Bloodborne’s Victorian inspirations influence both setting and gameplay
posted on 06.13.14 at 04:43 AM EDT by (@iiotenki)
From Software's PS4 game set for simultaneous global release.

Bloodborne

In addition to his recently published interview with Famitsu, Bloodborne director Hidetaka Miyazaki of From Software also sat down to have a lengthy chat with Japanese publication Dengeki about his upcoming PlayStation 4 game.

While some of the details reiterate what we’ve already covered earlier this week, Miyazaki nevertheless had plenty of new things to say about the design philosophy of the game, its influences, and what to expect in broad terms with regards to how he envisions it will play.

Miyazaki starts off the interview by discussing how the game was conceived. As it was stated previously, development on Bloodborne commenced soon after work wrapped up on the ‘Artorias of the Abyss‘ downloadable content for the first Dark Souls game back in 2012. Sony approached him asking if he wanted to work on another game with them for their then-upcoming PlayStation 4, an offer that he happily accepted as someone already keen to collaborate with them again. As such, he states that Bloodborne had always been planned to be a PlayStation 4 game from the start. Nevertheless, while he concedes that similarities between it and Demon’s Souls are bound to manifest in this new game because of how the latter was created under analogous circumstances, he doesn’t consider it to be a direct successor and as such never intended it just simply be Demon’s Souls 2.

In terms of the fundamental ideas that are said to lie at the heart of the game, Miyazaki offered three key concepts that are said to inform the identity of the game. The first of these is the ability to have fun while exploring the unknown, which he says not only applies to the actual gameplay, but also to how players experience the world, storyline, and the mysteries belying Yharnam, the city in which the game takes place. The second core concept that he brings up is that of the feeling of fighting to the death. While it most directly has a hand in the combat, particularly in boss and PVP fights, Miyazaki contends that it’s also something that’s tonally carried throughout the game world. The easiest comparison, he claims, is to horror games, although he’s not striving to make a game of that ilk per se and that overall, he’s atmospherically looking for something that resembles the Tower of Latria in Demon’s Souls. Nevertheless, he says that the end goal for combat is to imbue players with a greater sense of fear and of the grisly nature of fighting so that they feel that much more satisfaction when they do manage to come out on top. Finally, Miyazaki mentions that online connectivity is important to the game like it has been in the Souls series, but deigned to go into specifics other than to say it’s rooted in the idea of “free, yet shared exploration.”

Miyazaki also commented on titling the game “Bloodborne” specifically, stating that it’s meant to be a reflection upon the game world at large, but that he wants players to explore and play around with the game so that they can figure out the particular significance of the name for themselves. Conversely, he was more forthcoming about the potential that the Gothic/Victorian-inspired setting of Yharnam offers him as a creator. Akin to how Demon’s Souls went the medieval route because the combat flowed in a more passive manner, as typified by the game’s array of iconic swords and shields, Miyazaki believes that the Victorian-laden trappings of Yharnam are a natural fit for Bloodborne‘s comparatively more proactive combat style. Indeed, in his eyes, the prominent use of metalwork coupled with clothing made of fabrics helps convey the game’s philosophy of forcing players to be more engaged in fighting compared to his previous works. According to him, the setting is also what enables him to add guns to the game without needing to turn it into an outright shooter. Visually speaking, he also says that the game is loosely modeled after Eastern Europe, with some research trips conducted in Romania and the Czech Republic.

Furthermore, Miyazaki also says that there are technological motivators behind going with Bloodborne‘s particular aesthetic, as he hadn’t been able to produce such a world on console hardware prior to the PlayStation 4 and now has the raw technological power to make it happen to his satisfaction. The mechanized nature of the setting is something he wants to take full advantage of the game with various tricks and gimmicks, a desire that extends as far as the weapons, remarking that the weapons will be imaginative and diverse in their capabilities. The gun in the E3 trailer, he mentions, can change shape and such distinct characteristics are present throughout the game’s weaponry, with the focus therefore being on figuring out how to best utilize a given weapon’s gimmicks, rather than just the latent properties of more straightforward weapons occupying conventional tropes.

With regards to whether Bloodborne has much in the way of normal humans roaming about, Miyazaki answered by saying that they’re rare. Indeed, as a result of the endemic disease discussed previously that’s rampantly turning people into beasts, the townspeople go on nightly hunts, with their weapons compromising those that players themselves will use, but they otherwise predominantly keep to themselves behind closed doors. In a sense, he argues, given the circumstances, even the so-called “normal humans” might have their own share of abnormalities to contend with deep down. The protagonist, meanwhile, as mentioned before, is a traveler from a far-off land in search of ancient medical procedures that the town is said to host.

In line with the game’s emphasis on proactive fighting, combat is said to be about forcing openings and getting done what needs to be done before the opposition has a chance to get what they’re after. Being passive like in a Souls game, Miyazaki warns, serves to only get players killed that much faster. Guns in the game are meant to be especially emblematic of that approach, with the shotgun that’s been shown being particularly fitting given how its primary usefulness is, as expected, in close quarters. Indeed, it can be used for a variety of purposes such as getting enemies to let their guard down, counter attacks, and engaging groups of enemies, among other things. While long-distance attacks aren’t without their uses, Miyazaki implores that they aren’t the primary function of guns and that allowing for that would detract from his desired set of combat dynamics, especially since, again, he doesn’t want the game to be played like a shooter.

In terms of consumable items, Miyazaki says that he isn’t quite ready to delve into very many specifics, but he does explicitly mention that the team is looking into making it possible to using HP healing items with just a single button press in order for them to not detract from combat. However, on the flip side, he wants to avoid a common pitfall that he perceives in other games that make healing items the default selectable item where the strategic usefulness of other types of items are rendered comparatively ambiguous, although he doesn’t provide specifics about how he intends to combat that particular issue.

When pressed about how the game will treat player deaths, Miyazaki said that he doesn’t want to make such an inevitability a huge deal. Rather than use death in Bloodborne as a form of punishment, Miyazaki hopes that it will instead prove to be a motivational catalyst for players and compel them to keep trying to tackle challenges again and again. Death, then, is less meant to be something intended to make players feel helpless, but rather heighten that sense of just barely making it out of fights alive when they do manage to win against an enemy.

Miyazaki also touched upon character customization, saying that the protagonist has a selectable gender and that their face can be fine-tuned, with the overall extent of customization likely falling somewhere in line with what Demon’s Souls had available. He mentions that he’s looking to expand upon what that game had to offer, but explains that the timing wasn’t yet right to discuss the matter. Beyond that, character growth is confirmed to be a natural part of the game, although he remained mum on what that specifically means in Bloodborne beyond what he already discussed earlier regarding the game’s weapons.

Towards the end of the interview, Miyazaki talks about how he has a keen interest in the PlayStation 4’s online features and while online connectivity will be a big part of Bloodborne, he doesn’t intend to leave more solo-oriented players out in the cold, either. In particular, he says that he’s rather intrigued by the PlayStation 4’s Sharing functionality and that he and Sony are looking into how to fit it well into the game.

Finally, while the game is still only due somewhere within spring 2015, Miyazaki states that the development team is planning for it to be a simultaneous worldwide release.

Play-Asia
  • https://www.youtube.com/user/GamingHeroTetsuya TetsuyaHikari

    >simultaneous worldwide release

    Well, that’s good at least. I’d import it if the footage shown at TGS interests me, but it’s nice to know I won’t have to.

    • z_merquise

      There was a leaked trailer with purely gameplay. It looked like the very old build because it was still titled “Project Beast”.

      I posted it in the Open Forum if you like to see it. Not sure if it’s safe to post it here.

    • Budgiecat

      We need moar simultaneous world releases…

  • PrinceHeir

    Thanks for translating all of these O__O

    It seems just like Kojima’s MGSV. This is what Miyazaki’s dream game, but couldn’t do it due to lack of technology advancement at the time.

    Can’t wait for this though!!!

    • http://freelansations.tumblr.com/ Thomas James

      My brain hurts, but comments like this make it all worth it~

      • Reda1234

        This is one big-ass article. Thanks you so much for translating this. I’m planning to start learning Japanese. Any tips of how and where should i begin?

        • http://freelansations.tumblr.com/ Thomas James

          It’s a really long answer, so for posterity I just wrote about it on Tumblr a while back since a lot of people were asking: http://pepsimangb.tumblr.com/post/65862157257/how-did-you-learn-japanese-is-there-any-particular

          I also suggest paging through the rest of my Japanese advice Q&A stuff since they cover a lot of specific aspects that tend to trip up new learners: http://pepsimangb.tumblr.com/tagged/japanese-advice

          Hope that helps!

          • BloodborneSouls

            When pressed about how the game will treat player deaths, Miyazaki said that he doesn’t want to make such an inevitability a huge deal. Rather than use death in Bloodborne as a form of punishment, Miyazaki hopes that it will instead prove to be a motivational catalyst for players and compel them to keep trying to tackle challenges again and again. Death, then, is less meant to be something intended to make players feel helpless, but rather heighten that sense of just barely making it out of fights alive when they do manage to win against an enemy.

            So with this that it means it not getting dumb down?
            Like people thought. Please respond. Thanks.

    • Budgiecat

      I hope one more fugly faces when doing character customization…

  • z_merquise

    Oh hey, thanks for the translation!

    Haven’t played any Souls game so I don’t know how story progress from there (or if there’s such one) but it’s kind of cool to have the story not directly told to you, it’s up to you to uncover it yourself or even not bother with it and just go with the game slaying your enemies and such.

    I really love how the game would encourage more aggressive fighting like in Metal Gear Rising where you should always be on the offense.

  • miyamoto
  • Kuro-Law

    Remember those leaked images from before when it was called project beast…. well heres the full trailer from an old build of the game!!

    http://www.onlysp.com/new-trailer-leaked-ps4-exclusive-bloodborne-looks-fantastic/

    Theres alot of frame rate issues but gameplays looking sweet!!!

  • Kuro-Law

    btw is there something wrong with gematsu registration, i cant seem to sign up. it says recapcha wasn’t entered correctly but there isn’t any at all

  • Kuro-Law

    any reason why or u just trolling?

  • Elvick

    Thanks for the translation! <3

  • Six

    I was hoping for a late summer release. Early next year will be crazy enough with just The Witcher 3, and I’d bet money that Arkham Knight will be a March release.

    • Budgiecat

      There’s also the Order 1886 to contend with late Feb…

    • bloodiOS

      Tch… wallets will be emptied and bank accounts wiped clean…

  • Anime10121

    Just saw the gameplay trailer and man THAT hyped me up far more than the initial trailer! If they can fix the framerate/screen tearing issues, I can see this going neck in neck with Uncharted for being PS4’s GOTY!

    • Solomon_Kano

      The frame rate issues are exactly why they didn’t release the trailer, according to the folks who got to see the game at E3. It’s an earlier build than what they want to show off, so I don’t doubt they’ll be fixed in time for release. They’ve got ample time.

      • Six

        I’m reminded of this NeoGAF post about behind closed doors showings of games.

        http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=115948445&postcount=25

        • Solomon_Kano

          Ha. He’s not wrong though. Months upon months of “not even 1080p” and trying to come up with every possible issue there might be other than “not finished.”

      • Anime10121

        Yeah, it did still have the title of Project Beast… So yeah, its logical to think that its been improved by now. Hoping to see more at Gamescom/TGS (well TGS is a given) later this year!

        • Solomon_Kano

          Probably not Gamescom, but definitely TGS. That alone should make the show pretty good this year.

          • Six

            TGS being good for once will be a nice change of pace.

            • Solomon_Kano

              Yea, it’s been a bit since TGS last wowed me. The SCEJA conference beat it by a wide mile last year.

    • Six

      Throw in The Witcher 3 and the new Legend of Zelda, and I see the GOTY debates getting pretty nasty on the forums.

      • Solomon_Kano

        Not to mention Arkham Knight. I think people are gonna have a lot to decide from come next year.

        • Six

          In any case, they should all be thankful that Bayonetta 2 is this year. :P

          • Anime10121

            True, however, unfortunate as it is, Bayonetta’s not “mass market” enough to be able to win GotY from the big-wigs even if though it has all the necessary qualities :(

            • Solomon_Kano

              The big publications don’t seem to appreciate these sorts of action games at the level to give any of them GOTY in the first place, Bayo or otherwise. Games like that always hit the 7-8 range, so they’re “just good” but not GOTY material. Whatevs.

              • Six

                That’s not entirely true, though Bayonetta seems like the sole exception. Games like Devil May Cry 4 and Metal Gear Rising are in the mid 80s.

                http://www.metacritic.com/game/xbox-360/bayonetta

                • Solomon_Kano

                  Yea, the original Bayo was received incredibly well. Sure stayed off of people’s GOTY lists though.

                  • Anime10121

                    Too much “weird shit” what with her being a nudist with every attack and all :P

                    Oh wells, regardless of whether the media and some their readers that cant form their own opinions before bashing it may think, it’ll always be one of my favorite action games :/

                    • Solomon_Kano

                      Hell yea. Just not on PS3.

                    • tokyobassist

                      The hurtful truth. Played the PS3 version first then tried the 360 version over my friends house. Never touched the first game ever again because I don’t want an Xbox and I refuse to play that inferior of a port for that game.

                      Bayonetta 1 on Wii U is a blessing in disguise. If they can tighten up the framerate even more and get rid of the screen tearing that was notorious in the 360 version, it’s easily the go to version of the first game.

                    • Solomon_Kano

                      Bayo will be running at a full 60 fps on Wii U, so that’s nice. I’ve been playing it on PS3 again over the last couple weeks and good god. To think there were people who tried to say the port wasn’t that bad. Even post patching, that game runs atrociously on PS3. It certainly isn’t unplayable, but it’s distractingly bad.

                      Bayo 2 was already day 1 for me, but knowing that it’ll have a port of the original improved over even the 360 version just made it that much more certain.

          • Solomon_Kano

            Bayo’s gonna take it all home!

      • Reda1234

        Don’t you dare forget Persona 5 :p

  • Comandante Bushido

    Sold

  • bloodiOS

    I hope it has some exquisite castles to visit like Anor Londo.

  • Solomon_Kano

    Bless your soul for translating this.

    While we know little as of now, this sounds even more interesting than Dark Souls (haven’t played Demon’s). While I rather enjoy DaS’ more methodical combat, quicker action games are more my thing. I look forward to Miyazaki’s take on that. Also looking forward to what kind of spin he puts on online play this time.

  • HighBrowDrifter

    Would it not be interesting if, once you defeated certain enemies you could consume their infected blood in order to transform?…It was called “Project Beast” after all…

    • Sol Malus

      When you die or consume too much blood, you do turn into a beast. To turn back, you have to take the blood of a human, which can be found randomly in the world (kill them for blood, or help them and they’ll help on bosses) or kill players for their blood.

  • Jay

    If they would’ve shown that gameplay trailer at e3, the building would’ve exploded… Thanks for the great translation, the game just keeps getting better.

    Umbasa.

  • DarthBrian

    Wow, great job with the translation. Thanks for this. Hype levels increasing. <3

  • http://youtube.com/miyabigaming 武神水樹

    Probably the game I’ll be looking forward to the most

    • DarthBrian

      As an old school PC gamer who lost his original discs a while ago, I’m a bit more excited for the Grim Fandango remaster.

      However, Bloodborne is a *really* close second. :p

      • Six

        I was ready for the PC gaming community to burn E3 to the ground if the remaster ended up as a Playstation exclusive. :P

        • DarthBrian

          No way would Tim Schafer agree to keep a game like Grim Fandango exclusive to a console. There was one fan who was a bit upset with the announcement when it was already known it was coming to PC.

          http://www.doublefine.com/forums/viewthread/14230/

          :p

      • http://youtube.com/miyabigaming 武神水樹

        That was a really cool segment in the theater when Adam Boyes was reading the letters that people wrote in and Tim Schafer was holding the letter

        • DarthBrian

          For me at home as well, though the stream kept lagging so I missed some of it. :(

          • http://youtube.com/miyabigaming 武神水樹

            It was breaking in the theater a lot too

            • DarthBrian

              Presenting Sony everyone! :p

  • tokyobassist

    This sounds very interesting. I wondering if harvesting corpses for resources is an element of the game because I noticed the Protagonist in the E3 trailer dragged that dog out of sight and started cutting at the flesh.

    I know Miyazaki is a big on portraying aspects of a game in CGI cutscenes. Demon’s Souls’ intro gave the player a lot of feedback regarding the gameplay mechanics. Dark Souls’ intro got the player in tune with the world, lore and characters which left the player to explore this unknown place and put the story together through your own experience and interpretations of the lore presented.

  • Mikail

    If you want to experience how wonderfull Castlevania in their glory years, this game will help you bring those feeling and experience, veteran gamers who live on that day probably gonna like it. Its like Castlevania true successor is finally here.