“If my ideas failed nobody would care”: Hidetaka Miyazaki Knew Demon’s Souls Was Already a Big Failure Before He Took Over and Changed Everything

Director Hidetaka Miyazaki reveals how he went about introducing new innovative features to his game.

"If my ideas failed nobody would care": Hidetaka Miyazaki Knew Demon’s Souls Was Already a Big Failure Before He Took Over and Changed Everything


  • FromSoftware has been making soulslike games for over ten years now.
  • This journey started with the development of Demon's Souls back in 2009.
  • That game was an unexpected success which was built upon a failed project that was going nowhere.
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Hidetaka Miyazaki is without a doubt one of the biggest names in gaming right now. Everyone who is his fan knows the kind of games he makes. Games where some players struggle to kill the first boss for a few hours and give up. He is pretty good at making these games too; in fact, this is his company’s whole identity.


Today, they have a number of soulslike games to their name. They have made some other games too, such as Sekiro and Armored Core VI, but their main focus has mostly been on soulslike genre. But game director Hidetaka Miyazaki cannot help but remember the time when he started this legendary journey with one game that was considered a failure by most.

Hidetaka Miyazaki talks about how he went about developing Demon’s Souls

Hidetaka Miyazaki made a very significant change to Demon's Souls during its development
A still from Demon’s Souls Remake

FromSoftware was not a very big company when Demon’s Souls started development. This studio was just known for its games like King’s Field and Armored Core. King’s Field is an interesting franchise; these are first-person action RPGs that are very hard.


When Sony asked FromSoftware to work on a game similar to the Elder Scrolls series to compete with Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion, a game that was exclusive to Xbox 360. The studio started working on a first-person fantasy RPG and based it on their own King’s Field franchise.

However, they started facing a number of difficulties during the development of this game. Amidst those difficulties, Hidetaka Miyazaki came aboard as the game’s new director. He then scraped the whole game and started making a spiritual successor to King’s Field.

He changed the camera angle from first-person to third-person and then started introducing a bunch of other unconventional gameplay mechanics. It has been said a bunch of times that this game, Demon’s Souls, was already considered a failure by higher-ups at FromSoftware.


As a result of this, whenever Hidetaka Miyazaki asked his higher-ups for permission to include something unusual in his game, they just said yes. This way, he kept on building his game; little did he or anyone else know that he was writing history there.

A still from Demon’s Souls Remake

Even Hidetaka Miyazaki suggests that he intentionally took the lead on this project. He knew the condition this game was in, and he suggested that he understood that he could do anything with it at that point. Knowing well enough that even if he failed and even if the game failed, no one would care.

“The project had problems and the team had been unable to create a compelling prototype. But when I heard it was a fantasy-action role-playing game, I was excited. I figured if I could find a way to take control of the game, I could turn it into anything I wanted. Best of all, if my ideas failed, nobody would care – it was already a failure.”

He somehow finished the game, and the result was just what everyone thought it would be: a flop. It was a flop even before it launched. Publisher Sony was not impressed with it after its negative reception at the Tokyo Game Show 2008. It eventually launched in 2009 and sold around 20,000 copies.


But as it happens with good media, through word of mouth and some YouTube videos, this game eventually became popular in the West. People started importing it and making it a cult hit.

Now Sony’s respect for this game is not hidden from anyone.

Despite an extremely problematic development phase, Miyazaki turned Demon's Souls into an unmatched force to be reckoned with.
A still from Demon’s Souls Remake

Years after the launch of the original Demon’s Souls, Sony decided to give that game the respect it did not get originally. They tasked Bluepoint, their in-house studio, with developing a remake and releasing it for PlayStation 5.

Four years after that remake’s launch, it still remains one of the best-looking games on the console. It even uses pretty much every trick the PlayStation 5 has to offer, from 360 audio to Dualsense; it’s a showcase of the PS5 as a whole.


Written by Rohit Sejwal

Articles Published: 264

Rohit Sejwal has been enthusiastically playing video games for over 15 years and has been writing about them for around 1.5 years now. His love for movies pushed him towards video games and made him look at them as a new interactive medium for storytelling. Besides completing his Masters in Mass Communication, he also has a diploma in filmmaking and has a sheer passion for reading dark fantasy books besides watching movies and playing video games.