Favorite Games and Hobbies of Hidetaka Miyazaki
In various interviews, Hidetaka Miyazaki shared his favorite games and hobbies. They serve as a source of inspiration for him and have greatly influenced the games he has created, from his very first, Demon's Souls, and up to the latest, Elden Ring.
Discover below how Miyazaki spends his spare time and explore his abundant spring of inspiration.
How Miyazaki Spends His Free Time
Miyazaki is a very busy person, spending his time mostly between being a game director and a company president. However, if and when he gets the chance to relax, he spends it in voracious consumption of various media - whether in films, novels, manga, board games, or video games. And he occasionally cooks too, with Curry Rice being his favorite.
Miyazaki: I don't have much free time when I'm not working, but when I do, I consume all kinds of content of various forms. It could be a film, a game, or a book. In particular, I really like tabletop games.
I'm an omnivore when it comes to sources. I'm mostly an indoor person, so I spend my free time playing games, reading books, or cooking.
I play all varieties of video games. My favorites are open-world RPGs and simulation games. I'm not very good at RTSs, but Civilization is one of my favorites.
Miyazaki's Number One Hobby
Though Miyazaki is a voracious consumer of media, there is one passion for him that trumps all his other hobbies. And that is Game Design. He is a very good example of what is called "Doing What You Love."
Miyazaki: I only have a few opportunities to take a day off, but aside from being president of FromSoftware, game design is actually my personal hobby. So if the company asks me to work on game design, I can definitely work on it forever.
Knowll Insight: In an interview, Miyazaki was asked what is the most difficult moment he faced during game development. And not surprisingly, he could not give a specific answer. That is because of his love for what he is doing. Game design is actually what gives him the most happiness, more than any of his other hobbies.
Miyazaki: I think I didn't go through too many tough moments in my projects, mainly because even when I'm overwhelmed with work and busy all the time, I enjoy making games.
It's the moment I'm happiest, in general. And when I complete developing a game, I ask myself, "Did I really suffer? It's already done?"
In fact, after finishing a game, I use my available time to start creating and designing something new, because that is the most exciting thing.
Miyazaki's Love for Map Design
Among all the activities of Miyazaki as a game director, there is one specific area that he loves to do most. And this area is Map Design. He believes that map design has the strongest influence on the player's experience of the game and has the biggest impact on his enjoyment of it.
Miyazaki: My main goal is that every aspect of game design creates and enhances the joy and the sense of achievement that you feel as a result of defeating powerful enemies, discovering hidden locations and shortcuts, gaining an understanding of the game's structure, and interpreting the information that you've been given to imagine the games' world and story.
Honestly, I truly enjoy the game director role because it's like being the total overall designer of a game. If I had to give one activity that I really like, it would be map design.
Map design is what really dictates everything else. Once we have determined what needs to happen in an area, we would immediately prepare a rough map, and then once the basic layout of the area was created, we would work on the finer details. By using the rough map, I could convey the requirements, appearance, and structure of an area to the artists and let them develop these ideas through collaboration.
Excluding the Chalice Dungeons, I personally laid out all the maps in Bloodborne. It's something that I like to do a lot. This relates to the sense of achievement I talked about earlier. Creating well-designed maps provide a certain joy to the player. It adds value to the player's actions. As a creator, I find it much fun drawing up the map of the land in your mind. It is a really game-like design, and I quite enjoy it a lot.
Knowll Insight: Miyazaki had this view as early as when he was working on Demon's Souls. He places heavy emphasis on the value of Map Design, and this belief influenced him when he was about to begin Dark Souls.
Miyazaki: During the later development stage of Demon's Souls, I began to think of creating a vast connected map for a future game, so it was not planned to be adopted for Demon's Souls. And so, during the start of development for Dark Souls, I prepared a plan to implement the vast, seamless map.
Miyazaki's Love for Cooking
Miyazaki's hobbies are not just limited to gaming or media consumption, though. He also has a passion for cooking.
Miyazaki: In daily life, cooking takes like only two or three hours, so it is still doable every day. Some hobbies that demand several days off are very tough to do.
When I cook, I usually do it alone and cook for myself. It's similar to playing an RPG. I enjoy cooking by taking time, paying attention to all the details, gathering the proper utensils, and taking all the necessary steps to create something great. The more time and care spent, the better the food becomes.
Knowll Insight: Though his passion for cooking is not widely known, Miyazaki has given several hints on it in various interviews. He often alludes to food and cooking when describing the nature of the games he wanted to create.
Food analogy during Dark Souls III's release:
Miyazaki: My goal is to let players experience a sense of accomplishment through overcoming difficulties. And providing a high difficulty in a game is actually only one of the means to meet that goal.
This approach I am talking about is like a stew, in terms of cooking. Delicious stew takes time. It's different from something like fried food. Stew requires a certain number of days, right? Similarly, for a game, it is based on accumulated experience.
During Dark Souls release:
Miyazaki: We are creating a game that is spicy. We want to make it as spicy as possible, but still edible and tastes good that it leaves you wanting for more.
Even though I shared earlier that Dark Souls is actually more difficult than Demon's Souls, all the difficulties can be overcome by trial and error. The game is like very spicy food. Indeed it is very spicy and yet delicious.
And finally, during Sekiro's release:
Miyazaki: In the past games, you would have to just run around a massive enemy's feet and hack away at his feet, but now you have all kinds of movement options that you can both use to the extent of the arena. Stealth is present in miniboss and boss fights, depending on the situation. Again, it is meant as another level of spice. It's not going to be available in all boss fights, but when it does, it will elevate the experience in some clever or subtle way.
Miyazaki's Love for Reading Books
Though Miyazaki consumes media in various formats, he has a preference for one. And that is the printed text, either via novels, manga, or adventure gamebooks. Among the books he has read, though, there is one that has highly influenced all his works. This is the manga Berserk.
Miyazaki shares below what kind of books you would find if you look into his bookshelves.
Miyazaki: First, you would see the manga shelf, containing Devilman and Berserk at the top. The adjacent bookshelf is filled with tabletop role-playing game rulebooks, with RuneQuest in front, together with the board game Dragon Pass. Another shelf is filled with novels, classics of fantasy and science fiction, highlighting George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire and Fevre Dream.
There would be a small library of gamebooks on an adjacent shelf. Foremost of them will be Sorcery! and the guides for Titan and Out of the Pit. Finally, you would find art and reference books, including works by Umberto Eco and McNeil, and Colin Wilson's The Occult.
Miyazaki's Preference for the Printed Text
Miyazaki: Many of the themes and imagery expressed in our games have their origins in the text – things conjured in the imagination while reading; the interpretations within the mind.
My pool of inspiration derives from various sources, but if I have to choose one, in particular, I would say books, especially text-based books. I have shared this before, but my biggest pastime is to imagine and fantasize while reading text-based books. It is one of my inspirational sources for game development.
Knowll Insight: Miyazaki's love for the printed text and its ability to stimulate creativity and imagination also contributed to the text-laden nature of his games. Of course, he was also responsible for creating the text in all the games he has created, with the only exception being Sekiro. This text includes item descriptions, dialogue, and even menu text.
Miyazaki comments on a menu text he wrote:
Miyazaki: Actually, the text is so small that I can't write anything decent. Three lines of text, with that character limit, it's impossible. I kind of gave up with them. It's a bit cheap, but I also think it's more interesting with that charm, so it's good enough, but that wouldn't be nice in a big title or a serious game. But for us? Good enough!
Honestly, the reason I'm writing the texts is that it prevents the game development from falling behind or having more pressure due to also having to write the texts. Professionals could write those texts, together with the dialogues and the screenplay, and that would result in much better quality. But we kept adjusting the game until the very end, which resulted in the need to fix some items and scenarios.
Miyazaki's Passion for Playing Video Games
A list of hobbies of Miyazaki will not be complete without the media format that led him to become a game director. Though he plays games of various genres, he highly prefers the fantasy-based Action RPG.
Many fans and players have noticed the similarity of the Souls games to the Zelda games in terms of exploration, combat, and adventure. This is because Miyazaki is a big fan of the Zelda series.
In the interviews below, he shares the games he enjoys playing.
Asked about Games in 2011
Miyazaki: Politically, this is a difficult question for me to answer. I'm a big gamer, but honestly, right now, I absolutely enjoy Magic: The Gathering Online. For the upcoming games of 2011, I'm really looking forward to Uncharted 3 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
Uncharted 2 was released around the same time as Demon's Souls, so it was a big competitor for us at the time. Unchartered performed well, and now I'm really excited for Uncharted 3. I'm very excited for Skyrim because the fantasy world is something I truly look forward to in games.
Asked about Games in 2015
Miyazaki: When I am playing video games, I have a director's perspective, so it's like work, and it's difficult for me to have a pure gamer experience, to just enjoy something on the same level as others may. However, I truly enjoy Hearthstone right now. There are several board games too, like Eclipse. Its design is impressive, and it's really fun.
I'm looking forward to the games in E3, specifically, being domestic developers, games like Metal Gear Solid V, obviously for being open world. And Zelda, again for being open world and for the new approach that they are taking. These two games are probably the two main titles that I'm looking forward to. As a gamer, Evolve is one of the games I want to get my hands on and start playing. Left 4 Dead is something I also thoroughly enjoyed in the past.
List of Confirmed Favorites of Miyazaki
- Blade of the Immortal
- Jojo's Bizarre Adventures
- Record of Lodoss War
- Saint Seiya
- A Song of Ice and Fire
- Fevre Dream
- The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories
- The Occult
- The Call of Cthulhu
- Out of the Pit
- Fighting Fantasy series
- Shadow of the Colossus
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
- Left 4 Dead
- Metal Gear Solid V
- Magic: The Gathering Online
- Dungeons & Dragons
- Dragon Pass
Movies and TV
- Harry Potter
- Brotherhood of the Wolf