yes, I imagine so. I'm sure users would prefer it if we released something free of imperfections from the get-go, and that's a perfectly reasonable expectation to have, but realistically speaking, I think patches are a necessary thing. To put it simply, it's important for balance, particularly with competitive multiplayer.
Interviewer: Will you gauge gamer reactions as you work on that?
Miyazaki: Certainly yes, I think our game-balance team will be working alongside SCE to handle whatever issues arise. Myself, I'll just try to be careful not to butt in too much on their work. I mean, it's not that I don't like watching gamers post gameplay videos or give their takes on the game, but at the same time, I don't think I could assess every single one of them, even if I tried.
So with that in mind, if I started insisting on changes based on this one video I happened to watch, that'll wind up twisting the balance in unexpected directions. The concept and aims I brought into this project are important to me, of course, but – as hard as it can be each time – I try to maintain a polite distance from the balancing process. Back when I worked on Armored Core, we usually had some free time after development wrapped up, I would often be the one directly fine-tuning the parameters and so on afterward. Going as far as that nowdays, though, would be pretty tough.
Interviewer: You mentioned the chalice dungeons earlier. Were those inspired by Rogue or NetHack or some of the other roguelikes you've played, or…
Miyazaki: The idea for the chalice dungeons actually came from a kind of different place. First, I think that with the sort of games we make, difficult games where the fun lies in the strategy you tackle the with, it's hard to beat the surprise factor you get when you play it for the first time.
That period when you're groping around for a way to get past new and unknown difficulties, then sharing your experience with everyone and chatting about this and that. That kind of fun naturally doesn't last forever, but we were wondering if there was some way we could keep that going, even if it was just in a virtual kind of way. That was what first led to the chalice dungeon idea.
As a result, the chalice dungeons are a completely separate system in the game. The way that each dungeon has different elements used to generate it in order to keep things fresh, and the way that you can keep a dungeon in place after generating it in order to share it with others, are both ideas that extend out from that original concept. I think there are a lot of role-playing games out there where the structure of the dungeon changes every time you play, but that approach doesn't let you share the dungeon and strategize about it with others.
For a game like this one, based on the idea of learning about your environment and taking advantage of it to overcome obstacles, making them shareable was a necessity. Working on the chalice dungeons in this game, has kindled an interest in so-called procedural games in me; to see where that kind of approach might lead. Chalice dungeons are not strictly procedural in nature, though.
Interviewer: Adding chalice dungeons to this game, we feel, reduces the emphasis the game places on repeat play. Was this entirely in order to reduce the hurdles to getting through the game? Or did you want the dungeons to provide the core “replay value” to the game this time?
Miyazaki: That's a bit of a surprise to hear, actually. Speaking for us, we had no intention to downplay post-ending repeat play. That concept is still front and center in this game. Bloodborne features multiple endings, and there are a couple of options if you want to see them all: play through the game again, or create a different character and start at level one. I think you're free to choose whatever approach you like, and that stance on our part hasn't changed since Demon's Souls. Repeated play in this game offers a lot of incentive, as well as a lot of this series' trademark challenge and fun too, I think. This game has the Wooden Shield – the only shield in the game – and it doesn't seem like a very reliable piece of equipment, but some people say that it gets more and more important the more times you play through the game with it. The game's battle system relies on the idea that you're going to take hits now and then, which is what I think leads to ideas like that. But anyway, that just serves to demonstrate that we're in no way downplaying repeat runs through the game.
Story and World
Interviewer: I think that, with Demon's Souls and Dark Souls, the game made a point of not revealing the full story to you, keeping it an enigma and leaving some of it to gamers' imaginations.
Miyazaki: That's true yes.
Interviewer: So the world of Bloodborne has the Hunter's Dream, and then several areas referred to as nightmares. There's a world that serves as the game's “reality” as well, right?
Miyazaki: Ah, so you're asking if areas like Yharnam are meant to be reality? Well, that has some implications within the story. Yharnam at night, with the Hunters and all, truly is a nightmare-like world, but is it actually a nightmare? Or was it? That kind of thing. I think different gamers will have different interpretations of that, especially depending on which ending they reach. That's something deliberate on our part. This might be going off-topic a bit, but I like reading about how gamers interpret or think about the story and world of my games. So I don't want to rob them of that space for open interpretation. That, after all, is part of the fun I get to have after development (laughs). Still, this can often be a delicate thing, and I'm not exactly an expert at it either, so I can't be confident yet about whether it'll go well or not. Apologies in advance if it doesn't, then.
Interviewer: We think creating this story where you're working inside of dreams allows you a lot of creative freedom. You can do things you normally couldn't do in reality. But if you go too far with that, it may all just get too crazy and players wouldn't find it fun. How do you manage that kind of balance, between reality and dreams?
Miyazaki: I think you're absolutely right. It'd be no fun if you could just do whatever you wanted in dreams. So in this game, the setting of Yharnam is essentially based in reality. It's so dark and dismal that it's entirely possibly to interpret it as an actual nightmare in the end, but this isn't some kind of dream world where anything you can picture will come to life. I think that Bloodborne has aspects of both Gothic and Cthulhu-style horror, but it's the former that's depicted from the start and provides a guide for the game's visual feel. That's because Gothic horror is based more in the world of reality. Of course, that doesn't mean it's real – it's a world of grotesque scary horror. And here, you have a world like that which is gradually being eroded away by Cthulu-style horror. That kind of image.
Interviewer: That's interesting… To get a bit more into the story, everyone at Future Press really liked the character Iosefka.
Miyazaki: Oh, I'm glad to hear that. I think you're probably referring to the non-fake one, but the doctor at the clinic is a character that I really like, both the real one and the fake one. Some people in Yharnam are just completely beyond help, but she, or the two of them, are different.
Interviewer: Did she really transform into a beast? Or is there any hope of her being alive somewhere?
Miyazaki: Hmm…. To be honest with you, I don't think there's any chance of that for her. In the latter part of the game, if you go inside Iosefka's clinic, I think you'll run into something that suggests as much.
Interviewer: Did you have a reason for not creating a story path where she survived?
Miyazaki: That… Well, what should I say? Let's just say that I tried to make one, but the rest of the studio was against it (laughs). That's not too removed from the truth, and it also has the side effect of keeping me safe from them!
Things like that happened during the development of Dark Souls, too. I remember that figuring out what to do with Sif, the Great Grey Wolf was a huge hassle. But regardless, and sorry to repeat myself, but I'm glad to hear that you like her. At the same time, I hope you'll provide just as much support to her fake as well!
That's a character I like a great deal too, but during development I'd say to the team “She's one of the heroines of this game” and nobody would believe me, which left me a bit crestfallen. That's one of the underlying themes of the game… Or, you could say that I have a thing for the “scholarly investigator” character trope. You have Sage Freke in Demon's Souls and Master Willem in this game and the fake Iosekfa kind of descends from there. But, perhaps because I'm not good at characterization, none of those characters ever seem to get very popular. It makes me feel a little sorry for the fake Iosefka, if she follows that same route.
Interviewer: Everyone at Future Press liked Willem, too.
Miyazaki: Really? Well, that's great to hear.
Interviewer: You have these kind of trademark characters, investigators seeking the truth that stray from the path a little. People like Freke and Logan. Willem was also one of their favorite characters in this game, but in general, he doesn't speak to the player. Instead, all of his dialogue is in flashback form.
Miyazaki: Yeah. Willem is certainly that way.
Interviewer: What was the reason for that?
Miyazaki: Well, not to go back to my old crutch of being not so great at characterization, but if we had him speaking directly to you about all the supreme truths of the world or whatnot, it would've wound up really hackneyed. In a general way, I wanted the text we wrote to be as protective as possible of his dignity, his way of thinking. That was the approach I took. Really, whether it comes to Willem or the Choir or the School of Mensis, each of them has a certain background philosophy that drives them.
At the start of development, we had this forum where I'd write whatever came to mind of a daily basis and the rest of the team could browse through it. I'd write about things like the meaning of the mind's eye and its limitations upon people, or discussions about blood and beast transformations, and a really large amount of other meaningless stuff like that. Most of which really never made it into the game (laughs). Of course, the theme with this game was not to tell too much story, just like before, so I think our approach turned out well enough.
Interviewer: The doll was another character that really stroked our curiosities. Making a gesture towards her and seeing her react was something that struck us as oddly soothing.
Miyazaki: Thank you very much.
Interviewer: Whose idea was that? It's a really good one.
Miyazaki: I think that sprang out from my assorted ramblings on the forum, but it was [Masaru] Yamamura, one of the designers, who actually implemented it. That was a pretty busy period during development, I think, but he managed to make the time to do it and tell me “Hey, Miyazaki, check out this thing I made.” I gave him the OK for that immediately, of course. That was all thanks to his efforts. Ever since the Demon's Souls days, I've always had problems coming up with heroines for our games, but I really like that doll, including her design. Hopefully the gamers who play it will think the same way.
Interviewer: One unique aspect of your games is that the truths behind them are rarely revealed in-game.
Miyazaki: Well, that's not necessarily something I aim for, but I do try to leave room open for people's imaginations.
Interviewer: Right, well there's enough room left open for people to let their imaginations run wild. In this game, the hero is motivated to set off following a hastily-written note telling you to “seek paleblood to transcend the hunt”. The term “paleblood” is hardly used at all afterwards, though.
Miyazaki: Right. I had considered making that a little easier to understand… but we wound up going with that. I think there are two different ways you could interpret “paleblood” here. One is the color of the sky after you defeat the Vacuous Spider and the Mensis secret ritual is revealed. The sky there is a very pale blue, like a body drained of blood. I think there's also a message placed in Yahar'gul, Unseen Village that calls back to that. This is before the ritual is revealed, so when you're kidnapped and go to Yahar'gul, you don't know what it could mean yet. Then, after the ritual, you could look at it again and it'll dawn on you… That was my intention, anyway, but I have to admit, that's probably a bit tough to pick up on (laughs). But either way, this leads to the interpretation that “seek paleblood” refers to uncovering that ritual and putting a stop to it.
Interviewer: Was it not referring to the blood of the Great Ones?
Miyazaki: Right, that's another interpretation. “Paleblood” is another name for the monster that comes from the moon under certain conditions. I think there's another message in the lecture building that hints at this, but I don't want to go into too much more detail here. This is someplace where I want to leave room open for the imagination – both my own and the imaginations of gamers.
Interviewer: The scene after you defeat Amelia also leaves a lot to the imagination…
Miyazaki: That's meant to give you a look into the memory of Laurence, who appears in the cut-scene as well. His skull served as the start of the Healing Church itself, but it's taken the form of a twisted beast. There's a lot you can imagine from that.
Masaaki Yamagiwa: Producer at SCE JAPAN Studio: I sure can't (laughs).
Miyazaki: Oh, that's all right. The gamers definitely will. I'm trusting on that. Of course, I'm sure we may get some criticism that gamers aren't given enough explanations, and I'll gladly accept that if so. But I think the fun of imagining things for yourself is one of the core tenets I follow. I like trying to focus on the fun of exploring this really dark place, then attempting to shine a light upon it. If that winds up simply being too hard to understand, then that's just another sign that I'm stretching it a bit, I think.
However, if you don't mind me going off topic a bit, but I kind of have a virtual pendulum in my mind. Generally, every other I make is inscrutable and interpretive,t hen the next one is easier to understand. Armored Core 4 was my first game as a director. That was really hard to understand, but then my next one, For Answer was a lot more approachable. Then Demon's Souls was inscrutable, Dark Souls more approachable, and now we have Bloodborne. Of course, generally speaking they're all on the hard-to-understand side, so I bet some would say “They're all the same!” to that (laughs). But Armored Core 4, the first one… that one's especially hard to follow.
Masaaki Yamagiwa: I had no idea what was going on at all.
Miyazaki: Oh, yeah, just put it out like that (laughs)! But it's true. A lot of the studio would have agreed with you back then. Someone posted up a story summary on this video site, and one of the team members from back then said “I finally understand the story after watching that. It's actually kind of interesting, isn't it?” And I still remember the very mixed feelings I had, hearing that, I mean , it shows there's such a thing as too much, you know?
Interviewer: You discussed shining a light on a dark story earlier. With this game, there's a scene with a baby crying inside a nightmare. Some of our writers with children mentioned that scene really struck them emotionally. It projected a much more morbid image that we could've predicted from previous games you were involved in. Have you ever created a dark world for a game, then see it have an impact on your personal life or those of your team?
Miyazaki: Mmm, I think I'm safe on that at least (laughs). But it's certainly true that this game is a lot drearier than my previous ones. I think it's because, whenever I'm crafting a fantasy story, I always wind up mixing in some of the other things I look up to.
It's these things that provide the creative energy I use, after all. The beauty of a heartfelt prayer, for examples. That's the kind of thing that provides inspiration to me. So the things you see in Bloodborne – the dismalness, the lack of salvation, the insanity and so on – I suppose I look up to those, too in my own way. There's something beautiful in there that I feel.
Interviewer: This is meant partly as a joke, but that baby is Mergo, right? Could you talk a little about Mergo? We though it'd be better if Gwynevere was the wet nurse instead…
Miyazaki: I don't know where that came from (laughs). But in the world of Bloodborne, babies that are treated as “special” in one way or the other are offered as lures to the Great Ones. The Great Ones have all lost their children because of their positions, and as a result, they're attracted to these special babies. The babies are one way of calling them. This story setup was something I came up with pretty readily in my mind. When it comes to living creatures, the stronger or more advanced you are, the fewer offspring you produce in your life. Even with human beings, the birth rates in more advanced countries lower, right? Looking back, I wonder if facts like that were at the root of the idea.
Interviewer: Here are some questions from the fans. What's your favorite weapon?
Miyazaki: Weapon? That's a tough one, but one I'd give right off is the threaded cane. I think it's the hardest of your initial weapons to use, but I like the design, that little touch of class it has. That's why they're priced a little higher. We're secretly playing favorites (laughs).
*Interviewer*: And your favorite boss?
Miyazaki: That's another hard one. Hmm… Which would it be for this game? Maybe this is cheating a little, but if you ignore gameplay for a moment, it's Rom, the Vacuous Spider. From the design and atmosphere to that kind of plaintive air she has, I really like her. There are some oddly cute aspects to her moves and modeling.
Interviewer: Another question from the community. A lot of foes in this game are nightmare-like in appearance. Are any of them based off scary experiences that you yourself have ever had? Or more generally, where do you get ideas for their designs?
Miyazaki: I, personally, have never had any really scary or paranormal experiences. I don't have any occult powers, and I definitely haven't seen any ghosts. Maybe that's part of why I “look up to” things like that, like I talked about before. I suppose I'm a little jealous of people who are scared of the dark. So the inspiration for ideas comes from somewhere a little different. For this game, for example, one theme was the “inner clash” going on within the beast-type foes.
The urge to transform into a beast is in conflict with the basic sense of humanity we all have. That humanity serves as a kind of shackle, keeping the transformation in its place. The stronger the shackle keeping that urge to transform in place is, the larger the recoil once that shackle is finally broken. The results cause you to transform into a larger creature, or a more twisted one. The struggle between these two urges is one concept here. You see that pretty clearly with the beast characters designed early on – especially the Cleric Beast, which serves as their icon of sorts. That connects with the idea that the cleric is really the most fearsome beast of them all.
PvP and PvE
Interviewer: How did you think about and fine-tune the balance in the PvE and PvP fighting?
Miyazaki: This has been the case since the Demon's Souls days, but the first thing I focus on is strategy. Whether or not a battle feels good or is fun, lies at the core of this. Things like PvP balance get considered once that core is in place. Of course, when I say that, I don't meant hat we don't see PvP balance as important. I didn't do any PvP balancing work for this project, but this approach is something that I think is shared among the entire balancing team.
Interviewer: The health-regain system reminds us of the system you see in some fighting games where damage is permanent after the second hit. Were games like that iny our mind when this system was conceived?
Miyazaki: No, not exactly. The regain system was something we came up with to encourage the sense that you're fighting a life-and-death struggle, one of the themes supporting this game's battle system. It changes the concept of your defense to something proactive, and it invites you to take a more fatalistic approach to fighting, encouraging that to-the-death feel. That was both the inspiration for, and the aim of, the regain system.
The original concept called for something like a “post-attack guard.” If you attack after receiving damage, you regain the damage you would have avoided if you have defended. You're taking a more proactive tactic with the attack, even though it's still after the fact. It opens up more room for on-the-fly decisions and strategies, and again, it hopefully leads to a more life-or-death aspect of fighting is one of the core themes of this game, and the regain system is one of the most important elements that supports this.
Patches, the Spider
Interviewer: There's a character in the game called Patches the Spider. Is that an upgrade or a downgrade for him? Did someone on the team have something against him?
Miyazaki: That's not an 'upgrade', exactly (laughs). There are a lot of other spider men in the game apart from Patches, but all the others have long since gone insane. Patches, despite being exposed to enough of the world's mysteries to be transformed into a monster, has still retained his sanity and is still continuing with his research, Thinking about it that way, he's a pretty rare existence in this world. As his creator, I can't help but feel a sense of pride that he's made it this far.
Interviewer: We still have lots of wonderful memories from our last visit here. The only regret was that we weren't able to check out From's legendary president's office. What's inside there, anyway?
Miyazaki: Legendary president's office? What's that? I've never heard of it (laughs). If you're talking about the office [former From president Naotoshi] Jin had, I'm afraid that's already been packed up. That, and I'd better not talk about what that office used to look like anyway. I wouldn't want anyone getting mad at me, after all. As for my own office, well that's not something I can really show to other people. It's just a huge mess. There's all kinds of games, videos, board games, manga, reference books, figures, and so forth all over the place. It's crazy. Even if I told you “Go ahead, check it out”, I think Mr. Kokura over in the PR department would probably put a stop to it (laughs).
Interviewer: //Now it's even more of a mystery (laughs)
Miyazaki: It's probably best that it remains a mystery to some extent. I think everyone on the team would agree with me there (laughs).
Interviewer: Here's another community question. A Lot of the names for items, lands and NPCs are very creative. How do you choose them?
Miyazaki: I do occasionally get hints and suggestions from everyone on the team, as well as Frognation, the company that's handled the English versions of our games since Demon's Souls. But in the end, I choose all the names. That's always been the case for the titles I've directed. Names are an incredibly important part of any world you want to depict, of course, but even more than that, I just love coming up with them. I'm a bit of a naming nerd, I guess. It's always fun for me. I consider things like word origins, how it sounds in expressions, regional considerations, the whole thing. The single exception here is the titles of my games. I'm really terrible at that, and really, I never had a good experience with it (laughs).
Interviewer: Two final questions for you. What kind of games have you been into lately? Things you've liked, things you do often, games you've played, movies you've watched, books you like?
Miyazaki: Hmm, that's tough. I read a ton of different books all the time, so I'll try to stick with answers relevant to our discussion (laughs). But… This isn't any particular title, but I've been getting a little sentimental lately, so sometimes I've been rereading things, or looking back and playing older games again. It's a fresh experience, since my emotional makeup is a lot of works, too, and it's fun to gauge those differences. That's been a favorite pastime of mine lately. It's like I'm being amazed, just blown away at how deep really good creative works can be. But that's what's fun about them. I also work to keep abreast of the new releases in each media genre, of course, but that's kind of more an extension of my workaholic ways, and I tend to get distracted a lot from it (laughs).
Interviewer: You've created Demon's Souls, Dark Souls, and now Bloodborne. When you make these games, what kind of elements do you think serve to best support them? Also, when you make games like these, tell us what you find personally fun about the development process.
Miyazaki: This is something I say all the time, but it all comes down to a sense of achievement. I think the essence of games lies in attaching meaning and value to the actions you take. Demon's Souls, Dark Souls and Bloodborne all have one thing in common, and that's how it places that meaning and value on the sense of achievement you can earn from playing.
That's how the battles and exploration elements work, and it applies to the world setting and story as well. You defeat powerful enemies, discover hidden locations and shortcuts, gain an understanding of the game's structure, and use the window you're given to imagine the game's world and story. My intention here is that every aspect of game design either creates or enhances the joy, or the sense of achievement, you feel as a result of these actions. That, and as for what I find fun about it… That's a difficult question. To be honest, I can't get enough of the game-director role because it's kind of like being the total overall designer for a game. If I had to give one aspect in particular, though, it'd be the map design.
Outside of the chalice dungeons, I personally laid out all the maps in Bloodborne, something I like doing a lot. That connects to the sense of achievement I talked about, too. Adding flow and meaning to the map structure helps provide a sort of joy to the player, the fun of drawing up a map of the land in your mind. That adds value to player actions. Along those lines, it's a really game-like design, I think. I really like that kind of thing.