Elden Ring (opens in new tab) has been a wild success for FromSoftware and publisher Bandai Namco, and Xbox Japan (opens in new tab) recently spoke to Hidetaka Miyazaki. Miyazaki's one of those figures where you have to be careful about ascribing too much to him—these games are, after all, made by hundreds of people—while at the same time acknowledging that, as a game director, the titles he works on have distinct and singular characteristics.
He makes this point early on while answering the Xbox questions, saying that because Elden Ring is so much bigger than previous projects "the part left to the staff other than me has become larger."
One of the questions is which boss is Miyazaki's personal favourite. His answers below are machine-translated and edited for clarity.
"I'm slightly confused by the question, but it's Radahn. He's attractive as an individual character, and I like the scenario of the Radahn Festival."
If you haven't played Elden Ring, or indeed found Radahn, his appearance is triggered by a 'festival' of combat, which changes the Redmane Castle location and fills it with interactable NPCs.
"I wonder if there is a feeling of loneliness that is unique to us," continues Miyazaki. "Alongside a literally festive and uplifting feeling. I miss when I first talked about the idea of a 'Radhan Festival' and no-one on the team took it seriously!"
There are a couple of consolation prizes, too: "The runner-ups are Godrick and Rykard."
Miyazaki goes on to mention a few of the titles that inspired the game. "As a user, I played many open-world games called 'masterpieces', and was inspired by each of them. There's no time to name them all, but certainly The Elder Scrolls series and The Witcher 3. In recent years especially, I think The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild should be mentioned."
Amusingly enough the interview ends with some grousing about those horrible hands that grab you at certain points in the game—which always seemed to me inspired by an enemy type in another Zelda game, A Link to the Past.
"What can I say," says Miyazaki. "I'm very sorry." He is not sorry.
"In fact, Ubimushi is one of my favorite designs. Feeling like you can't look at it is rather bad... Isn't it possible to overcome it by looking firmly and defeating it?"
Miyazaki ends by saying that, while FromSoft is gratified by Elden Ring's success, it won't lead to any change in their attitude towards game development. "We've always made games that we believe are interesting, and we'll continue to do so in the future [...] this is the best way to convey our joy and gratitude to our users."