Dark Souls Creator Hidetaka Miyazaki’s Favorite Zones
From Software president Hidetaka Miyazaki assures us that there will probably be a fresh poison-filled stress-hell similar to Valley of Defilement, Blighttown, and the Gutter/Black Gulch in Dark Souls III, but outside of creating torturous nightmare areas, what areas in the Souls games are his favorites? Miyazaki gravitates toward Demon’s Souls to find some of his favorite zones.
The first area probably won’t be a shocker to many Souls fans, as it’s certainly one of my favorite zones from the From Software catalog – The Tower of Latria’s first map (Demon’s Souls). The twisting and disturbing prison filled with mind flayers and other terrors is a fan favorite, and its creator was particularly hands-on during its genesis. Miyazaki conceptualizes the vast majority of all the zones players encounter in the franchise and its offshoots (Bloodborne), but for this particular stage Miyazaki took a more hands-on approach.
“Usually I convey the concepts and ideas to my staff, and have them create the actual models and structure,” says Miyazaki “But Latria was one that I wanted to create myself and was one that I actually created the rough 3D models for.”
Miyazaki is also fond of the third map in Boletarian Palace (Demon’s Souls). “This was the very first venue we created when developing Demon’s souls. This was the venue used for the prototype, and the multi-play elements worked out fairly well, and so is one that I remember very well.” If it's not obvious by now, Miyazaki seems to have a thing for dragons.
Getting back to Dark Souls, Miyazaki’s favorite area mirrors my own – the mysterious Painted World of Ariamis. The snow-filled optional area filled with skeleton wheels, undead dragons, and the ever-enigmatic Crossbreed Priscilla captures what Miyazaki sought to create when conceiving the zone.
“This is one where the concept and design all fit well for me," he says. "The world to trap players in, the solemnness of the snow and atmosphere of the world all work well.”
Undead Parish is also one of Miyazaki’s favorite areas in Dark Souls. “This is one that has a lot of my ideal multi-dimensional venue visions. This one I remember very well because there were a lot of structural elements that I wanted to implement but due to technical reasons, had to modify instead of creating everything as one giant seamless world like I originally intended. “
Miyazaki shares an interesting comment regarding Anor Londo. While many players have their breath taken away the first time the gargoyles land them in this area and they take in the grandiose sight of this amazing level, Miyazaki doesn’t feel that first moment resonates throughout the zone.
“I like when you first enter Anor Londo, but unfortunately the impact and excitement felt when you first enter Anor Londo didn’t last through the whole gameplay experience, so this is more of a regret in the design.”
Since I had the opportunity, I had to ask what Miyazaki’s least favorite zone from the franchise is as well. The answer should come as no surprise to fans of the series – it’s the lava/dinosaur nightmare known as Lost Izalith in Dark Souls. Miyazaki comments “Don’t want to elaborate on this very much. There was a different person assigned to this area, and although I was involved, I don’t want to pose very many negative comments for his sake. It can be a learning experience for all of us.”
What's your favorite zone from the Souls series? (Sure, Bloodborne counts!)