Hidetaka Miyazaki opens up regarding Dark Souls design choices and apologizes if those choices make Dark Souls III leave a feeling of the game being incomplete.
The Souls franchise is one fraught with mystery. From Demon’s Souls to Bloodborne, Hidetaka Miyazaki has filled his games with a terrible wonder and freedom difficult to compare to other modern games.
Yet even Miyazaki recognizes that there’s a precarious balance to find when heavily depending on mystery to drive an experience. In an interview with EDGE magazine, Miyazaki addressed this topic with regards to his game Dark Souls specifically related to the upcoming release of its follow-up, Dark Souls III.
Hidetaka Miyazaki first is asked if there are any remaining items or large secrets to be discovered within Dark Souls, a game in which players are still searching for hints or clues. He, rather straightforwardly, states that no, “there aren’t any undiscovered items, or specific bits of gameplay.” It’s this thought that leads him to the idea of whether Dark Souls as a whole can be considered “completed” by its players.
“… Dark Souls is in some ways an incomplete game, and I like to think that it has been completed by players, by their discoveries, as they moved along. I’d love to say that the nature of this incompleteness was completely deliberate, but it is both deliberate and by accident, in different ways.”
It’s particularly interesting to see Miyazaki so openly discuss Dark Souls as an experience beyond his intent. It’s now rather well known that Dark Souls suffered a surprising amount of cut content, from bosses, weapons and NPCs to dozens of lines of unused dialogue.
Whether or not the content was cut for narrative purposes or development limitations is still unclear, but Miyazaki’s language certainly implies a mix. Yet those gaps left don’t just disappear; players continue to hunt them to this day.
Enter Dark Souls III, for while Dark Souls II is in many ways a continuation of the original game, it’s initial reveal did little to answer or expand on the questions fans are asking. Dark Souls III is the final game of the trilogy and is once again directed by Miyazaki, who directed Bloodborne while his colleagues worked on Dark Souls II. Dark Souls III is now the last opportunity for Miyazaki and From Software to answer those lasting questions from the original game — if they consider them worth answering.
It’s clear from the interview that Miyazaki is acutely aware of fans’ likes and dislikes from the original Dark Souls, and likely also their curiosity over the direction of Dark Souls III. Yet that won’t change how Miyazaki and From Software approach the world-building and storytelling of Dark Souls. Rather, it’s once again a challenge of balance for the team.
“I am conscious of that when I make these games: I try to make a game that has beautiful open spaces, gaps, room for players to enjoy it in ways that were not authored. I never want it to be where you have to follow the rules completely, where you have to do things exactly as the designers intended. I like to think that this way of creating – leaving spaces – is satisfying. So if there are incomplete aspects of Dark Souls III, please forgive us.”
It’s admirable of Miyazaki to so forwardly apologize for the design choices of Dark Souls III, despite being so confident. This is simply how Miyazaki makes games. He recognizes Dark Souls III‘s design can and will be frustrating or confusing to players, that inevitably there will be questions left unanswered, and apologizes for that. He’s empathetic with his players, but in Dark Souls fashion expect no pity. This is just the way things are.
The secrets of the Dark Soul and the First Flame remain enshrouded in fog. Dark Souls III launches on April 12 on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Source: EDGE, via Games Radar