Gamespot Dark Souls 3 Interview for gamescom 2015 - August 10, 2015
When did the Dark Souls 3 development project begin, and when did you become involved?
Dark Souls 3 began development when From Software was working on Dark Souls 2 DLC. Initially, I wasn’t involved in the project, I joined at the midpoint of the prototyping phase. That was the milestone where I started taking lead.
Honestly speaking, when the team was working on the prototype build overall development wasn’t in a good shape. We were at the very late stage of Bloodborne development and I had settled on a lot of the ideas for what I wanted to bring to Dark Souls 3.
Can you tell us a little more about the world of Dark Souls 3? It seems to be set during the apocalypse, as opposed to after it like in previous Souls games.
I’m not good at and I’m not a big fan of spontaneously explaining the world to players. I like for people to discover the world themselves. Having said that, I will say that the storyline is based around the Lord of Cinders, and the player acts as the dark hero who hunts them down. There was also a fire succeeded by a legendary lord from the past to the present. It’s like the grand finale of the story around the Lord of Cinders.
The original Dark Souls was about killing gods, that was one of its themes. The third game is about the kings that succeeded the power of those gods. The play is basically trying to kill those kings. That’s the basic plot of the game.
Are you familiar with something fans of Dark Souls in the west call “The Miyazaki Touch”?
Yes, The Miyazaki Touch!
What? What is this? I’ve never heard of it?
It’s a line of thinking that says a Dark Souls game lacks that something special if you’re not directly involved with it. Dark Souls 2, for example, is a great game, but didn’t have the magic of the first. It lacked the Miyazaki Touch, which elevates the design of a Souls game. How does that make you feel? Knowing that your involvement in the franchise is that important to fans?
I knew that my way of designing a game had unique direction to it, but after hearing there’s an actual term called “The Miyazaki Touch,” it’s a little scary. Dark Souls 3 will be unique, it’ll have unique level design and gameplay design because of the Miyazaki Touch, but now I am a little bit worried about whether that term will still be used positively or become negative after the game’s released.
I’m surprised you haven’t heard of it, it’s a very common shorthand for describing the unique qualities of Miyazaki’s games among fans. It’s definitely used positively at the moment. It’s an imperceptible magic, kind of like Disney’s; anyone can make an animated feature, but only Disney can make a Disney film.
Wow. If that’s the case, I’ll have to work hard to make sure that “Miyazaki Touch” continues to be used in a positive way then. I’m aware that the way I give direction to the team when working on a game is a little bit different from other people. I call it “total direction,” which means I get complete control of how the game is made, not only with regards to the level design, but also the background music, sound effects, and everything else. I think that may give it a unique quality.
What lessons did you take away from Bloodborne for use in Dark Souls 3?
There’s some good things I’ve taken from Bloodborne, but at the same time there were several things that were created because they’re uniquely Dark Souls and only work in this series. From Bloodborne, I’ve taken the limit on resources, which will add additional gameplay strategy. Having certain items give certain effects is another thing that I took over from Bloodborne.
While working on Bloodborne, I realised several unique things that I can only get in Dark Souls. For example, letting players have a variety of character builds, in Bloodborne I tried to embed characteristics into certain characters and weapons, rather than letting players build their own characters.
Bloodborne was also based on gothic, cosmic horror, but I realised I missed working on dark fantasy. That brought me back to Dark Souls. I was always thinking “classic metallic knight armour is awesome,” but couldn’t use that in Bloodborne because it’s a different genre. That’s something you can only get in the Dark Souls series.
Dragons too! And magic! That actually led to me coming up with a new way to evolve the franchise.
Fans often speculate about whether the Souls framework and style of gameplay will ever extend to genres outside of dark fantasy. Have you thought about that, perhaps sci-fi Souls?
Dark Souls is my life’s work. Everything I came up with for Dark Souls 3 is based on my personal preferences. However, Dark Souls 3 is also actually the turning point for the franchise. This project was launched by the previous From Software management, before I was appointed president. In that sense, Dark Souls 3 is the turning point for the series.
As president of From Software, I am planning to launch several new projects. I can’t quite specify exactly what they are. Those could be something sci-fi, but you’ll have to stay tuned for more about that in the future.
You regularly mention Berserk as a big source of inspiration for Dark Souls, I always think about what you could do if you moved to a grounded sci-fi dystopia like in Akira. Of course. Then there’s mechs, which you’re familiar with thanks to Armored Core.
I definitely want to bring the Miyazaki Touch to those genres [laughs], both sci-fi and Japanese mechs.
With regards to Armored Core, there are several barriers that From Software as a whole needs to overcome in order to give new games to the fans. If the fans out there really want that, I suggest contacting Bandai Namco.
But yes, I do want to work on something new, and I’m please to hear people are interested in seeing that.
One of the big features in Bloodborne was the Chalice Dungeons. Will we be seeing something like that in Dark Souls 3?
In the case of Dark Souls 3, there’s no specific plan to reproduce Chalice Dungeons. The approach is to ask players to complete the game and then create new characters and builds then play the game. As always, there will be additional value and challenge in new game plus. We can’t go into details, but the online multiplayer in Dark Souls 3 will give additional values to players of the game. Those are the basic elements that will provide replay value in Dark Souls 3.
You’ve said your approach is to give full direction on games. But there is the matter of Bloodborne DLC, which many fans have hoped you’ll be involved with heavily. Can you clarify the level of commitment you’re giving to that?
The bottom line is, I think I can do it. I believe I can do both the Bloodborne DLC and Dark Souls 3. The reason is because this isn’t the first time I’ve had to work on two projects at the same time. When I was doing Demon’s Souls, I was also working on Armored Core: For Answer. Even for the original Dark Souls, I acted as producer and director.
In the case of Bloodborne, although I was the lead game director, there was another director level person that also contributed. This is the same for Dark Souls 3. Actually, [Yui] Tanimura-san, the director of Dark Souls 2, has already joined the [Dark Souls 3] team, which will allow me to work on core gameplay design while other things are taken care of.
As long as I am listed as game director on the end credits, there’s a certain level of quality the game needs to meet. I can guarantee that the game quality will reach that.
Both Dark Souls 3 and the Bloodborne DLC will reach that quality bar?
[In English] Yes!
Even though you’re also president of From Software now too?
Yes. Even though I am super busy. Working as a president and also director of Dark Souls is keeping me busy, I’m getting a lot of stimulation, which motivates me to work hard.
[Laughs] As a last resort, I can always skip my duties as a president to focus on Dark Souls 3.
I’m glad your priorities are in order.
Gamespot Dark Souls 3 Interview - November 2015
Dark Souls 3’s network test beta drew a mixed response. How representative of the overall gameplay do you think it was?
So from a design perspective there's a lot of different aspects you could mean. It was primarily used to test multiplayer and obviously it was designed so corrections and adjustments could be made based on feedback.
As far as the map, the enemies, and number of choices you have for playing characters, fighting styles, and that kind of thing, it's only a very small slice of the entire game. In that sense it doesn't represent the total experience.
I ask because I played it quite a bit and felt that there weren't very many surprises in there for veterans of the series. I felt quite comfortable in it, which is not what I'd usually get from a Souls game. The worry is that it may have become a bit too familiar, and the game overall may be more of the same.
Actually, the slice of the game shown in the beta is one of the most standard parts. The creation of the game began by working on the very standard elements and achieving a balance there so we can all be at the same starting point. It certainly won't be the case where the feeling you had with the beta will continue into the entirety of the game. You don't have to worry about that.
Over the last few years we've had a lot of Souls games: Dark Souls 2, Scholar of the First Sin, Bloodborne. Is there a worry that people may be over-exposed to the franchise?
It'd be a lie if I said I have no concerns about that. I don't think it'd be the right choice to continue indefinitely creating Souls and Bloodborne games. I'm considering Dark Souls 3 to be the big closure on the series. That's not just limited to me, but From Software and myself together want to aggressively make new things in the future. Dark Souls 3 will mark the last game where the development project began before I became president. The next title will be a game that was conceived while I was president. I believe that From Software has to create new things. There will be new types of games coming from us, and Dark Souls 3 is an important marker in the evolution of From Software.
Would it be fair to say that you don’t want From Software, and your time as president of the studio, to be defined by the Souls series?
I don't care about what type of president I will be in the future or how I'll be remembered, I just believe that [moving on] is necessary in order for players to continue enjoying our games. We have to keep creating quality games and be aggressive about doing new things.
How do you feel about the legacy of Souls, then? The landscape of the action RPG genre has shifted somewhat in response to your games. There's games such as Lords of the Fallen and Titan Souls, among many others, that draw inspiration from From Software's titles.
We don't really feel our games have created a standard. I have no concern over others making similar games, it just shows that players wanted games that were like this, that are difficult, and wanted other studios to make challenging games that achieve the same level of satisfaction. We enjoy those games and their approach to creating them are never the same, anyway. We enjoy seeing the differences. We're totally fine with seeing more games come out that borrow aspects. Our main focus is keeping game creation fresh for ourselves.
What elements of the action or RPG genres stand out to you as needing attention? What do you feel players would respond to, that isn't out there at the moment.
I don't find it fun or productive to envision what the direction should be for the genres or the industry as a whole. I don't believe in a top-down approach to that sort of thing. On a personal level, however, I certainly have ideas for what might be interesting to do and what would be cool. [Laughs] But those ideas can be linked to concepts for our upcoming games, so I won't give you too many details on that.
How beholden to the previous two games will Dark Souls 3 be? There are references to Lords of Cinder, but is it going to be ambiguous in the same way previous games have, or are you going to be clear and direct, given you want it to be the final chapter?
You know I wouldn't make everything completely clear about a story. But there is the conclusion to a large theme that has continued through the entire series, something that will leave you with the impression of what Dark Souls was really about, tell you about the overarching theme.
You draw quite heavily on Berserk and have said repeatedly that you're a big fan of it. What else is in your well of inspiration?
The roots of my fantasy ideas are in Sorcery, by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson, the adventure game books.
Anything more recent that has caught your attention?
When I play games, I have a director's perspective, so it's half work and it's hard for me to have a pure experience, to just enjoy something on the same level as others may. However, the thing that I can enjoy right now on a pure level is Hearthstone. That's not connected to Dark Souls 3, but I love Hearthstone. There are some board games too, like Eclipse. The design of Eclipse is amazing, it's really fun.
If you could take over any game franchise and had unlimited budget, which would you pick?
Past or present. You can revive a property if you want. It could be Call of Duty, do you want to make that?
[Laughs] That is a hard question, I don't think I've thought about it. What do you think?
What would I like you to do? The Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver.
Yes. A vampire kingdom in ruins which the player explores many, many years after its downfall, learning of what happened. It's perfect for you.
[Laughs] I understand!
I haven't thought about this at all, it's a really hard question. I see some things and I like the direction they're going and try and bring in some of the elements to do something inspired by those. A lot of the times that's the level I end up thinking on. Do I get the development team?
You can build your own team, using your own people, or existing ones. Remember, you have unlimited budget.
Wow. Ultima Online or EverQuest.
That'd be great. But seriously, The Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. Please get to work on that.
[Laughs] Ok. Ok.
Oh actually, I really look up to The Elder Scrolls, I find it very inspiring.
Are you playing Fallout 4?
As a game, I found Fallout 3 to be very interesting, but I like fantasy. I tend to gravitate towards Oblivion more.
Famitsu Interview with Miyazaki - March 2016
(I believe Dark Souls 3 is a grand finale of the series)
(—Finally, it has been launched. How does it feel right now?)
(Miyazaki: Of course, it feels like I achieved something since it's the fruit of the long development. However, if you ask how I feel, I am very much excited. (lol) It isn't just limited to Dark souls 3, but the term between the game became golden and the game being released is the worst [moment].)
(—Where would you say that this game stands among the series?)
(Miyazaki: I would say it is a grand finale in Dark souls series. It can be a huge finale of "Linking the Flame" since the first Dark Souls; Recently, We can also say it is the point where we start on a new title that is not a part of Dark Souls Saga)
(—On Weekly Famitsu 2015/7/5 issue's interview, you've said "The development of Alpha version has been secured", Did you face any kind of problems since DS3's development was overlaping with Bloodborne's?)
(Miyazaki: Of course, we were very busy. But including Okano (Yuu) and Tanimura (Yui), staff members were doing their best at their post, so I was able to focus on directing where needed. Also, I was able to find the merit in overlapping developments. I felt that [by working on both booldborne and DS3 at the same time] each development mutually affecting the other provided a good motivation. As a game developer, that was a great learning experience.)
(—How did you set the balance to satisfy both original series fan and those who entered to soulsborne community from From Soft's new IP, Bloodborne?)
(Miyazaki: Hm. Not limited to DS3, I haven't really gave a deep thought regarding that. To be honest, I'm not good at developing a game while considering its target audiences. I haven't really thought through, but I would say that [the target audiences] would be "the people who love games" and "the people who loves something like games". However, I am paying special attention to [audiences of] Dark souls 2 and Bloodborne recently. The reason is that, when players who played both DS2 and BB plays DS3, I wanted to avoid making them say "I was so stressed out even before figuring out the game's concept."
(—Were there any changes to the game after the network test?)
(Miyazaki: Of course, there are some changes. However, counter-examples to that statement would be the battle system and the basic game mechanics that are already chosen for the main game.)
(—Not only the weapon art is a weapon gimmick, but also it deepens the RPG aspect of the game.)
(Miyazaki: It is. As for weapon arts, it has two characteristics: expanding the range of strategies and RPG aspects of a weapon, and adding more to how you wield that weapon. The concept of weapon arts also frees users from thinking that a weapon's unique moveset is limited to just "attacking". We enjoyed making them. I hope players would enjoy them too. If I add on, weapon arts isn't in a fixed one-to-one relationship with weapons categories. In each weapons category, there may be a range of basic weapon arts and off-categorical weapon arts given to a weapon. And also a unique weapon arts could be on a weapon. So you enjoy choosing and finding out which weapon has what kind of weapon arts.)
(—Looking at how you can acquire a variety of weapons from the start, is that so [players] can enjoy a variety of role playing?)
(Miyazaki: Yes. There are more than 200 weapons in DS3. Especially since players can find a bunch of weapons at the beginning, we were hoping that players would find the weapon they like early on by experimenting on them.
(Speaking of experimenting, I was shocked by the fact that you can change the character's appearance in the middle of the game.)
(Miyazaki: Speaking of remaking your character appearance, actually, this was brought up even before DS3. There were problems regarding it before that we had to postpone the development, but it feels like it finally became real. I can't tell you the exact detail, but we made a special NPC fitting for that function.
(—We will find out who that is when we actually play. Surely we would be satisfied with that statement (lol))
(Dark souls 3 has very special double sidedness)
(—It seems that the map is designed uniquely, giving a great enjoyment for exploring……)
(M: Because it is the first Dark Souls series only for PS4 and X1, the scale of a map can be massive.)
(—I was surprised by the fact that places, where I asked myself "can we go here?", were actually reachable.)
(M: The fact that I, myself, enjoy exploring around and this weird habit of mine making multidimensional/interconnected map has to do with it. Also, the map's much brighter than before. Among the dull colors, there are some places stands out. I hope players enjoy that too.)
(—It's like it's so dazzling even though I am looking at a very dull overall area.)
(M: Including the fact that the graphic designer, who has always been working with us, has worked hard on it, I hope that there are places that gives a lingering impression to players)
(—Not only some places giving a lingering impression, but also it felt like the lore was much easier to understand this time around than before, in a good way.)
(M: At least, compared to other games i worked on before(lol), I believe it is a bit easier to understand. The lore in DS3 is at the end result of the lore collected from DS1 to DS2, so we try to make as straight as possible. However, on the other hand, the accumulated lore from DS1 and DS2 was a bit sloppy, and some were hidden under the shadows and never revealed. I hope players enjoy finding [lore bits] and speculating on them.
(M: DS3 has a very special double-sidedness to it. And for that, because I am the director, I cannot deny that overlapping developments of DS3 and BB has something to do with it.
(—Both enemy and NPCs has a unique characteristics to them. Especially, bosses left a great impression on me.)
(M: Sure. Boss battles in DS3 were given everything our team had. I hope players enjoy them. Multiphase elements were taken into the boss battle so that they don't feel dull as much. It seems that giving a good affect to overall boss designs, as a director's perspective. Players will agree with me when they face some of the bosses.)
(Hope they avoid spoilers and strategy guides as much as possible before they try out.)
(M: Not that I definitely want them to, but I think that is one way to enjoy it.)
(The main character is a very unique being that stands at the end of the age of the fire.)
(—Is there a reason why there is no Hollow form in DS3?)
(M: This was continuously brought up since the first Dark Souls. Players spent their times to customize the character, but were sad that their character stayed in hollow form for the most of the time. That's why DS3 doesn't have hollow form after death. And the reason our main character is called "unkindled/ashen one" is because he/she is a special being appeared during the end of the age of the fire. However, there is a way to become hollowed, and we are giving a special meaning to it. There might be a player who says "At last, Hollowed", and that would be fulfilling my long-cherished wish.(lol))
(Is the appearance of Andre, the blacksmith, a result from finishing a chapter of the history?)
(M: Um. Rather, Andre is there for a minor amusement. Actually, since the first Dark souls, we were developing him as a part of "the Clan of Andre, the blacksmith". And we thought all those Andre looking corpses with embers were exact look-a-likes, and this time, it is the same idea. However, the world in DS3 is an accumulated continuation of DS1 and DS2 that characters from previous two games returned in different forms or with added background story. It sounds weird, but like "DS3's the next in the series, so there is a way to have them back like this". Of course, we didn't make it so that if you didn't play DS1 or DS2 then you won't understand. So, for those of you playing DS3 as the first in the series, please rest assured.)
[Note: btw, there is this tradition in Japanese blacksmiths that the name of the very first blacksmith who made his name to the high lord would be given a new name or pertain his name and that name would be passed down to his descendants. So for an imaginary example, let's say "Canora Hito" was the first blacksmith who made the legendary sword "babbaribaba" which was the greatest sword of the history of Japan. Then he is recognized by the high lord who wielded. So from then and until now, that "Canora Hito" name is given to the first Canora Hito's 24th descendant who's still making the sword the way the first Canora Hito made back in the day. And Japanese would call their house "the Clan of Canora Hito." Well, I thought it would be interesting to put this as a side note…]
(As a fan, it's like me grinning without knowing.)
(M: That may be. In any forms of small form of reminding would be grateful.)
(Did you purposely make the fire keeper cute? (lol))
宮崎 えーと、それはどうでしょうか？ もしかしたら、疲れていたのかもしれませんね（笑）。まあでも、今回の火防女については、いままでとは少し違う側面もあり、好きなキャラクターになりました。また彼女に限らず、好きなNPCは多いので、ユーザーさんにも誰か好きになってもらえたらいいですね。
(Uuummmm. I am not sure. She might be tired of waiting. (lol) Well, but this firekeeper is a bit different than before and she became my favorite. But there are lots of NPCs I like beside her, So I hope players also like other NPCs,too.
(I would like to see a lot of role playing in multiplayer mode)
(—Regarding Online mode, were there any changes during Network Testing?)
(M: As for changes made from network testing, the maximum number of multiplayers is being adjusted as we speak. For the final product version, the maximum of six multiplayer wouldn't change, but it is basically set to be four. Just like last two games, the ratio for 4 player is one host, two co-ops, and one invader. And using 'dried finger' will break this basic setting of four players, and become maximum of six multiplayers in a session. Also, as Bloodborne, password matching is applied here. For password matching, the soul level won't be considered. When the difference in Soul level between players is great, the strength of the players will be adjusted.)
(—What is the reason for the return of SL matching?)
(M: There are many reasons. First, the SL matching is much simpler and easier to understand. Next, in case of Soul Memory, once a player lost a bunch of souls, then there is no way of returning and has to face difficulty later in progress. That's why we decided to not to use SM. Also, speaking of simplicity, we are also adjusting covenant based matchmaking to be much simpler. Basic Co-op or invasion leads to change in status of a character, and covenants will be helping with such.)
(—With weapon arts added to the mix, a lot of different playing style might arise.)
(M: I would love it if that happens. If I may repeat myself, the purpose of weapon arts is to expand the role playing aspect.
(—Like you said several times, it seems like it would be an unique experience)
(M. It may be so. Exploring larger maps, expanded roleplaying and strategic aspect by weapon arts, and the unique apocalyptic mood and the loneliness you feel in it. And last, enjoying the double sided-ness of the world and lore. While you are enjoying these, they are going to mix together and provide you different experience and new things discovered as you play. So please, don't let the numerous obstacles and countless deaths hollow you but rather enjoy them till the end.)
Dengeki Playstation 6/25 - Miyazaki Interview
-The director from the prototype is staying on too so there're two directors on this game
-Release is early 2016 but PC may be an exception (i.e. probably be delayed)
-Themes of the game are "end of the world" and "tales of heroes"
-Game environments as a whole are brighter than Bloodborne's because he wants to depict a world that's withering away, but of course there'll still be dark places
-Approach to the worldview is unchanged from 2. While the basic worldview of the previous games is still there, the story will not rely on them. But of course there will be things for older fans as well. [Note: Worldview refers to the themes, background, setting, and basis for the story/plot. It cannot refer to game mechanics and has nothing to do with warping.]
-Bonfires and the undead still exist, but they're rethinking the penalties for dying so that'll be different from past games
-Humanity is back too, but it probably won't be the same as DS1
-The end of the world theme can be seen in the faded sun, corpses of dragons, etc.
-The center of the "tales of heroes" are the Lords of Cinder (yes, plural). The screaming giant in the E3 trailer is the return of a former great hero, a Lord of Cinder.
-They haven't decided that this will be the last game, but are making it as if it is.
-It was in planning since before the company got reshuffled, and is the last game under the old company system. They've already started work on several other new games.
-Action-wise they're more deeply defining the individual weapons. For example shortbows used to be the same as longbows, just with different stats, but this time you can fire them faster and immediately after rolling/sidestepping so you're like "an elf in a certain fantasy movie series". Meanwhile longbows require to stay put and give you stronger shots.
-Longswords let you take a stance to prepare for enemy attacks, twin scimitars let you spin around, greatswords let you charge in to deal damage with the resolve that you might take large damage yourself, etc. allowing for more character building and roleplaying.
-This applies not just to the attack movements but also to the pre-attack movements
-Throwing knives are changed too, and there will be big ones that work like the old ones and smaller ones that can be used similarly to shortbows
-The player character will generally feel faster than in previous games
-Magic will undergo similar changes, more information will be revealed later
-Estus will be back but they're not sure about the healing gems
-Most of the work is done, and they're now adding missing data, balancing things, and working on improving the quality of the game
-When asked if more unique weapons means less weapons: The types and number of weapons will be "based on that of the previous games", "there won't be far less than the previous games".