Elden Ring guide (opens in new tab): Conquer the Lands Between
Elden Ring bosses (opens in new tab): How to beat them
Elden Ring dungeons (opens in new tab): How to defeat them
Elden Ring paintings (opens in new tab): Solutions and locations
Elden Ring map fragments (opens in new tab): Reveal the world
Hidetaka Miyazaki, creator of the Souls series and Elden Ring, gave an interview to The New Yorker (opens in new tab) covering his inspirations, artistic goals, and some ruminations on his meteoric rise through the games industry in the past decade.
Miyazaki was candid about his own mechanical skill with games, expressing "I've never been a very skilled player, I die a lot." He went on to explain, "If death is to be more than a mark of failure, how do I give it meaning? How do I make death enjoyable?"
Miyazaki was adamant in the interview that his games' difficulty is a core part of their nature, but he wasn't dismissive of the criticisms of players turned off by their design, offering that he does "feel apologetic toward anyone who feels there's just too much to overcome" in his games, but that he just wants "as many players as possible to experience the joy that comes from overcoming hardship."
I was fascinated by the feature's exploration of Miyazaki's personal story. He grew up under difficult circumstances and took a well-paying but unfulfilling job out of college to help support his family. After making a late-career shift to the games industry inspired by Fumito Ueda's Ico, Miyazaki was put in charge of a failing project and given license to take risks with it. That project wound up being 2009's Demon's Souls, which established most of the series' defining characteristics.
Touching on FromSoftware's latest release and its potential to be a more approachable experience, Miyazaki claimed the team wanted "for people to feel like victory is an attainable feat." That being said, FromSoft's president also clarified that "in our games specifically, hardship is what gives meaning to the experience. So it's not something we're willing to abandon at the moment. It's our identity."
One final point of interest was Miyazaki going into greater detail about his working relationship with George R. R. Martin. The nature of Martin's contributions making up the background lore and framework for the setting have been public knowledge for some time, but the feature revealed that Miyazaki has long been a fan of Martin's fiction—well before the breakaway success of Game of Thrones—and that the two artists even developed a personal friendship out of the collaboration. Sometimes it really does pay to meet your heroes.