In this interview, Miyazaki answers questions posed by fans on Twitter as well as about the game itself.
The first part of the interview is not translated, it entails Miyazaki greeting the hosts and apologising for network problems in-game
Connection to Demon's Souls
Isomura: Let's start with the story-related questions… Is there any connection to Demon's Souls?
Miyazaki: I would be yelled at if I wouldn't say no.
Isomura: There are some people who hint that…
Miyazaki: It must be a coincidence! No, really, there's no connection. No real connection.
Isomura: The more you keep explaining it, the more it sounds like you're lying!
Murohashi: The transition between Demon's Souls and Dark Souls is a special circumstance, I guess?
Miyazaki: Yes and there's no connection. We just reused some characters, my favourite ones… I use them in a Star System, mostly for fun.
Murohashi: So, to clarify, characters like those are…?
Miyazaki: Patches, for example. This was his third appearance: his first was in Armored Core. I was like, "hmm, everything we make in the future will have Patches in it!"
Murohashi: This time, he does "Prostration".
Miyazaki: Yes, indeed and the player can learn the gesture, too. Anyways, there is no connection. Officially, it's just a "coincidence" that they look alike… it's just for fun!
Isomura: How did you come up with the story?
Miyazaki: What do you mean?
Murohashi: For example, did you start building the game around the story, or the other way around?
Miyazaki: Basically, we worked on the story afterwards. We started with the layout of the game itself with minimum story around it. It's "story for the game" before "game for the story" for me, so as long as it meets the game's requirements in order to create immersion for the player, it's all good. I wanted the player to experience the story, so we did not focus on making a linear storyline. I don't want to tell the story: I prefer the players to unravel it by using their imagination and our hints.
Isomura: So the "lack" of story was planned afterall?
Miyazaki: Yes, I don't want to make a game that chases the story, so we refrained from putting in too much information and the hints were made vague in order to make the player "become one with the story". We just provided information in certain areas to help stimulate the player's imagination. So… for those who want to know the story, there are lots of hints. The question is, where to find them? A lot of information is written here and there in item descriptions. If they want to know more, I would like the players to read them.
Murohashi: The story alone would make a good product alone. I would love to read everything in one go!
Miyazaki: Well, the text isn't always helpful, so it might not appeal to some.
Isomura: Another question: there are so many items that doesn't make that much sense… for example, the Dung Pie.
Miyazaki: Ha! What message was that?
Isomura: It follows: "Is there and explanation as to why it inflicts toxic on the enemy as well as the player?"
Murohashi: Yes, that actually happens.
Isomura: So WHAT is the Dung Pie?
Miyazaki: A Dung Pie!
Murohashi: It's a Dung Pie.
Isomura: How do you get it?
Miyazaki: The big guy in Blighttown… Use your imagination. Was it a "pie" before you took it from his corpse? I don't know…
Isomura: I have no idea.
Miyazaki: Hint: it could be in your butt.
Murohashi: Maybe the shock of being attacked forced it out of him?
Isomura: Oh my, noooo! I backstabbed that guy!!
Miyazaki: And what came out? You could use it as a weapon!
Murohashi: Why don't you get toxic from looting it?
Miyazaki: That wouldn't be fair gameplay.
Isomura: Once you get it, you're toxic, anyways.
Miyazaki: About toxic: there's actually a planned and odd way of passing through Blighttown. There are toxic blow darters…
Miyazaki: The Dung Pie is toxic so if you intoxicate yourself, you're safe from the blow darters as toxic does not stack.
Murohashi: But then you're toxic anyways!
Miyazaki: The toxic status taken from the Pie is a lot weaker than the toxic from the darts. They have a different damage output.
Isomura: Aaaah, so to avoid being intoxicated, you inflict a less damaging toxic on yourself?
Miyazaki: It was a popular way in the development team to beat Blighttown like that.
Isomura: So that's why it's there!
Murohashi: Never thought of that…
Miyazaki: No, it's not, in fact. We found that loophole with the toxic damages, but we just left it in, for a more in-depth gameplay.
Isomura: I had like 35 of them!
Miyazaki: So, you collect them and throw them to get toxic, then you can go on. I personally haven't tried, though!
Murohashi: About those blow-darts…
Isomura: They're in such annoying places!
Murohashi: I would never go to Blighttown again. Master Key for the win!
Miyazaki: Yeah… the first part of Blighttown and the Depths are planned to be avoidable. There are people who have a hard time with those places, but I really like Blighttown.
Isomura: To be honest, Blighttown is more lovable than Valley of Defilement.
Isomura: The characters like the fire-breathing dogs are cute - one of them is powering the elevator!
Miyazaki: Yeah, he's spinning the elevator.
Isomura: The elevator-water-wheel in Blighttown…
Murohashi: What? Really?!
Isomura: It's powered by one of those fire-breathing dogs.
Murohashi: What the-
Isomura: He works so hard and it's so cute!
Miyazaki: Originally, a basilisk was going to be the one moving it.
Murohashi: That's a nasty creature!
Miyazaki: Yeah, the one with the eyes. It's a great design.
Murohashi: It's good, but-
Miyazaki: It's my favourite!
Murohashi: Why is it so nasty even when it's dead?
Miyazaki: Ah, yes, it is… And it is the first one to inflict curse, so it makes it a very memorable enemy. It also has oddities: it's a basilisk that has huge eyes… "Why aren't you using them to petrify me?" or "What's up with their eyes?"
Isomura: Those look in their eyes made me think that it's a character that numbs your depth perception, and shouts with them at you: "KONNICHIWA!!" When they come at you, I picture that in my mind.
Miyazaki: Those are fake eyes, by the way.
Isomura: Oh, really?
Miyazaki: If you look at the design works, the small and real eyes are right below.
Miyazaki: They're fake. I put a lot of care into things that I don't expect many people to find out easily.
Murohashi: So… can you see the real eyes once it dies and flips over?
Miyazaki: Yes, you should be able to.
Isomura: I will go and flip one to see them in that case!
Miyazaki: You'll take the risk?
Murohashi: I wouldn't!
Isomura: I still haven't got cursed!
Miyazaki: Oh, really? You won't feel good until you get cursed…
Murohashi: I got cursed for my first time by Seath.
Isomura: Oh, so there's more chances to get cursed later on?
Miyazaki: Getting cursed by a basilisk was planned to be an obstacle in the mid-game.
Murohashi: Hmmm… the spear users won't have much risk with curses.
Miyazaki: Exactly. That's related to the uniqueness of certain weapons. We made the curses like that so you get cursed once you fall into it, like when you fall while walking through the Depths and they surround you with the myst of the curse. I wanted the players to experience the whole curse thing: getting it and lifting it.
Murohashi: So it's supposed to actually curse you?
Miyazaki: Yes. Getting and lifting curses is a cliché in most RPGs. Usually, it's only an event where the player is like "Oh, I'm cursed, well, okay then", but that is boring. So here, we made the curse to be a real disaster in the player's journey… including the lifting of the curse, which actually can get pretty hard. Maybe we went a little bit over the top…
Miyazaki: The foreign audience seems to like it, though. The curse section got a prime review! Personally, I don't think they had to give it that much spotlight…
Isomura: I read a couple of articles that were saying: "FROM is amazing for implementing such a crazy feature, without feeling bad about the players!"
Murohashi: Oh, really?
Miyazaki: I think that's a favorable response but also one of the riskiest. Nonetheless, getting the curse lifted is a great feeling. We got some "I thought I was screwed forever", but some people loved it. We should have tweaked it a little more maybe!
Murohashi: And you can see other cursed players as statues if you're online.
Isomura: Ah, so that's what they are!
Miyazaki: They are players that actually died from curse, yeah.
Isomura: I was wondering if something was about to happen when I saw them.
Miyazaki: That's what we wanted. We tried many things, but we executed it perfectly in the end. The idea was to express a situation where many statues would say: "Hm… this might be bad…".
Murohashi: Like in a tabletop RPG, haha!
Miyazaki: Yeah, yeah! There are many statues around… "Basilisks are near".
Knight Lautrec of Carim
Isomura: Next question. Did you give special attention to any part in the creation of the story or characters?
Miyazaki: As I said earlier… I was going with the idea of not forcing the story and not intruding into the players' experiences, allowing their imagination to balance the world. As for characters… this time I wanted to have more "good guys". The world is pretty cruel itself, so we wanted good, memorable characters. I think we accomplished that. I (and the others) made a great effort.
Miyazaki: Hm ?
Murohashi: I was just thinking… who was a good guy?
Miyazaki: No - who was the bad guy?
Isomura: The golden shiny guy!
Miyazaki: The golden shiny guy had a depressing end, though.
Isomura: I'm at the point where the golden shiny guy has done it. "What have you done?!"
Miyazaki: Where? What do you mean?
Isomura: When he did THAT.
Miyazaki: Well, he actually did what he said he was going to do… "Keh heh heh"…
Solaire of Astora
Miyazaki: As for the good characters, obvious ones are the Warrior of Sunlight!
Isomura: Praise the Sun!
Miyazaki: Solaire. I really like that character. I wanted to create a good character, like him, from the very beginning. Also, I sometimes get inquiries about me having problems with religion or religious people… it's a misunderstanding. The characters are like, you know…
Murohashi: I know what you mean.
Miyazaki: What I wanted to do is show total devotion, in a pure form. That's how I imagined it: the Warriors of Sunlight.
Isomura: Ah, he's popular.
Murohashi: And a good person.
Miyazaki: Yeah, he is.
Quelana of Izalith
Miyazaki: We have more good people.
Murohashi: I love Quelana.
Miyazaki: Very tsundere, indeed.
Murohashi: She's great!
Miyazaki: Haha, that makes you sound like an otaku!
Murohashi: You can't see her face, sadly.
Miyazaki: Maybe she's beautiful.
Isomura: She has a very beautiful voice.
Murohashi: She's so concerned about me…
Isomura: It's not just you!!
Isomura: She's concerned about me, too!
Miyazaki: That shows that she's a good person. Quelana… I wanted to make her like the Operator in Armored Core: For Answer. It may not be that obvious, but there are a lot of good people. She also teaches you pyromancy. In Demon's Souls, you could only learn magic from a grumpy man.
Isomura: There are more characters that are concerned about you and happy to see you well.
Miyazaki: Basically, we wanted to show the humanity in a different sense from what it is in the game.
Murohashi: But in contrast… most of them have cruel fates.
Miyazaki: I wanted to show a closed end. When all events are done, I wanted to make the players' experience richer. Unfortunately then, most of the time, they die. Things just don't end up happily. But excluding that, it's the kind of theme we have here. They're mostly dying from ambitions or hopes. In that sense, many characters die near the end of the game. I honestly wanted to work on that a little bit more, but it was a lot of work for us.
Isomura: Our next question: is the Furtive Pygmy, who only appears in the prologue, the main protagonist that has inherited a Lord Soul?
Miyazaki: It's a bit of spoiler, but first of all, it's "pygmy" [小人 in Japanese, it can be read differently]
Miyazaki: It isn't written anywhere, but, the image is something like humanity's ancestor. He found the Lord Soul, fragmented it and humanity are like the fragments of it. Kinda like an ancestor, yeah. So the descendants, the humans, have a part of that Lord Soul.
Isomura: Moving on to character creation…
Miyazaki: Oh, character creation!
Isomura: This one… heh…
Miyazaki: Character creation wasn't my responsibility.
Murohashi: I have a lot of things to say about this.
Isomura: Have a lot to say?
Murohashi: Keep reading the question, though!
Isomura: The character making this time is classifiable as very "FROM", but how would you score it, yourself?
Miyazaki: By character creation you mean… face making?
Miyazaki: I'll have to make an excuse. I have not taken part in that aspect of the game. I have no idea of it, but face making is not that… "FROM". If I have to give a score based on who was responsible for it, I honestly think we did better than before…
Murohashi: I see.
Miyazaki: (Whispering) I think…
Murohashi: This time we got more presets, like the "Cheerful Catarina" one. What's up with that?
Miyazaki: Yeah, it's that feeling of "Who actually cares about this?"
Miyazaki: (Whispering) But we have a lot more settings now…
Isomura: You're getting quieter!
Miyazaki: Settings! Settings! Setting is such a great word!
Murohashi: Yesterday, I played the game to test it. The Thief class has this "Guilt-Ridden Thief" description. Are there non-remorseful thieves or… ?
Isomura: Yeah. there are! Like Lupin III!
Miyazaki: I think that tries to express that the thief hasn't completely fell to the "dark side" or something along those lines.
Murohashi: Aaah, I see. Hmm… We can pick body type, we can choose to be gaunt, regular… or fat! But… the selections are pretty weird. There is that "big head" one, for example. They're OK, don't get me wrong, but then there's the "big, head small" option!
Miyazaki: Ah, well, you get the point when you read it.
Isomura: It's intuitive.
Miyazaki: Being intuitive is very important and using the word "model" and "body proportion" kinda breaks the atmosphere. So… "big, head small"
Murohashi: But when you're making a character, you see "big, head small"…
Miyazaki: Just accept that weird text as a charm of the game!
Miyazaki: Once it's translated to English, that will be fixed. Probably. ["top-heavy and tiny head" in the English version]
Murohashi: Big head, it's so hilarious! If you read the text below, you see a small phrase about the proportion settings. For example: "skinny body, twiggy", I can go with that! Then you see "big head": "body type with a big head. He might be wise". What the…?! Why does he get special treatment!
Isomura: He might be wise!
Murohashi: Why just this one!
Miyazaki: Um… but…-
Isomura: If you're going for something like a mage, it might be good to have a big head!
Murohashi: But it doesn't make any difference!
Miyazaki: Yes, there's no change.
Isomura: But you're like "hey, I'm wise"!
Miyazaki: Nah. Actually, the text is so small that I can't write anything decent. Three lines of text, with that character limit, it's impossible. I kinda gave up with them. It's a bit cheap but I also think it's more interesting with that charm, so it's good enough, but that wouldn't be nice in a big title or a serious game. But for us? Good enough!
Murohashi: I would say that the Dark Souls character creation wins a 120% from Demon's Souls character creation, though!
Miyazaki: That's wonderful.
Murohashi: The hairstyles for men are awesome.
Miyazaki: The female hairstyle "pigtails" was introduced honouring the last wish of a graphic artist girl who had to leave development from an illness.
Isomura: I honoured her wishes by using it in my character! Blonde pigtails!
Miyazaki: "Please, put in pigtails!", "Alright! I will get it in no matter what happens!". The hairstyles had their own drama, you see.
Murohashi: Even with such a drama behind it… once you go hollow…
Miyazaki: Well, maybe we should have considered that…
Isomura: But you start as a hollow…
Miyazaki: I think starting like that is good. But in the course of the gameplay, being hollow most of the time was a problem. It may get edited out in the future, as this game is something to reflect our future work on! The balance between human and hollow was tweaked till the end, and resulted in favoring being hollow too much. So I can understand the disappointment from putting so much effort into character creation only to see your character hollowed most of the time. I think it's good to start hollow and complain in the beginning… but the idea was to return to being human immediately after and stay like that for a while. Well, seeing it now, I don't know if it was a good idea, but maybe it was better to be hollow only when you were cursed. Anyways, if I continue saying this, somebody will get angry at me. Honestly, I really didn't think that making a good face was that important. I do like the presets, including the texts on them!
Isomura: When I changed them, I just kept thinking that the presets were better!
Miyazaki: Hehe… some people make pretty faces. We tried hard to make the presets pretty.
Murohashi: I only have used Cheerful Catarina, so far!
Isomura: I think I was using that too. My noble didn't look like a noble.
Miyazaki: It wasn't good enough?
Isomura: I think it wasn't, but I don't remember. It was so long ago!
Miyazaki: We could have made more presets, maybe. Well, we will try harder next time!
Opening Cinematic and Game Cycles
Isomura: Moving on the "others" category… Do the enemies get stronger up to 8 game cycles this time?
Miyazaki: I think they do… I don't know for sure, but it should be the same as our last game. I don't remember off the top of my head.
Murohashi: It's around that number, yeah.
Miyazaki: Hmm… it's around seven or eight cycles.
Isomura: Why didn't you include an opening cinematic? I wanted to sing "Ah Aaah!" [Tomomi is referencing Demon's Souls intro, with the chorus started singing]
Miyazaki: The opening cinematic we made is in the beginning, before the title screen and the character creation. It wasn't at the start because this time the movie told the story. In Demon's Souls it started more like a "slideshow" and it became a CG movie. We didn't make one for Dark Souls because, well, you probably don't want to hear about that…
Isomura: Ah, I see.
Miyazaki: I understand the desire to sing "Ah, Aaah!".
Murohashi: It was impressive.
Isomura: Yes, it did leave quite an impression, indeed!
Isomura: What's up with the NPCs that attack you when you're human? Why do they fight you?
Miyazaki: You mean the red invaders?
Miyazaki: Well, for various reasons, but generally, they're treated like another player. For example, the red invader who invades the player a couple of times… with the thorns; Kirk, is a member of the Chaos Servants and he's trying to rob humanity for her. If you kill him for the last time, his corpse will appear near the eggs, and you can loot it.
Murohashi: The armor?
Miyazaki: Yes, that's the reason of why he's dead there.
Isomura: I see.
Miyazaki: Each one has a story.
Isomura: So… is there a story for the bikini girl?
Miyazaki: Ehh… Mildred?
Isomura: Yes, Mildred. Why is she wearing the bikini?
Murohashi: She's pretty mysterious. She also wears a sack over her head.
Miyazaki: Well, I don't know if this is the best way of saying it, but Mildred was created on impulse! We liked it. I think somebody was using it. He was invading during debugging and we were shocked! "Who are you?!", so we got the data and some background, and we got the crazy lady of the swamp. Her weapons were also made on impulse.
Murohashi: That was an awful place for her, though!
Miyazaki: Ahh, it's just a "cameo".
Isomura: She reminded me of those murdering chefs on B movies.
Miyazaki: That's right! Also, the enemy cook is a she, too.
Isomura: I was told she was a lady, but I thought it was a man.
Murohashi: But she says "Uuuuuugh!".
Isomura: Yeah yeah! Because of that "Uuuuuugh!" I thought it was a man!
Miyazaki: It was meant as a she for the very beginning
Miyazaki: It was written somewhere.
Murohashi: That's shocking!
Isomura: Well, that's why I was told, so I don't know.
Miyazaki: Yes, yes, it's a lady.
Murohashi: So when it drops the sack, it's good to "sniff sniff".
Miyazaki: Yes, yes, yes.
Isomura: So you can "sniff sniff"? But she isn't cute…
Miyazaki: Ah, you don't know her face!
Murohashi: She might be cute, who knows?
Isomura: During development, was the whole team thinking on how the player would die with a smile?
Miyazaki: That's not the case. I sometimes get this question from foreign media, and I answered with a no. I was "why are you so sadistic?"
Miyazaki: I don't know about the other staff members, but I'm actually a masochist.
Miyazaki: I'm a huge masochist, so when I make games like these… this is how I want to be treated!
Miyazaki: "I want to be killed this way!" That's how I make it!
Isomura: Amazing! That's some really extreme masochism!
Miyazaki: It's just that sometimes other people don't understand it; it's for my pleasure.
Murohashi: Really? You want to be killed deep in the forest, getting punched by a huge mushroom?
Miyazaki: Yes, yes. And the curse area… When I get cursed…
Isomura: You want to die from a barrage of arrows?!
Miyazaki: It's gratifying. I like that, I just wanted to emphasize it!
Miyazaki: I don't know about the other staff members' fantasies, but I'm not making it from a sadistic stance, but from a masochistic one. I want this done to me!
Isomura: Oh… wow!
Miyazaki: I actually like that. I got some strong responses from foreign media. They said "what the hell are you talking about?!"
Isomura: About the NPCs and enemy characters… Who's yours and the staff's favorite character?
Miyazaki: My favorite character is Solaire. We don't make polls on favorite characters but from what I've heard, our staff in London and the translators really liked him as well. The staff seems to like him because he's a good guy. I like him the most, too.
Isomura: There are many unique NPCs but there's also the blue guy, the Crestfallen guy. Is he a tradition? He also appeared in Demon's Souls.
Murohashi: He's a cliché, basically.
Miyazaki: Yeah. I wanted to make it a tradition. I believe I'll be making more titles and I think he can give that kind of… "quirkiness". I think he is also kind of humouristic, about how he talks about the player and what's happening in the world.
Murohashi: I see.
Miyazaki: It's convenient, and an easy way to give hints, too.
Isomura: About Mr. Solaire. Isn't it impossible to finish his story if you play normally?
Miyazaki: It's impossible to do it without hints. For Solaire, there's a shortage of hints in general. To be able to fight alongside him in the end was pretty much a secret. We expected Solaire to be taken over by the Sunlight Maggot as the general norm. But anyways, in this case (and in others), the conveying of hints is a subject we need to work on. This is another topic, but we should work more on achieving goals in the game regarding both locations and objects. We should try to include more ways to present clues, as it is my personal taste. I just think there are more ways to convey hints. Going back to Solaire, it's really a secret and I think that the happiest ending for him is to die by becoming the sun!
Isomura: That's nice.
Miyazaki: He's happy, he becomes the sun!
Murohashi: Wait, I didn't understand well. So what exactly happens?
Miyazaki: If you kill the red-eyed Sunlight Maggot, he can fight with you against the last boss. After that, he will link the fire in his own world.
Miyazaki: Before you say something, he's not the same Patches.
Isomura: He's not the same Patches from Demon's Souls?
Miyazaki: Parallel character.
Isomura: Then, the Golden Yurt…
Isomura: Here it says "Golden Yurt"!
Miyazaki: What's up with "Golden Yurt"? That name is going too far…!
Isomura: That's not his name… huh?
Isomura: This seems obvious, but is he a cliché like the Crestfallen Warrior?
Miyazaki: He's an easter egg, more like a nod to Demon's Souls players. He does have a shotel.
Isomura: And he looks suspicious.
Miyazaki: Indeed, his armor is one of my favourites… the armour that hugs you.
Isomura: I really didn't want that guy around me.
Miyazaki: His laugh, "keh heh heh". I like him!
Isomura: Quelana… is she single? Does she have a boyfriend? Did she go out with Salaman?
Miyazaki: What is this?
Isomura: A question!
Miyazaki: As for boyfriend, I don't think she has a boyfriend, believe me.
Miyazaki: Salaman is not like that, no. First of all, there are different species. Quelana is a daughter of the Witch of Izalith, so regarding on reproductive actions, who knows if it's even possible!
Isomura: It could be platonic love!
Miyazaki: Basically they are different species and she's without a doubt a good character. If you go for romance options, of all the female characters, she's quite desirable.
Isomura: About Logan now. Freke from Demon's Souls was in a place easy to find, and Logan… well, he isn't that easy to find. Is it their destiny for the sages to be trapped? Is this another cliché?
Isomura: Why is Logan naked when he goes hollow? Is it because he got so excited after unraveling the secrets of the crystals?
Miyazaki: You mean at the end, where you fight him instead of Seath? Why is he naked? Why is he nude? I wonder. He may have achieved enlightenment! I wanted to show that he didn't go hollow, but he "achieved enlightenment". You know, literally opened up to knowledge.
Murohashi: Something "opened"?
Miyazaki: Yes, something "opened". I wanted to show that something "opened". There were limitations in the game to express that within the game itself, so… he's naked.
Miyazaki: He's still wearing the hat, so it's confusing, but something "opened".
Murohashi: There's like an "enlightenment" to it.
Miyazaki: Exactly. Something "opened", something unusual. Something was liberated, something eye-opening. Similar to that, yes.
Isomura: I used the Dark Hand R2 to suck humanity from the wizard guy Griggs. I got a lot, but why does the Crestfallen guy become hostile so fast!? I wanted to Dark Hand the blue guy!
Miyazaki: I'm sorry.
Miyazaki: What else but sorry, can I say? I did not know there was such a desire!
Isomura: I see, there are various people with various fetishes.
Miyazaki: I think it was done really early, how much damage can be done to NPCs before the turn hostile. That's what I gave to the team. I was asked to give a standard damage for a base, and I said that it would be regarding their attitudes. So the blue guy is not a good person, or is not a very tolerant man. If he gets damaged a little, he'll fight. Also, he does quite a lot of damage.
Isomura: That's why you can't suck his humanity.
Murohashi: That's true, I tried. You can suck humanity from Griggs three times and he will still talk with you.
Isomura: That's impressive.
Miyazaki: He's a good man.
Murohashi: A very good man.
Miyazaki: That's strange, anyways. Normally you would think he should be hostile after one time. What you're doing is a bit too far.
Isomura: Maybe he likes it.
Murohashi: When he says: "hey, stop".
Miyazaki: And he doesn't change his attitude!
Murohashi: A good person, indeed.
Isomura: The Boob-Queen, the Spider Princess and Otoko no Ko ("boy", refers to Gwyndolin: "Otoko No Ko" [男の娘] is a fetish regarding cute boys that look like girls): they have their own covenants, but why doesn't Priscilla have one? The boob lovers, mutant lovers and "otoko no ko" lovers have their own covenants, but it's wrong that we, gentlemen, have no place to vow to protect Priscilla!
Miyazaki: When it's said this way, it sounds like a date-sim game… Boob-Queen… oh, Gwynevere. Spider Princess and Otoko… oh. The reason Priscilla doesn't have a covenant, well, that's because there are so many. The inside-story is that she was initially the heroine.
Miyazaki: Now, we have the Fire Keepers, but that was initially her role. There was a time when she was the first heroine you would meet and it was like that for while. Back then, it wasn't about covenants but more like the The Maiden in Black in Demon's Souls. It was like that for a long time but then we couldn't make more covenants. There's a theme about big women, that's why Gwynevere is so large. That's why Priscilla is big, too. Kinda wanted to do a "Moe Big Girl". We couldn't do that, though. Now, about Otoko no Ko… His voice is clearly male. Why is he being called Otoko no Ko?
Murohashi: That's what they thought, I guess.
Isomura: Dusk of Oolacile and Sieglinde, as they are freed from Crystal Golems, remark that their trap was not uncomfortable. Why does it seem comfortable? It's said that it's cozy in there, but how does it really feel like?
Miyazaki: Well, would it be better if it was disgusting? There's absolutely no problem with it being pleasing. As for being cozy, ah… I imagined it to be something like a cold sleep or like being in a womb. I think it would be pretty pleasant with all your senses being shut down. But Sieglinde is saying that it was cozy, to show that she has an adventurer's spirit, like her father Siegmeyer.
Isomura: Dusk of Oolacile's summon sign is pretty hard to find, even though she says where it will be. Does she actually want to be summoned or is she trolling us? She says she wants to reward us, but is she laughing behind our backs?
Miyazaki: That's not true! No, no, she's not. I need to clear up this misunderstanding. She's a very pure character, so don't try to make her look bad!
Murohashi: Another good person?
Isomura: Another indeed!
Miyazaki: There was a removed event in early development where you would get summoned to Dusk's world. Her story was that she came from Oolacile, so there was a quest to rescue her in that kingdom after being summoned. We scrapped that quickly, though, "there's no way we can do that!". I wanted to make the old forest bright, and restore the ruins and buildings. So there you would do some quests in Oolacile, getting summoned by Dusk. It's sad, because she's a character I liked so much, so I was thinking about events and quests related to her.
Isomura: Onward to enemy characters… Why is the Stone Dragon OK with its tail being cut off? Why doesn't he become hostile? The suspense was thrilling me! Compare it to the magician brat [Griggs] who doesn't get pissed with the Dark Hand R2, it must really have a heart of gold…!
Miyazaki: The Stone Dragon is not alive. The Ancient Dragons are half-living, half-element, so there's no pain for them. In the opening cinematic, it's shown that they were there before there was life. So yeah, they don't feel pain, kinda like Akuma Shogun From the Kinnikuman series. He doesn't possess it's own body, so he doesn't feel pain. He fusions with Akuma Kishi and builds its body.].
*Miyazaki and Murokashi laugh, but Tomomi doesn't get it*
Murohashi: You don't get it? I guess the young ones of today won't understand it!
Isomura: I thought the tail regrows.
Murohashi: It does.
Isomura: So it doesn't hurt?
Miyazaki: It's not like that. It's not painful. It's just beyond human understanding.
Isomura: I've been reading these questions and it's surprising that so many people just attack NPCs.
Miyazaki: Why would you… why would you call him magician brat?
Isomura: The egg bearers: did you make them with an evil grin? Thinking of the players that would kill them only to find maggots bursting out, trying to kill them? If yes, were there more characters designed in that way?
Miyazaki: Well, as I explained before… I get excited! The thought of dying after killing the egg bearers, when the bugs burst out… it gets me excited… like a surprise!
Isomura: The masochist is showing!
Miyazaki: The maggot part is really nasty and the surprise made it a popular enemy among the staff. It was fun to pop them open!
Isomura: I don't know, I always left them alone.
Murohashi: You should try it.
Miyazaki: Yeah, you should. It will surprise you!
Isomura: Does it happen to Eingyi too?
Miyazaki: Yes. You can kill him too.
Isomura: The Chaos Servant covenant area was made to trick players into attacking them, right?
Miyazaki: No, that's not true!
Murohashi: I can tell by your face that you're lying!
Miyazaki: No no no! That's not true!
Murohashi: But before him, you put two regular egg bearers, so you run past them! Then… "ugh", you put him right there!
Miyazaki: I repeat, that's not true!
Isomura: I actually left him alone.
Miyazaki: See? That's an attentive player!
Isomura: It was because I ignored the other two, before.
Miyazaki: Well, the TALK option should have been showing a bit earlier.
Murohashi: Haha! That was so on purpose! Come on!
Miyazaki: I do feel that it should have shown up before your attack could reach it, but it wasn't intended to be a bait.
Murohashi: I even used great combustion…
Isomura: With the new P2P matchmaking system, it is said that the longer you play, the easier it is to find a match. Can you explain some details about this?
Miyazaki: "Easier to find a match" is a bit misleading. Basically you're connected to 20-30 people by P2P but the game needs some time to optimize the connections. If the connected players are out of your level range or they're too far away from you, then you won't be able to play with them. The system will continuously replace them with players that are closer both in level and location. It takes some time, though.
Murohashi: If it takes time, does moving from area to area matter?
Miyazaki: Moving from area to area will trigger optimization by location. It's preferable to just stay in the same location.
Murohashi: So if I was playing in Anor Londo and I want to be matched up with other players, it's best to just stand there for a bit to let the game work?
Miyazaki: Yes, so if you're in Anor Londo, the P2P system will search players in your level and location range.
Isomura: This will allow connections to foreign players?
Miyazaki: Yes, it's possible. But if the connection to the players is slow, it will simply "bounce" it. It's made to work with other countries, nonetheless.
Isomura: It was posted somewhere that the Way of White/Warriors of Sunlight members get matched together easier. But how much of a difference would that make?
Miyazaki: It's not like that. You don't get matched together easier… it's more like you get connected easily with players from the same covenant, so when you're in one covenant, you get easily connected with members of your own covenant. So those members, maybe they invade less and use more miracles, getting more miracle resonances. All that it does is add an extra condition for same covenant members.
Murohashi: Then, if I'm a member of the Way of White or Warriors of Sunlight, will there be less invasions?
Miyazaki: Yes but that's just a probability. As you're connected with, for example, Way of White members, you could get less invasions because they don't invade that much.
Murohashi: Oh, if you wanted to invade you probably would want to be a Darkwraith.
Miyazaki: It's the most efficient way, as it was designed like that, so it should give the player the feeling of actually belonging to the covenants. That part was really hard. We tried a couple of different matching options, like matching by covenants… But we left the option to be a wolf in sheep's clothing…
Murohashi: Makes sense!
Isomura: This time, there is a new type of PvP. How was it developed? What's your take on the new PvP modes?
Miyazaki: The reason to introduce a new PvP mode is to provide roleplaying situations. My take on the new mode… we still haven't got a lot of feedback, but the multiplayer is starting to roll in now. I still don't have a good grasp on it, but I believe in the concept of the covenants, as roleplaying situations have a great potential.
Murohashi: I can understand the roleplay element. The Darkmoon Blades covenant is basically a Dark Moon police. You can indict the invaders: "this guy is an asshole, somebody get him!". It's like Ultima Online: there were player killers, and then there were the killers of player killers.
Miyazaki: That's what we wanted to make: we wanted to provide a different role playing situations and players who could act as the bad guys; "I'm a bad guy!", "I will hunt you!". When I play Dark Souls and I see Sunlight Warriors, it makes me very happy! They do gestures and role play and it's great. We wanted to give situations that would fit in the game's lore, and to encourage players, too. I hope it keeps up like it is now and I think we can do more with it. Right now, we need to gather feedback, especially from the Darkmoon Blades.
Isomura: Next. Plans for the future. Demon's Souls had events like Valentine's Day but how about Dark Souls?
Miyazaki: Dark Souls doesn't have servers, so it's difficult and also, it has no tendencies. Regarding events, we won't be able to do things like in Demon's Souls.
Isomura: Is there any plans for releasing a book with info about the world, items, characters, design, descriptions…? I would love to read that as a book.
Miyazaki: We had some talks about it. So far, we have no idea if it's going to be an art book or something else. Artists and designers did a great job in this game, so I personally want to show their wonderful work even without profit. The art they did is great, but for descriptions… I'm a bit embarrassed. Art book should be fine! [Miyazaki wrote most of the item descriptions]
Isomura: But is all good!.
Murohashi: I want to read it!
Miyazaki: An art book should be OK.
Murohashi: No no no! I want the text too! I read the loading screen a lot!
Isomura: Me too!
Murohashi: Just let me read the loading screens!
Miyazaki: I'll think about it.
Isomura: Are there any plans for DLC? It was said that we might have it, during development… so I want to know your current plans.
Miyazaki: Honestly we had some trouble with deadlines so we didn't have the chance to discuss this… So we'll probably talk about it now. I can't say that we will or that we won't… yet. I want to do one, though.
Sales & Sequels
Isomura: Dark Souls has sold 1.5 million copies worldwide. How is that compared to what you were expecting?
Miyazaki: Honestly, I didn't think it would sell so well. It was tough to make so I can only say… thank you. Also to the sales staff in Japan and overseas, to Bandai Namco. There may be debate on how it actually was compared to what we estimated but I'm personally satisfied with it.
Isomura: Any plans for a sequel? If yes, what would be a good title for a sequel?
Miyazaki: Hey, hold your horses! I don't know about a sequel, but it seems like we can make a new one. We still need to look reviews and player feedback before doing anything. Including overseas, what's going on here and there and how's the market for it. I really, really don't know about doing a sequel, and even if there will be one, I can't say anything just now. Dark Souls is not "mine", and I think it might need some new "blood" You have to understand that if it's going to be a sequel, the series would be a brand and a brand will need power, which might come from new "blood". With all these issues, I have no idea. I want to keep making things, that's for sure.
Isomura: I want it to continue, Mr. Miyazaki!
Miyazaki: I want that too, but-
Isomura: The texts can only come from you!!
Miyazaki: A professional should write them.
Isomura: No no no! It's good as it is!
Murohashi: Keep it the way it is!
Miyazaki: Honestly, the reason I'm writing the texts is because it prevents the game development from falling behind or having more pressure due to also having to write the texts. Those texts, together with the dialogues and the screenplay could be written by professionals and that would result in a much better quality… But we kept tweaking the game till the very end, which resulted in the need to fix items and scenarios. If we had contracted professionals, it would have been easier to do but if I write it, I have to fix what I do! It's a problem with development procedures. I'm not writing because I want to…
Isomura: Your writing has a different taste, though!
Isomura: Would you be willing to do a store raffle with Dark Souls or Demon's Souls?
Isomura: I would be collecting humanity while I patiently wait for it!
Miyazaki: What "raffle"?
Murohashi: That stuff in convenience stores.
Isomura: It's around 500 yen or so.
Miyazaki: Is that a thing? I buy some, sometimes, too.
Isomura: You buy them too? They are these things, like-
Miyazaki: Prizes, and stuff.
Miyazaki: Well, I'm a producer. My title is a producer/director, but-
Isomura: I want a figurine series!
Murohashi: I want the Undead Asylum Demon! Or Capra Demon!
Miyazaki: There are some figurines out there, overseas. I don't know much about it. I will think about it, but Dark Souls AND Demon's Souls would run into some copyright issues, so it might be one or the other. For Demon's I would need to talk with SCE.
Murohashi: How about Dark Souls?
Miyazaki: I personally would love it. But we need somebody to work with us!
Isomura: What if somebody volunteers?
Murohashi: Any listeners that are in the industry! Contact FROM, please!
Isomura: Please, grant our wishes!
Miyazaki: Aww, we love to make stuff and things like that.
Isomura: How about a Golden Yurt?
Murohashi: That'd be great, but don't say Golden Yurt!
Miyazaki: It's Lautrec!
Isomura: And "Praise the Sun"!
Miyazaki: Yeah, yeah!
Murohashi: There was somebody cosplaying Solaire, once!
Isomura: A foreigner.
Murohashi: At the train station!
Miyazaki: Oh, yeah!
Murohashi: I wanted to be friends with him!
Isomura: With the success of Demon's Souls, it probably was estimated to have significant sales with Dark Souls. How was the atmosphere in the company? Was it like "GOGOGO!!!"?
Miyazaki: Not really! Dark Souls development started after some time had passed since Demon's Souls. Back then, Demon's Souls wasn't still praised in Japan or globally, yet, that happened later. The world-wide release happened after. The reviews were being made at the end of the year and it got some awards but the development for Dark Souls had already started by then. At first, it was more about the developers wanting to make a sequel and we were not expecting so much sales. So… we didn't want to let the game die but we couldn't get more sales. Later on, we started to get really good feedback and the atmosphere started to change around us but never to a "GOGOGO!" situation. We weren't expecting to have this much fame and development costed a lot but the reviews came and we were like "Oh, we get more funding and time to develop, yay!". It was awesome! But anyways, we were conservative.
Isomura: That was unexpected!
Miyazaki: Then, we got good reviews and people started to follow and join us. They were excited, but we really weren't that excited. When Dark Souls was announced, we never expected to get this anticipation, this hype, from the fans. For example, the day before release we got a crazy amount of interviews. Demon's Souls only got one or two. Dark Souls… wow. This is a bit off-topic, but I thought I should have quit the producer/director title! I underestimated it. I didn't think I was going to have to do so many interviews and make that many promotional videos. I was very thankful but there was so much to do as a producer that it took time away from me as a director and I became a bottleneck in development. In that aspect… it was unexpected, too. As a producer, all I thought I had to do was a couple of interviews and manage some funds. I thought that there wasn't going to be that much work with publishers, magazines, websites… But oh man, it was such a bad underestimation!
Isomura: We had weeks of interviews but this will be the last one. Do you have anything to say to the listeners, as well as future developments?
Miyazaki: Sorry for all the rambling, but thank you! From these questions I can feel that the players had fun playing Dark Souls and as a developer, I'm very, very happy. There were so many problems and some may still be there but I just want to make enjoyable games. If we get more chances, I want to make much more fun games to play! And next week, I will feature Armored Core V in an interview with the great Mr. Nabeshima.
Murohashi: He's probably "hard" about that!
Isomura: You're going to say that to him, aren't you?
Miyazaki: For me, talking to Mr. Nabeshima is like "aw". His voice is great and… expect awesome things!! Armored Core V is also another game on which we spent a lot of time making and it's developed with care. So please, play Armored Core too, it's fun! We will probably play as the Dark Souls team, online. We shouldn't be busy anymore when the game comes out so we would like to see you all online. Actually, we are playing Dark Souls too, so we might have already met in Lordran. Let's just end this so Mr. Nabeshima doesn't get harder!
Murohashi: Thanks for sticking with us for so long!
Miyazaki: It was fun. I love the games I make, so talking about them is fun, even about their issues.
Isomura: Please, come back to us if you make a sequel!
Miyazaki: Next time, I'll see if I get the chance to bring somebody with me. Like I said before, I don't want to be both director and producer. I underestimated both! [He was in the podcast before, for Demon's Souls, with SCE producer Takeshi Kaji] Next time, I'll look for a game where I can be just a director!