The 4th April 2019 issue of Famitsu includes an interview with From Software’s Miyazaki Hidetaka regarding Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, in which he discusses his vision for the game, and how it was conceived.
— ファミ通.com (@famitsu) 2019年3月19日
The interviewer comments on the battle system of reducing targets’ posture so as to get ninja assassinations, and how this succeeds in easy-to-understand and more active combat, and Miyazaki says that this was the result of Sekiro aiming for more ninja-like combat, one of the initial core concepts of the game. He says that there are multiple ways to reduce enemy posture, such as with prosethetic tools, and that adapting to fit different enemies and situations should bring players the fun of planning things out.
How observing enemies before engaging them is important is brought up, and Miyazaki says that the game allows players to approach situations in multiple ways, such as by using the grappling hook to get a good position, or with stealth, and that they purposely made situations where the player can go about this naturally. He says that their idea of ninja combat is facing the enemy with anything and everything- From the environment, to your own tools- At your disposal. He says that as Sekiro is different from Dark Souls, players may first find it to be difficult, but as they learn new ways of fighting and new tactics and get better, they should feel the pleasure of getting better, which is part of their usual unchanging theme of gaining catharsis through overcoming hardship, and thinks this would be similar to experiences that people had with Demon’s Souls.
Open spaces and verticality are mentioned, and Miyazaki says that they purposely put more open spaces in the game, with enclosed areas used only to a limited extent, saying that verticality and and dynamic action are important core concepts to Sekiro. While making maps with verticality in Dark Souls would have required the use of stairs, ladders or elevators, there was no need for that in Sekiro, and Miyazaki says that making the maps for the game was refreshing, and allowed for them to make desired situations freely. The interviewer points out that a lot of time in the game is spent on roofs, and Miyazaki jokes that he always liked roofs, even in Dark Souls, and says that using roofs matches the ninja theme of making paths where there are none, and goes well with the grappling hook. He says that getting the grappling hook right, such as the displaying of grappling points, took a lot of time, and that many aspects, like freedom of movement, dynamic battles, and making new discoveries rely heavily on the grappling hook.
The resurrection feature is discussed next, and Miyazaki says that it was a system added because having too many ninja-like near-death battles also resulted in a lot of deaths, which would ruin the tempo of the game. He thinks that it worked out well, giving the gameplay a unique feel. He also addresses the removal of falls leading to instant death, saying that the game’s nature of having the player be a ninja using a grappling hook meant far more chances at falling than in Dark Souls, and the removal of instant death from falls and adding features to prevent falling from cliffs was done to remove unnecessary stress and loss of tempo.
The interviewer says that boss battles are especially difficult, and to this Miyazaki says that this should result in great feelings of accomplishment when players manage to defeat them, saying that when they were playtesting the game, people would yell out in glee when defeating a boss.
Next, it is pointed out that many players were thinking of the game as a Japanese-style Dark Souls, but it turned out to be something different from Souls and Bloodborne, and Miyazaki says that he would be glad if people feel that: He says that while they are using knowhow gleaned from Dark Souls, they hoped to make a game that is new and filled with the fun of getting better for players.
Miyazaki is asked what he thinks defines From Software, and he calls this a difficult question, and says that it might be that they make games with things that they think are fun or have value, or are beautiful or cool, at the root; He says that in most cases, this results in something that is not conventional, and this is what makes the “colour” of From Software. He says that they do not rely on looking at markets or trying to differentiate themselves from others when making games, and that they are fortunate that things are going well for them, giving his thanks to the players.
Whether things like the direction the company is going in, or development process have changed since Miyazaki became CEO of From Software in 2014 is asked, and he says that the only change is that they are spending a bit more time on each game, which he says is due to the stance that they should spend the necessary amount of time needed to make a game good. He says that he thinks of himself as a game director first and foremost, and prefers to keep the company simple, and thinks that this boils down to “things will go well if you make good games”.
Finally, the interviewer asks what From Software aims to be in 5 and 10 years from now. Miyazaki reiterates that he wants them to be a company that goes well due to them making good games. He says that keeping things simple like this is important for both the company and its employees, and hopes to keep it simple so that they can focus on and pour their passion into making games, and he believes that good working conditions, diverse projects, and attempts at new things would be necessary as well. He also wants them to be a game company that makes players excited, such as when a new game is announced, or when thinking of the next game.
- Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice – Interview with Director Miyazaki (June 2018)
- Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice – From Software and Activision Interview (October 2018)
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice was released for the Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC on March 22, 2019