As if there is any question to what the hottest Japanese series is in America these days. From Software’s Souls series has been on a roll from when it first kicked off as Demon’s Souls back in 2008, and Dark Souls transformed its formula into a bonafide hit. I’ll argue with you until I’m blue in the face about the quality of Dark Souls II, but I’ll still admit it’s just as popular at least.
“The steady flow of dark fantasy games and mecha are something we’d like to continue taking good care of,” says original designer and now president of From Software, Hidetaka Miyazaki, who is currently working on the dark fantasy game Bloodborne.
However, Miyazaki genuinely wants to start expanding the company’s portfolio with more “Japanese” style games. Tenchu, Otogi, Armored Core, the great and memorable B-level software that it was churning out before it became the hottest Japanese company of on the market all come to mind. In fact, he’d even like to direct his own Armored Core game, something I’d be totally down with.
“There seems to be some talk about how I dislike the Armored Core series, but that is simply not true. Actually, I’d even like to direct a new title myself.”
Now that From Software is better known as “the Dark Souls company,” the taste of mainstream AAA American success has branded it with a “dark fantasy” image, one investors, fans, and recently acquired Kadokawa Games demand it lives up to. That’s why Bloodborne, an original IP, looks so much like Dark Souls. It’s going to be hard to wrestle with fame and break away from this success if he wants to reclaim that old identity.
Miyazaki should try asking all of the developers at AAA Western studios stuck making the same franchises year in and year out about coping strategies. How do you deal with the creative restrictions of success?
How about it, Dark Souls fans? Would it be best for From Software to just stick with dark fantasy games, or does it have a library of IPsworth revisiting if it means putting Dark Souls on the shelf for a few years? I was not a fan of Dark Souls II, and if a hypothetical Dark Souls III continues the series’ stunted evolution, I’m more than happy to set it aside for a solid Tenchu and Armored Core game.
Of course, the hard part of that is making a “solid” Tenchu and Armored Core game, something which From Software has struggled with in recent years. I get the feeling though that if anybody could recapture the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 days of those franchises, back when Tenchu Wrath of Heaven and Armored Core 2 were names to reckon with, then Miyazaki is the man to do it.