During Gamescom, I sat through a presentation for Bloodborne. They explained an idea from creator Hidetaka Miyazaki that the standard health bar is actually a bar showing your will to fight, which is why it can be refilled. It totally shifted my perspective and made me fall in love with Miyazi. Now he has given an interview to The Guardian and it makes me like him even more.
In the feature, they explain how he was quite an unusual child by Japanese standards. He wasn’t ambitious and didn’t really know what he wanted to do. Following university, he ended up working at Oracle, but he wasn’t happy. So, at 29, he did the unthinkable in Japan and made a career change to game development. One of the only places that would hire him? From Software. Ema Kodaka, who edits Miyazaki’s scripts explained:
He is a unique talent. In Japan, even today, people usually join a company as a graduate and stay for life. For Miyazaki to change career and, within 10 years, become company president – that’s unprecedented in Japan. It’s inspiring.
After joining on as a coder in 2004, Miyazaki was working on the Armored Core robot-combat series. He heard about another game in development in the studio and had to get involved:
Demon’s Souls wasn’t doing well. The project had problems and the team had been unable to create a compelling prototype. But when I heard it was a fantasy-action role-playing game, I was excited. I figured if I could find a way to take control of the game, I could turn it into anything I wanted. Best of all, if my ideas failed, nobody would care – it was already a failure.
Of course, he wasn’t a failure. Demon’s Souls grew by word of mouth in Japan following a miserable start. Slowly a community built up around it as gamers saw it as a test of their mettle, and a way to support or troll each other with the messaging system. When Dark Souls was released, it outsold its predecessor in one week and Miyazaki was promoted to president where he began work on Bloodborne. Beyond making revolutionary games, Miyazaki just seems like a fun and quirky guy. Just check how The Guardian’s feature finishes:
“Now I’m president,” he says, “I get to meet a lot of other company presidents. They’re such weird people. I’m fascinated by them.” With a smile, he adds: “I use some of them as enemy characters in our games.”
Considering the enemies in his games, I can’t imagine that those presidents would appreciate his view of them. But he makes me laugh and makes gamers incredibly happy, so I don’t think that we could ask for much more.
Last Updated: April 1, 2015