(Editor’s note: the interviewee was originally listed as Director Hidetaka Miyazaki, as that was the name on the interview schedule, among other circumstantial communication oddities. That aside, here is the interview with Mr. Yamagiwa)
At the Tokyo Game Show, I talked to Japan Studio and Bloodborne Producer Masaaki Yamagiwa, who gave us a breakdown of what to expect from the upcoming PS4 exclusive.
PSLS: So, Demon’s Souls… Dark Souls… now this. Are you like sad or what’s the deal, man?
Yamagiwa: Hahaha, no, I’m fine. We’ve just always been fans of dark and heavy fiction. You make what you like, you know?
PSLS: How much was Bloodborne influenced by Dark Souls and Demon’s Souls?
Yamagiwa: Well, it’s an action RPG. The basic game format is similar to those, if you want to look at it that way, but everything else from story to battle system is different. Bloodborne is its own game.
PSLS: Why PS4 exclusive?
Yamagiwa: We always wanted to make a game set in the Victorian era, but to make it look good — with all the clothing and the architecture and things — required a console more powerful than the ones that were around. the arrival of the PS4 finally gave us that. Bloodborne isn’t a game that could have been cross generation, it was only possible on PS4.
PSLS: Do you think the addition of a gun will add more Western appeal to your games? I mean, we love our guns….
Yamagiwa: (Laughs) It was actually a very difficult decision to introduce a gun, but it came from the desire to change up the gameplay and also to
match this 19th-century setting. Fortunately, most guns back then weren’t as accurate and didn’t have as long range as today’s, so we could believable add one without breaking the combat. We’ve carefully considered how the gun can be used without being able to rely on it. We had a lot of feedback from our American counterparts about what works and what doesn’t. We asked especially about that time period.
PSLS: Will we see even more Western appeal added with a football in future games?
Yamagiwa: (Laughs) No, I don’t think so.
PSLS: Are there any story connections between Bloodborne and the Souls games?
Yamagiwa: Well I don’t want to spoil any cool surprises for people! I want players to find out what’s going on and figure out why this is called Bloodborne on their own.
But I’ll give you this hint. There are two key words, 1: Blood. 2: Borne.
(Everyone laughs.) No, the second key word is actually “Beast.” I’ll tell you this much, the town is cursed with a disease. You could call it “The disease of the beast,” and people inject blood for the cure.
PSLS: Another person’s blood? Or whose blood do they inject?
Yamagiwa Aaahhh, that’s a tough one.
PSLS: Should I just write “dot dot dot”?
Yamagiwa: Heh, it’s a difficult answer. But I’ll let it be a surprise.
PSLS: Would you call this a spiritual successor to Demon’s Souls and/or Dark Souls?
Yamagiwa: Well, Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls are different games from each other, too. But when I introduced this game earlier, I meant that it was a closer to Demon’s Souls than Dark Souls. But again, that was me and my team, but a different publisher, so they’re still two different games.
PSLS: Any micro-transactions or use of real money?
PSLS: DLC? When, if ever, would that come along?
Yamagiwa: It’s being considered, but at this point there’s no announcement.
PSLS: About how many hours of gameplay do you expect for a single Bloodborne player?
Yamagiwa: Just like Demon’s Souls, it really depends on the player’s skill. It’s hard to say. But we can say that the total game volume is bigger
than Demon’s Souls.
PSLS: Could anything surprise a Demon’s Souls player all over again?
Yamagiwa: Well in Demon’s Souls, you’re dropped in the middle of nowhere and left to figure almost everything out by yourself. With Bloodborne,
there’s a lot more background and story, so what we’re planning is to give you a big mystery to solve. But it’s not a story in the sense of like a movie story.
As well, you have to be a little more active stepping up to enemies to get into fights.
Then, of course, online play will give a lot of replayability. We’ll have more information about online play soon, we hope.
PSLS: Your games have a reputation for brutal difficulty. Is there any way for making it easier for players who are not bad enough dudes to rescue the president?
Yamagiwa: The joy of achieving is made greater when you had to die to do it. I think difficulty is part of what make it rewarding. Other things
are there for a broader audience, though, such as the dark story and atmosphere.
PSLS: Tell me about the decision to have no armor. I get it, but Dark Souls fanatics might not.
Yamagiwa: Since it takes place in the 19th century, it felt more accurate to not include armor. [But the game is being balanced to accommodate that.]
PSLS: I see. Advice for new players who may have skipped the Souls games?
Yamagiwa: To survive, you must use observations and use logic. Look at your surroundings and use them. Try new things out and explore all the
possibilities with all of your weapons. For example, did you notice that when the bell tolls, something changes? (Yamagiwa grins.) Pay close attention.
And with that ominous warning, we conclude our interview. I played this game — as did countless others — on the TGS show floor. You can check out what I thought right here.
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