Elden Ring: How did its creator go from accountant to developer of legendary games?

Game news Elden Ring: How did its creator go from accountant to developer of legendary games?

Before Elden Ring, before Dark Souls and Demon’s Souls, Hidetaka Miyazaki was an accountant. Again on an extraordinary journey.

He is the man behind Demon’s Souls, Bloodborne, Dark Souls, Elden Ring, behemoths of high standards and gothic art. Before Hidetaka Miyazaki inherited the title of creative genius, his daily life was much more ordinary. How did a computer company accountant become one of the most influential figures in the video game industry?

From Oracle to Ico

Born in 1974 into a poor family, young Hidetaka Miyazaki spent his childhood in the humble neighborhoods of Shizuoka, a few hundred kilometers south of Tokyo, on the island of Honshu. In his free time, he absorbs English-language novels from the local library. Since he lacks language, he forces himself to imagine the plots of books from their illustrations (Guardian, 2015). Unconsciously, he gently cultivates his creative fibers. Fantasy and science fiction are his favorite genres, which he can only experience through reading.. Video games are forbidden to him by his parents until he goes to college. So he enjoys his first interactive experience with these books in which you are the hero, as well as several paper role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. And although he gives himself up to his imaginary worlds, at the same time, he almost mechanically enters Keio University to begin a course in social sciences. “Unlike most children in Japan, I didn’t have dreams. I wasn’t ambitious“, he says in columns The keeper. At the time, Miyazaki did not envision himself as a storyteller and later chose to join the ranks of Oracle Corporation, an American computer company. The accountant position he holds there allows him to fund his younger sister’s studies.

Icon, 2002

And now that he had his diploma in his pocket, Miyazaki was able to experiment with his first video games. In 2001, one of them turns out to be a real revelation. At the insistence of former classmates, he inserts Ico into his PlayStation 2. The adventure was conceived by Fumito Ueda, a self-taught artist with the help of several artists completely unrelated to the world of video games. The work tells about the hardships of Iko, who was expelled from his tribe because of the horns he wears on his skull. The offspring cross paths with Yorda, a young prisoner in a suspended cage. And between them, a silent friendship begins, which grows stronger as the trials are to be met under the threat of shadows. Ueda initiates the design subtraction formula in this game: from the concept, he imagines the game mechanics, ending with the scenario. The rest, also superfluous, we remove. Miyazaki is fascinated. Ico really serves as a trigger. Maybe this was the story he needed to finally get his dream. And as he approaches his thirtieth year, he quits his job as an accountant, not regretting the much lower salary at FromSoftware.

It was an (Ico) experience and also a beautiful and untold story that I would never have imagined and I’m sorry my friend but I was touched and speechless. And then I left the company I worked for at the time and started working at FromSoftware – Hidetaka Miyazaki at VGC.


If my ideas failed, no one would care

FromSoftware is still an obscure Tokyo studio when it hires Hidetaka Miyazaki as a coder. Before signing, he received several rejections from other companies. Ema Kodaka, who edits her scripts, recalls this arrival with great respect a few years later: “In Japan, even today, people usually join a company after graduation and stay there for life. (…) It’s a source of inspiration“(The keeper). After being assigned a number of tasks in the Armored Core series over the course of several years, a newcomer is assigned a project that is in trouble. It’s time for Miyazaki to really shine; but in his hands is a sinking ship. The project is called Demon’s Souls. “If my ideas fail, nobody cares. It’s already been a failure.“, – he shares with a journalist from the New Yorker. With the exception of its monsters and its menacing castles, the prototype lacks a solid argument. Miyazaki rolls up his sleeves, rewrites the entire game and establishes its main pillar: death.. Upon death, the player returns to the beginning of the level weakened and without resources in the face of a still hostile world. Risk. The title was released in 2009 with some indifference. It is said that many viewers of the Tokyo Game Show did not even have time to get past the character creation screen during the ten-minute demo. The President of Sony Entertainment will spend on the game barely two hours, not having time to go beyond the introduction. “This game is incredibly bad“, he cursed. Only 20,000 copies are sold per week after launch.

The accuracy and severity of the game’s combat was not up to the mark; Miyazaki remembers how the players shrugged their shoulders and left. The cover featured an Arthurian knight leaning against a wall – an image that suggested struggle and defeat rather than heroism – and the game’s narrative was constructed from vague clues: descriptions of objects found, a monologue from a dying New Yorker enemy.

And yet the architecture and design of the game awakens a progressive interest in people’s minds. The technique is not perfect, but the tense confrontations are amazing. In addition, players have the option to engrave messages of support on the ground against their comrades. Gradually, we understand that Demon’s Souls is a test of courage. “As you know, from disappointment, desire is born, and then pleasure.“, – we wrote when writing our test a year after the release of the game. In a few weeks, the title finds several hundred thousand applicants. And in 2011, almost two and a half million copies of Dark Souls, a spiritual sequel of sorts, were sold. Finally, Miyazaki hit hard. At FromSoftware, respect is essential. And three years later, the man was appointed president of the company.

Now that I’m president, he says, I’m meeting with many other corporate presidents. They are such strange people. They enchant me. I use some of them as enemy characters in our games.


Identification FromSoftware

Elden Ring: How did its creator go from accountant to developer of legendary games?

Hidetaka Miyazaki receives Lifetime Achievement Award (Golden Joystick Awards 2018 via Gamesradar)

The principles of Dungeons and Dragons, Steve Jackson’s Witchcraft Literary Series, Iko… all the important lessons from Hidetaka Miyazaki’s life can be seen in his work today. If he lacked ambition as a child, the creator nonetheless amassed enough fairy tale stories from the Shizuoka library to shape his medieval universes. Bloodborne, released in 2015, will witness her love for ever more terrifying worlds. The name is also proof that the man is not afraid to start new projects. Most of his creations are also a celebration of the work of Kentaro Miura and his Berzerk manga. Like Guts battling God’s Hands, FromSoftware’s heroes navigate colossal dangers in similar ways. And if we can finally believe that Miyazaki’s life experiences have inspired the turbulent paths of the Underworld and Lothric, the person concerned abandons this idea: “I would not say that my life story, in general terms, has influenced the way I make games. A more accurate way of looking at things is problem solving. We all face challenges in our daily lives. It’s always nice to find answers. But in life, you know, few things give us these feelings easily.“(The New Yorker).

You might also like: Elden Ring, Dark Souls: Berserk and Kentaro Miura manga heirs?

Elden Ring: How did its creator go from accountant to developer of legendary games?

I apologize to anyone who thinks that my games have too much to overcome. I just want as many players as possible who can feel the joy of overcoming difficulties.(New Yorker) 2021.

Complexity, “this is our identity” Miyazaki says. When the Dark Souls chapter closes in 2016, it remains in Sekiro, FromSoftware with a deeply Japanese aesthetic. And, with the exception of a more narrative essay on PSVR dubbed Déraciné, she’s still the essence of the studio. But there is no need to talk about the standard. “We don’t really feel like our games are setting the standard. I’m not worried about other people making similar games, it just shows that the players wanted games that were challenging.“. From his first steps in the industry to his ascent to the presidency, Miyazaki never stopped being humble. Before the release of each of his jewels, he worries. During public exchanges, he is modest. Alex Donaldson, journalist for vg247, describes a man who accepts compliments with a shy smile, grabbing thanks. Three days before the release of Elden Ring, he confesses to the columns of Le Monde: “I doubt my creations are credited with such an impact on the industry.”. A few weeks later, 12 million players were already roaming the Dunes of the Underworld.. The universe is partly imagined by George R.R. Martin, a writer whom he loved as a child when he read iron thronefrom Voyage de Haviland Tufa and from Feverish dream. The young bookworm is working today along with his heroes of yesteryear.

A source: New Yorker, The keeper, GV 247Ducky (Youtube)

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