Dark Souls director Hidetaka Miyazaki: 'The world is generally a wasteland'

Hidetaka Miyazaki makes pretty dark games. His best-known work is literally called Dark Souls, and his next big thing, Elden Ring, sounds like it's not going to be any more upbeat. Have you ever wondered why? 

"Personally, a world that is happy and bright is something that just doesn’t feel realistic to me," Miyazaki said in an interview with IGN. "It may sound like I have a trauma or something, but I believe that the world is generally a wasteland that is not kind to us. That’s just the way I see it." 

It does sound grim, yes, but that doom-and-gloom outlook has some artistic benefits too. "Light looks more beautiful in darkness," he said. "When there is something beautiful in the middle of a wasteland, we are able to appreciate it more. One jewel doesn’t look like much when you have a pile of them, but if you find one jewel in the midst of mud, it is worth so much more." 

Miyazaki also offered a little more insight into George R.R. Martin's role in the development of Elden Ring. Martin wrote the "overarching mythos" on which Elden Ring's game world is based, but not the story of the game itself, because Miyazaki didn't want to place any restrictions on the author's creative freedom. 

"Storytelling in videogames—at least the way we do it at FromSoftware—comes with a lot of restrictions for the writer. I didn’t think it was a good idea to have Martin write within those restrictions," he explained.   

"By having him write about a time the player isn’t directly involved in, he is free to unleash his creativity in the way he likes. Furthermore, as FromSoftware we didn’t want to create a more linear and story driven experience for Elden Ring. Both issues could be solved by having Martin write about the world’s history instead." 

As that implies, players "will be able to learn about Martin’s mythology through exploration," but Elden Ring won't actually be a narrative-heavy story. "There is no fixed main character in Elden Ring," Miyazaki said. "We mostly leave it up to the player to decide the characteristics and personality of the character they create." 

Elden Ring doesn't have a release date yet, but here's everything else we know about it

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.