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Dark Souls Creator Miyazaki Shares His Favorite Bosses From The Series

by Tim Turi on Sep 23, 2015 at 09:00 AM

From Software's Hidetaka Miyazaki is responsible for some of video games' most challenging and rewarding boss encounters. The Souls series creator and studio president has shown his creative genius in everything from the gargantuan Asylum Demon in Dark Souls to intense showdowns with Bloodborne's Lovecraftian nightmares. With so many brutal bosses on display throughout Miyazaki's games, we asked the creator himself which ones are his favorites.

Note: Miyazaki's answers don't include the upcoming Dark Souls III (read our cover reveal here), since it's not out until next year.

When asked about his favorite bosses from Dark Souls, Miyazaki starts off by broadening things out to his first game with From Software. "If we include Demon's Souls, I think the Old Monk", Miyazaki says. Players encounter the Old Monk while exploring the Maneater Archstone stage with its winding staircases and open area. The skeletal Monk sits atop an elaborate throne, seemingly only clinging to life in order to transfer his latent abilities into a rival invading player. During this fight, online players face off against a another player who controls the Old Monk in a PvP fight (if nobody is online you'll face off against an A.I. NPC). The Old Monk is a bizarre creature - a humanoid frame who wears the previous Monk's magical robes like an upside-down bell on his head. Surrounded by dozens of brittle chairs, the aggressive Monk uses fast rolls and energy blasts to forces players to test their close-combat skills.

As for the proper Dark Souls series, Miyazaki points to one of the most unsettling creatures from the first game. "From a visual design perspective, the Gaping Dragon [is my favorite Dark Souls boss]," Miyazaki says. The Gaping Dragon appears in the slimy, Hollow-addled Depths. The creature first peeks its small, reptilian head out from a chasm before slowly crawling over the ledge to reveal the entirety of its disgusting bulk. A huge, open ribcage runs vertically down the length of the Gaping Dragon's torso, lined with sharp, teeth-like ribs. One false move and the Gaping Dragon envelopes and consumes the player without ever opening its mouth. "During the concept design phase, we had tried several designs, but that was the one that was able to surpass my imagination and visualization of the concept," Miyazaki says.

Miyazaki has another favorite from Dark Souls, however, based more on gameplay over the aesthetics. "From a game design perspective, Ornstein and Smough [are my favorites], mainly because I had the most trouble conquering [them]", Miyazaki says. Players encounter Dragon Slayer Ornstein and Executioner Smough working as a boss duo while exploring the majestic Anor Londo. This punishing showdown is considered by many Dark Souls fans to be one of the most difficult battles in the Souls series. This fight shoves two core tenets of the archetypal Dark Souls boss fight right in players' faces: The big, slow, strong boss and the speedy boss with quick attacks that cover a ton of ground. The fight doesn't exactly get easier when you kill Ornstein or Smough, either, as whoever is left standing will grow stronger with renewed vigor. "Being not very good at playing action games, the [battle] strategies and logic sometimes is not as effective when up against bosses that are both fast and nimble," Miyazaki says, suggesting that Ornstein and Smough require a significant amount of player skill to conquer.

As for Dark Souls III, we'll have to wait until April 2016 to see how devious Miyazaki is getting with his most recent boss creations. In the meantime, you can read all about the first boss revealed for Dark Souls III, the deadly and beautiful Dancer of the Frigid Valley. You can also watch us fight our way through Dark Souls' formidable bosses in our ongoing full playthrough of the game.

Keep visiting the site throughout the month, as we’ll be rolling out several interesting Dark Souls features, including more insight into the mind of Miyazaki, a special Let’s Play of the original game, and more. Click on the banner below to visit our Dark Souls III hub and follow our coverage.