The first Souls game to hit mainstream success.
Bloodborne is the fourth game of the Souls series. It is Hidetaka Miyazaki’s first game to attract the attention of mainstream players due to innovations in combat and improvements in visuals and graphics while being one of the first few exclusive games available on the newly released Sony PS4.
Bloodborne made the Souls games attractive and enticing to the eyes of casual players. It is the bridge that expanded the market of FromSoftware, from the early adopters to the new fans that will learn the challenge and the joy of playing a Miyazaki game.
Discover how Bloodborne was created and the development story behind Hidetaka Miyazaki’s third masterpiece.
- Development Start: Jul 9, 2012
- Official Reveal: Jun 9, 2014
- Gameplay Reveal: Aug 12, 2014
- Release Date: Mar 24, 2015
Background of Bloodborne
The Success of Dark Souls
After the successful release of Dark Souls, FromSoftware decided to develop a DLC for it, with Miyazaki as the director.
The DLC Artorias of the Abyss was finally released on Oct 23, 2012. Unknown to the fans, on this date, there were already two unannounced games being developed in FromSoftware.
These two unannounced games were Dark Souls II and Bloodborne.
What is Miyazaki’s Next Project?
As Miyazaki was working on the DLC of Dark Souls, he was not assigned as the director of Dark Souls II.
Miyazaki: Partially due to the development of Artorias of the Abyss Edition and Dark Souls II going on at the same time, I was kind of removed from the Dark Souls II project, and then I began to work on Bloodborne. As it turned out, I was having a lot of fun working on it too.
Knowll Insight: This information shared by Miyazaki is unexpected, though, as he had always in the past worked on multiple projects. This is also a trend he will do for future Souls games.
The logical explanation is that FromSoftware had the intent to give the Dark Souls series to other directors to enable Miyazaki to develop other IPs.
In a way, FromSoftware thinks that what Miyazaki achieved for Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls can be easily replicated. This is a wrong assumption, though, for the company, as it would soon show up in the future difficulty the teams will go through for Dark Souls II and Dark Souls III.
Without Miyazaki, the development of the Souls games would struggle.
Miyazaki: I am not in a position to comment on the kind of decision FromSoftware made at the time, but my personal view on the topic was that the Dark Souls II project could be a huge opportunity for someone other than myself.
I already received plenty of chances, and if someone else in FromSoftware could take that same chance and excel in it, the company could grow as an organization. Also, speaking as a creator, and I have shared this in other interviews, I would like to see what kind of possibilities will result when the direction of Dark Souls is unshackled from myself.
Knowll Insight: The result of this experiment, though, is that the sequel is a shallow copy of Dark Souls, missing what made the game great. And this is also the main reason why in the future, there will be no more Souls game that is not closely directed by Miyazaki. This is the reason why Dark Souls III was returned back to Miyazaki, and all the future Souls games had him as the director, even when he was already promoted as company president.
Sony Enters the Story - The Second Collaboration
If you remember, in an earlier entry, the Souls games started with Demon’s Souls, a collaboration that Sony made with FromSoftware.
Similarly, Bloodborne began as a proposal from Sony to create something new for the upcoming PS4, which, during that time, was not yet announced publicly.
Miyazaki: This project actually began with the proposal to create something new for the upcoming hardware. I believe it was around the period that the development for Artorias of the Abyss Edition of Dark Souls had settled down, and it was still before the initial PS4 reveal. The idea of developing a new game for the new hardware was quite appealing to us, so we eagerly agreed.
The Birth of Bloodborne
Bloodborne is a departure from the past two souls games in that its setting is not based on high fantasy. Its world is located in a city reminiscent of the Victorian era, and instead of dark fantasy, it uses elements from gothic and Lovecraftian horror. Miyazaki shared that he always wanted to create something like this.
Miyazaki: The game mechanics, or the gothic theme, for example, were some ideas or concepts that were always brewing for me and among those that I always wanted to achieve in my career. So when the trigger was pulled, I knew that this was it.
The concept of the overall feeling of the era is very much based on the Victorian era. However, the first thing most people think of when they hear the Victorian era is probably London. The location for this game is not based on London, but instead on remote towns that may have existed in the era, towns that would feel really old and gloomy. The setting we made takes these old gothic towns and layers more Victorian period elements, such as street lamps, on top of them.
Inspirations for Bloodborne
Miyazaki shares that Bloodborne was inspired by books he had read when he was younger. In a way, the story of Bloodborne is very similar to Demon’s Souls.
Miyazaki: I was inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s book, The Call of Cthulhu. Anyone who played Bloodborne will likely know that I was really influenced by Lovecraft and this work. This is not my first game to draw on these inspirations, as most of my ideas are actually inspired by books. I guess that there were no curveballs with regard to that.
I wanted to express a similar atmosphere to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. We have this old city in a remote region, and it was a town renowned for its medical community, but now there is a sickness spreading called the Plague of the Beast. That kind of setting.
Other sources of inspiration were horror, of course, and the film Brotherhood of the Wolf.
Themes of Bloodborne
Miyazaki shares that Bloodborne has three major themes.
Miyazaki: From the very start of this project, the main premise was to create a serious game for people who like games. On top of that premise, we have several themes throughout the various layers of the game, and the three major ones are “exploring the unknown,” “the feeling of fighting for one’s life,” and “the new online elements.”
With regard to “exploring the unknown,” we wanted to make it enjoyable to explore the locations, but we are not limiting it to just that. We’re utilizing the theme to apply to a plethora of concepts. For example, it refers to both the setting and the story, too. We aim to make a mysterious world for the player to discover and explore.