Vindication for Dark Souls 2 defenders as Hidetaka Miyazaki says many of its ideas 'carried the rest of the series'

 Faraam Knight on black background.
Faraam Knight on black background.
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There's a scurrilous belief that Dark Souls 2 is the runt of the Soulsborne litter, and that the fact it wasn't directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki is a black mark against its name—one that led to numerous creative decisions that just don't fit with what Dark Souls should be. Virtuous and correct Dark Souls 2 fans have borne these insults with dignity over the years, and guess what? Sounds like Miyazaki's on our side.

In a chat with IGN, Miyazaki was asked about Dark Souls 2 and specifically about its relationship to Elden Ring, with which it shares a kind of open-ended design approach. Turns out Miyazaki's very proud of the game, and credits it with influencing a lot of the FromSoft projects that came after.

"I actually personally think [Dark Souls 2] was a really great project for us," said Miyazaki, "and I think without it, we wouldn't have had a lot of the connections and a lot of the ideas that went forward and carried the rest of the series." I don't think you can really argue with that. Even Dark Souls 2 haters have to concede you can trace a lot of its DNA in the layout of games like Sekiro and, well, Elden Ring. It's not without reason that—as a stalwart Dark Souls 2 defender—Sekiro is probably my favourite FromSoft game of the lot.

Miyazaki also reckons that experimenting with directors that weren't him was a success. While Dark Souls 2 leads Tomohiro Shibuya and Yui Tanimura caught some flak for their approach to the game, Miyazaki reckons that putting a Soulsborne game in hands other than his meant "We were able to have that different impetus and have those different ideas… that we otherwise might not have had," and says there's "a high possibility that we would delegate the responsibility of director to those other Souls-ish games going forward."

It's not too surprising that Miyazaki regards Dark Souls 2 warmly. Although he didn't serve as director, he did participate in the game's development in a supervisory role. For as much as criticism of the game often centres around Miyazaki's absence as director, it would be kind of odd for him to come out and trash a game he directly oversaw.

Sounds like he won't be supervising much in future, though. While he likes the direction Shibuya and Tanimura took Dark Souls 2 in, it sounds like Miyazaki didn't really enjoy playing supervisor. "I'd like to step away from that supervisory role and give [new directors] full direction and full control." He even calls his supervisory role on Dark Souls 2 "one little area of regret," noting that he prefers "a lot of projects where I am director, so I think a supervisor role for me is just something I'm not used to and just is maybe not quite a good fit."