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Video Version of this Article
Photo: Hidetaka Miyazaki
Directors are an essential and magical aspect when it comes to creating any kind of art; whether that be a film or a TV series. Ultimately, their talents piece together important elements that overall create the project to be the best that it can be–and showcase the best version of the project itself as well. Funny enough, there are various and different types of directors out there–a plethora of leadership roles that thread along aspects of that specific media on a flowing string. More specifically (concerning the core foundation of this article) video game directors come to mind as one of these varying types of directors.
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Now, before we get into the whole wonderful (and digital-centric) topic of this article, I want to mention that hard work on video games stems from more than just the director. As the saying goes, “it takes a village” to develop a video game; different departments all try to come together to form one big incredible digitalized story. But, it is worth noting to recognize that the ultimate creative mind and focus behind a video game project all comes down to the determined director. Their hard work, and sleepless nights, become the baseline for making video games completely come to life.
Finally, let’s move on to the main topic of this article, and onto someone who I utterly admire in so many possible ways: Hidetaka Miyazaki.
Hidetaka Miyazaki’s Twists And Turns
Hidetaka Miyazaki, born circa 1974-1975, is a man of truly many talents. Being a Japanese creative director, screenwriter, designer, and executive for the well-loved video game company FromSoftware, Miyazaki certainly has a lot of skills and credentials to his name. Work-wise, he is mainly known for his creative visions and directive work on the fantastical video game series ‘Dark Souls’; along with other notable games like ‘Bloodborne’, ‘Sekiro’, and (most recently) ‘Elden Ring’. Named for being one of the most influential figures in the video game community, Miyazaki is regarded as somewhat of a video game auteur and keeps the fans of his games always wanting to come back for more.
Interestingly enough, however, being a video game director isn’t what Miyazaki had originally set out to do for himself. It goes without saying that from what we already know about Miyazaki, he seems more than fascinated, and skilled, in the world of sci-fi and fantasy–and, ever since he was younger, he’s always admired these genres as well.
He would read English fantasy and science fiction literature at his local library in his hometown of Shizuoka, Japan as a child; engrossing himself in these stories that would later have a huge impact on how he would tell his stories in his video games. As a child, Miyazaki had no ambitions, going to school for social sciences at Keio University; and later getting a job as an account manager. It wouldn’t be until later down the line, around age 29, that he would find his passion in video game design after playing the 2001 video game ‘Ico’–diving him headfirst into the desire for a brand new career change.
Miyazaki struggled in the beginning to find a video game company that would employ him at his age without any prior video game designing experience. But, luckily, FromSoftware would be one of those few to bring him onto the team.
Miyazaki’s Start Of Something New
At the beginning of Miyazaki’s employment, FromSoftware had started him off as a planner on the 2004 video game ‘Armored Core: Last Raven’; and it would be on a fateful day when FromSoftware would allow Miyazaki to put in ideas towards (what FromSoftware assumed to be a failure) the video game ‘Demon’s Souls’ due to his extreme fascination of fantasy. Despite the game not doing well at launch, it wouldn’t be until ‘Demon’s Souls’ began distributing outside of Japan that sales would pick right up. Two years after that would lead to ultimately Miyazaki’s most successful project out of everything: ‘Dark Souls’. It is this wide-renowned success that would rightfully promote Miyazaki to become FromSoftware’s president; a feat that many found to be unprecedented to happen to a person within just 10 years.
If you’ve ever played a FromSoftware game directed by Miyazaki, you’ll notice that there’s always a sense of a philosophical meaning behind the main point of the game. This is likely due to Miyazaki’s inspirations that pour themselves into the work that he creates; from other video games that have inspired him such as ‘The Legend of Zelda’ and ‘Ico’, to books like ‘Berserk’ and H.P. Lovecraft’s literature, Miyazaki’s creative process in how he designs stems from these influential media works–allowing the sense of the human condition and fantasy to collide into a beautiful uniting force.
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On top of this, another aspect that you may notice from playing Miyazaki’s games is ultimately how difficult they are to play; ‘Elden Ring’ being the one majority of fans now are declaring as being the hardest out of all the previous games. Personally, as a huge fan of these games, I do have to admit that the difficulty has both enticed me and dared me to cry on my floor in anger as I died to a boss for the eighth time. However, it’s important to remember that there is meaning in this difficulty; where Miyazaki wants players to feel accomplished and overcome odds as they tread towards finishing the game. As someone who has beaten two of these games so far, I certainly say that the sense of accomplishment feels more than satisfactory at the end of the day.
Miyazaki’s Right To Bask In The Sunlight
From everything I’ve discussed above to now where I highly encourage all of you fantastic readers out there to go out and experience one of these FromSoftware games for yourself, I do hope you all have learned about someone fantastic within the video game community. Miyazaki cares about his fans, and he ultimately cares about the work he’s created on top of everything. Starting as someone who had no ambitions as a child to now being one of the most recognized and admired figures in media is incredible to see; curiosity truly kills the cat when it comes to wondering what will come next from his philosophically and creative mind.
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In the end, Miyazaki is an auteur of video games, and it’s from these games that have their unique levels of difficulty that we dare to go back and replay these stories that cement his attribute of being an auteur–he has a style and memorable creative process that keeps us coming back for more. Now, go out there and pick your poison in this community; whether your love the victorian era with ‘Bloodborne’ or George R.R. Martin’s storytelling influence in ‘Elden Ring’, there is so much to explore. Nevertheless, as Miyazaki subtly emphasizes in ‘Dark Souls’: don’t you dare go hollow.
By Leah Donato
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