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E3 - Microsoft Elden Ring interview with Hidetaka Miyazaki

EviLore

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Forged from the minds of two of the most influential fantasy world builders today, Elden Ring brings you into a new and fully realized mythos. A collaboration between the creator of the critically-acclaimed Dark Souls series, Hidetaka Miyazaki, and the world-renowned writer George R. R. Martin, author of The New York Times best-selling fantasy series, “A Song of Ice and Fire,” this ambitious title combines their unique talents for creating elaborate characters, stories, and mythologies. To prepare you for the undiscovered world of Elden Ring, we sat down with Miyazaki-san to get some exclusive insights on the experience that awaits you.

Sam Wilkinson, Bandai Namco: First off, please tell me when and how development for Elden Ring took off.

Hidetaka Miyazaki, Game Director:
Development for Elden Ring started just after development for the Dark Souls 3 DLC had ended. At the time, Elden Ring was being planned as a more classic fantasy title compared to others that were either being considered or already in the early stages of development.

We wanted to create a new dark fantasy action RPG full of things that we weren’t able to do in the Dark Souls series.

Wilkinson: Elden Ring seems to have been in development at the same time as Sekiro. How did you go about its development?

Miyazaki
: The overall process of development has been the same as it was in Sekiro.

While assigning co-directors to each project, I took direction over the various game design, art and musical aspects of the titles.

We tend to space out the development-peak for our projects to make use of what little time we have, however being able to share a vision with the co-directors as well as the development staff has allowed us to build a trusting relationship which makes this kind of development style possible. I am incredibly grateful for them and their hard work.

Of course, this project still has a load of work ahead of it as well (laughter).

Wilkinson: What genre do you think Elden Ring will fall under?

Miyazaki
: It is a third-person action RPG.

Unlike Sekiro, which has a heavy focus on action, Elden Ring puts more focus on RPG elements.

Of course, we are not shying away from the fun of responsive melee-based combat, and these elements will be present as well.

Wilkinson: Do you believe this title will turn out to be a very From-like and challenging game?

Miyazaki
: Yes, I do. The importance we place on the joy the player experiences through overcoming challenges will be the same as it is in our other titles. I believe it will prove to be a very satisfying experience.

Earlier I had said that this title focuses more heavily on RPG elements. This title will include a wide variety of weapons, magic, and ways to engage enemies, that make it possible to provide users with a style of gameplay and strategy that suits them.

Even when compared to the Dark Souls series, I believe this title will provide even more variety in the ways for players to overcome challenges and tweak their tactics when facing enemies.

Wilkinson: Will Elden Ring contain character customization elements like in Dark Souls, or will it be similar to Sekiro in that there is a fixed protagonist that the player controls?

Miyazaki
: Yes, it will contain character customization elements.

Similar to the Dark Souls series, Elden Ring allows players to design and control their own unique character. As I said earlier, this title puts a heavy focus on RPG elements, and we thought this approach would best suit that focus.

Wilkinson: Regarding the collaboration with George R. R. Martin, can you further explain how this collaboration came about and in what role it has served throughout the project?

Miyazaki
: I suppose the start of this collaboration came from the fact that I myself am I huge fan of Mr. Martin’s work.

I loved “A Song of Ice and Fire” as well as the “Tuf Voyaging” series, however if I had to pick a favorite I would probably say “Fevre Dream.”

I personally see “Fevre Dream” as a masterpiece among vampire fantasy and had even previously recommended it to all new employees.

Me being such a known fan of Mr. Martin caused our executive business director Eiichi Nakajima to reach out to him with the expectation that we would get turned down.

However, we were then given the rare opportunity to talk one-on-one with Mr. Martin which was an incredibly fun and stimulating experience. It was then that I strongly felt that I wanted to work with Mr. Martin.

I am still unable to put into words how grateful I am to Mr. Martin for agreeing to our offer.

The actual collaboration itself begun with Mr. Martin ever so politely confirming what sorts of themes, ideas as well as many game-related aspects I had envisioned for the game.

This allowed us to have many free and creative conversations regarding the game, in which Mr. Martin later used as a base to write the overarching mythos for the game world itself.

This mythos proved to be full of interesting characters and drama along with a plethora of mystical and mysterious elements as well. It was a wonderful source of stimulus for me and the development staff.

Elden Ring’s world was constructed using this mythos and stimulus as a base. Even I myself find it hard to contain my excitement from time to time. We hope that everyone else is looking forward to the world we have created.

Wilkinson: What are some differences when compared to your previous titles (especiallyDark Souls)?

Miyazaki
: If I were to put aside the world full of fresh stimulus thanks to our collaboration with Mr. Martin, I would have to say the biggest difference is it being open world.

Due to this, the scale of the world and its narrative, as well as the depth and freedom of exploration have increased dramatically. It is without a doubt our biggest title yet in terms of sheer volume.

There are many definitions to the term “open world,” and I might not be phrasing it correctly, but we have simply tried our own approach to a game with a large, open field to play in.

It is a world full of danger and threats, as well as many areas ripe for exploration.

Among those areas, you will also find intricately designed, multi-layered castles and such.

Wilkinson: What is the meaning behind the title?

Miyazaki
: Elden Ring is the name given to a mysterious concept that defines the world itself.

As the trailer at the conference implied, this “Elden Ring” has been shattered. The significance of this will be one of the important themes of the game.

That’s about all I can say at this point in time (laughter)

Wilkinson: Will Elden Ring contain the gritty, intense boss fights we’ve all come to love and expect from From?

Miyazaki
: Yes, of course. Boss fights are something we enjoy making and make up one of the climaxes to this title as well. We feel there is a wide variety of unique and horrifying bosses for players to look forward to.

Wilkinson: What can you teach us about the character shown in the concept art that was released?

Miyazaki:
We chose this character because of his eccentric aspects as well as the way he portrays the darkness that the world and story possess.

While Elden Ring may be a classic dark fantasy title, it is more than just that.

This character also represents one more theme in addition to the previously mentioned eccentricity.

That theme is the will, or ambition of mankind.
 

EviLore

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Miyazaki has great taste. Not that many people explore GRRM's other writing outside of ASOIAF, but Fevre Dream is one of my favorites as well (also A Song for Lya).

This sounds wonderful, and I have no reason to doubt Miyazaki and his team at this point.
 

Belmonte

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Nov 6, 2018
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This project is the best-case scenario for me. There is no "yeah, it is awesome but I wish..." anywhere.

Very happy to know it has even more RPG mechanics than Dark Souls, which has a lot for an action RPG, with lots of stats and numbers. More than many mainstream RPGs.
 
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Danjin44

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There are many definitions to the term “open world,” and I might not be phrasing it correctly, but we have simply tried our own approach to a game with a large, open field to play in.
This makes feel little better about them going open world, Im guessing the way they are going about making open world will be different than other developers which is huge positive for me
 
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Fbh

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Sounds great. Can't wait to see how they apply their awesome level and encounter design to bigger world
 

Northeastmonk

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I’m super excited. I had a Tolkien moment when I saw the Elden Ring get destroyed because I thought of the forging of the rings in LOTR. I love what I’m seeing with the creature looking up at the sky. I won if they’re a boss or something (the big guy being engulfed by flames while the trailer says “look up”). I got goosebumps all throughout the trailer.

I can’t believe we’re getting another FROM game on current hardware. I would love to see it on next gen hardware, but still. Fans don’t have to upgrade just yet? (as much as I’m aware of). Who knows because we have 1 more E3 until next gen arrives. I didn’t see Scarlett anywhere in that trailer.
 
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DeepEnigma

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Dec 3, 2013
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I’m super excited. I had a Tolkien moment when I saw the Elden Ring get destroyed because I thought of the forging of the rings in LOTR. I love what I’m seeing with the creature looking up at the sky. I won if they’re a boss or something (the big guy being engulfed by flames while the trailer says “look up”). I got goosebumps all throughout the trailer.

I can’t believe we’re getting another FROM game on current hardware. I would love to see it on next gen hardware, but still. Fans don’t have to upgrade just yet? (as much as I’m aware of). Who knows because we have 1 more E3 until next gen arrives. I didn’t see Scarlett anywhere in that trailer.
Both next gen consoles will be BC anyway.
 
Well it sounds really good, but I'm a huge From mark so I'm the target audience.
I do like that they're going from a clear action game to more RPG from the sounds of it.
I really enjoyed some of the more in depth story elements from the soulsborne series, with GRRM input to flesh that style out further could be really unique.
Probably game of e3 for me, solely on premise alone
 

MiyazakiHatesKojima

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Miyazaki has great taste. Not that many people explore GRRM's other writing outside of ASOIAF, but Fevre Dream is one of my favorites as well (also A Song for Lya).

This sounds wonderful, and I have no reason to doubt Miyazaki and his team at this point.
I honestly believe that's what got him to earn GRRM's respect to the point where he freaking wrote the overall mythos of the game!

I'm still thinking about some of the things said in this interview for the past few hours. I can't stop imagining how great this game will be. Completely sold :messenger_fire:
 
Dec 3, 2018
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Miyazaki has great taste. Not that many people explore GRRM's other writing outside of ASOIAF, but Fevre Dream is one of my favorites as well (also A Song for Lya).
I used to watch Beauty and the Beast as a kid. When I first saw Ron Perlman without the makeup, I was astounded to discover that it wasn't makeup after all and that's just how he looked.

I also read the first Wild Cards book, but my parents confiscated it when they discovered one of the stories involved a man anally raping a corpse in order to use magic. For some reason, they felt it was inappropriate for a middle schooler.
 
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Ar¢tos

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As long as "open world" doesn't sacrifice area design, I'm all in!
Since development started right after Dks3 dlc, expect bad frame pacing...
 
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TheExorzist

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I could not be more excited to see From’s approach to Open World game design and I’m really curious about the overall scale of the game.

Hoping for something along the line of Witcher 3 or TES with tons of side quests.
 

MagnesG

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It will be better if it doesn't being leaked beforehand.

Good world building, good story, strong combat mechanics. I'm in.
 

blly155

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might give it a shot. depends. not really huge on the setting but i never was into the lovecraftian horror of bloodborne or the japanese setting of Sekiro until i played them.
 

cireza

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This is very promising, but it looks like the game is still far from being released.
 

sublimit

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"Even when compared to the Dark Souls series, I believe this title will provide even more variety in the ways for players to overcome challenges and tweak their tactics when facing enemies. "
I really like the sound of that. I played a bit of Sekiro at a friend's house and that lack of variety especially in boss battles had putt me off from buying the game (yet). I think one of my favourite aspects in Souls and Bloodborne was the ability to experiment with each boss encounter with a vast variety of strategies.
 

Brazen

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In other words, it's gonna be hard.... Look forward to throwing controllers & thumping consoles? :p
This is what excited me the most from the interview tbh. A vast number of action-rpgs are not tightly tuned for challenge or even the need to learn anything beyond mashing x or grind. I have faith From Software will deliver on the polish.
 

ToughestSoul

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I remember FromSoftware calling Dark Souls 1 "Open World", too, so I feel this will be similar to the other Souls games with just more available places to go. I think it won't be open world in the Assassin's Creed etc. sense.
 
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Jan 25, 2018
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This is great, I honestly didn't expect the next King's Field/Demon's Souls/Dark Souls successor to be revealed so soon.

Is there any rumored release date? It's not a next gen title?

Miyazaki has great taste. Not that many people explore GRRM's other writing outside of ASOIAF, but Fevre Dream is one of my favorites as well (also A Song for Lya).

This sounds wonderful, and I have no reason to doubt Miyazaki and his team at this point.
I actually have a copy of Fevre Dream, I need to read it soon.
 

Makariel

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Jan 14, 2018
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On my watch list, I just hope it's not just a dark souls reskin.
This still look like a Dark Souls game to me

Armorer Knight checked

Giant boss fight checked

Blacksmith checked

Maiden Astreia/Women Priest checked
If that's your entire check list for a Souls game I think quite a number of fantasy games qualify. Armoured knights, blacksmiths, women priests and giant bosses are not exactly "unique"?
 

Mista

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Nov 21, 2014
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- Dark fantasy action RPG, 3rd person. Focus on RPG elements.
- Has character customisation elements
- Open world is one of the biggest differences compared to previous titles


Inject this in my veins ASAP. Gameplay reveal is going to be MAD
 

Clear

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Sounds great, hopefully it won't be too far out release-wise. That said I'd be very surprised if its earlier than spring 2021, as I cant see them wanting to put it up against the new systems initial launch line-ups. 2020 looks like a bear-pit too.
 
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MadYarpen

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I could not be more excited to see From’s approach to Open World game design and I’m really curious about the overall scale of the game.

Hoping for something along the line of Witcher 3 or TES with tons of side quests.
Do they have resources for that? I had an impression this a relatively rather small team.
 
Jul 30, 2009
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I only played the first two Souls game, but I'm feeling the hype for this one.

Hopefully Martin finds the time to finish his other commitment.

Either way, can't wait.
 
The 'open world' comment is pretty nebulous. I mean you could argue that most of their games are already open world where you're not really forced down any particular path. Bloodborne was a very well connected world but nothing forced you to do things in any order really once you opened up some of the key connections.
Personally I suspect it will be more along those lines than what people traditionally think of when open world is mentioned
 
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EviLore

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The 'open world' comment is pretty nebulous. I mean you could argue that most of their games are already open world where you're not really forced down any particular path. Bloodborne was a very well connected world but nothing forced you to do things in any order really once you opened up some of the key connections.
Personally I suspect it will be more along those lines than what people traditionally think of when open world is mentioned
Yep.

 

Shifty

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Well, the trailer was cool enough to turn me around on the idea. Looks like good stuff.

Kind of expecting it to be traditional Dark Souls mechanics but with a new style and setting, based on the RPG focus, character creation and so forth.

The 'open world' comment is pretty nebulous. I mean you could argue that most of their games are already open world where you're not really forced down any particular path. Bloodborne was a very well connected world but nothing forced you to do things in any order really once you opened up some of the key connections.
Personally I suspect it will be more along those lines than what people traditionally think of when open world is mentioned
Yeah, that point got me wondering as well. Whatever it ends up being, I have enough faith in Miyazaki to expect something good that doesn't end up being your average open-world box check 'em up.
 
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