Though I went into Demon’s Souls slightly terrified by the stories I’d heard of its intense difficulty, I ended up loving it (just read my review to see how much). Impressed by how the game came together but a bit confused as to why I enjoyed it so much in spite (or perhaps because of) the challenge, I decided to get a behind-the-scenes perspective from the game’s creators.

Demon’s Souls director Hidetaka Miyazaki turned out to be just the man to answer my questions about why they made the game so hard, how it's connected to King’s Field series, and even some tips on how to pass the most difficult levels. Check out the full interview below.

Game Informer: Demon's Souls has received a lot of hype for being one of the hardest games released this generation. I don't necessarily think that's the most notable aspect of the game, but it's what a lot of people seem to be talking about. When you started developing the game, did you set out to create something that focused on difficulty?

Hidetaka Miyazaki: Having the game be "difficult" was never the goal. What we set out to do was strictly to provide a sense of accomplishment. We understood that “difficulty” is just one way to offer an intense sense of accomplishment through forming strategies, overcoming obstacles, and discovering new things. Our goal of a sense of accomplishment was the basis of the game since the early stages of development, and we never strayed from that.

GI: What was the reasoning behind allowing players to lose souls if they die twice before reaching their blood stain? Personally, I never got hung up on this part of the game, but it seems to be the thing that pops up over and over again on forums. Everybody shares that same experience of frustration the first time they lose a large chunk of souls. If there's anything that would really scare people about the game, I think that might be it.

HM: The nature of the blood stain as you’ve described it was discussed a number of times during development. We do understand the frustration that players have experienced, but the main reason we settled on this system is that if the Souls could be recovered anytime, there would be no suspense or sense of accomplishment. [We want players to feel] like, “I can’t die until I get all those souls back,” or “I did it! I made it to my bloodstain!”

This ties back into my previous answer, but the element of failure, the fact that you can lose lots of souls when you die, was necessary to give players that sense of accomplishment.

GI: The rumor that I keep hearing is that Demon's Souls began as a next-gen King's Field project. Is this true? If so, how far along into development did you decide that Demon's Souls was its own thing and deserved a new title? Will you ever revisit the King's Field series?

HM: Demon’s Souls was not developed as a sequel to King’s Field. King’s Field definitely influenced the ideas behind Demon’s Souls, but we envisioned this as a completely original title, separate from King’s Field. As for a sequel to King’s Field, I’m sorry, but I can’t really give a clear answer whether there will be one in the future.

GI: What really impressed me about Demon's Souls was the brilliant level design. Every location felt very real and very alive...or very dead, rather. What was the process for coming up with each "world," and how long did it take to develop each one into separate zones and finally into something playable?

HM: Counting from the earliest stage of development, materializing the visions I had in my mind for each world, it took a little over two years to create. After I had firm visions of the settings inside my head, I’d say it took about a year to go from the detailed artwork and level design work to the final product.

GI: Not including the Nexus, there are a total of five worlds in the game. How many "leftover" or abandoned world ideas did you have at the end?

HM: I had a lot of ideas during the early design stage. The world ideas that came the closest to making it into the final product were the Library stage and the Outside area around the Nexus.

GI: There's a lot of variety in the bosses, with some battles like Old Hero or Flamelurker requiring serious, intense combat skills, while others like Dragon God are more like big puzzles that you need to figure out. How did you decide the balance for that?

HM: When designing the bosses, I made sure that they would be varied and exciting. I prepared different gameplay and strategies for each one so that players didn’t get tired of the same fight every time. We wanted to surprise players and encourage them to figure out different tactics, to think on their feet.

Each boss has a concept that can be described very simply. The Maneater, for instance, can be summed up by saying “there’s another enemy.”