Internal development of cult classic Demon’s Souls was going severely wrong before lead designer Hidetaka Miyazaki took control of the project, it has been revealed.
Demon’s Souls wasn’t doing well,” he told The Guardian. The project had problems and the team had been unable to create a compelling prototype.
But when I heard it was a fantasy-action role-playing game, I was excited. I figured if I could find a way to take control of the game, I could turn it into anything I wanted. Best of all, if my ideas failed, nobody would care – it was already a failure.”
Having changed pretty much everything” about the game, the game was slow off the blocks, selling just 20k copies in its first week upon its release in 2009 and missing Sony’s expectations. Momentum built, however, and following the long-awaited Western release its successor Dark Souls outsold its predecessor’s total lifetime sales in its first week when it arrived in 2011.
Miyazaki had an unusual career path in Japan, abandoning a well paid role at an American IT company to move into games development at From Software – taking an 80 per cent pay cut in the process. He joined From in 2004 and in 2014 was made company president. In a country where graduates normally stick with their fist employer for life, this is all the more remarkable.
The developer remains very hands-on with the studio’s titles, adding that he takes inspiration from the unlikeliest of sources.
Now I’m president I get to meet a lot of other company presidents,” he added. They’re such weird people. I’m fascinated by them. I use some of them as enemy characters in our games.”
His most recent title, Bloodborne, was released last week. Miyazaki also served as supervisor on 2014’s Dark Souls II, which is re-released on PS4 and Xbox One in the form of Scholar of the First Sin later this week (and today on PC).