“Something beautiful needs something ugly”: Hidetaka Miyazaki’s Tragic Rule to Make the Elden Ring Boss Fights Legendary is Also Why Marvel Fans Love Thanos

Miyazaki's Creation of Hauntingly Beautiful Worlds.

elden ring, thanos marvel

SUMMARY

  • Hidetaka Miyazaki's design philosophy in Elden Ring emphasizes the intertwining of beauty and tragedy.
  • Marvel's Thanos embodies a similar complexity. While his actions are undeniably evil, his motivations stem from a genuine, albeit misguided, desire to prevent universal collapse.
  • Both embody a complexity that elevates them beyond typical antagonists, offering a richer, more nuanced experience for audiences.
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FromSoftware’s Hidetaka Miyazaki is a world-renowned visionary director who has been behind the creation of some of the best Action RPGs the world of gaming has seen. His ability to create not just beautiful but also hauntingly tragic worlds cannot be understated.

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This philosophy shines in the tragic depth of Elden Ring‘s boss fights and resonates with cultural approaches to characters like Thanos from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Miyazaki challenges the traditional concept of “ugly bosses” by giving them tragic narratives that turn them into victims of circumstances rather than mere enemies in a video game.

Hidetaka Miyazaki’s Follows This Ideal to Create His Worlds

Hidetaka Miyazaki’s Follows This Ideal to Create His Worlds
Elden Ring is getting its first DLC soon. | FromSoftware

In a recent interview with PC Gamer, Miyazaki was asked about the trials and challenges that the studio faced in making Elden Ring. He talked about the importance of maintaining a sense of discovery and wonder for the players, as they took on the hauntingly massive world. He said:

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I think what I’m trying to do is depict something beautiful, at the end of the day. How you interpret beautiful is obviously in the eye of the beholder; it doesn’t necessarily have to be something physically charming or outwardly beautiful.

In Elden Ring, the backstories of bosses like Radahn, who succumbed to Scarlet Rot due to Malenia’s actions, or Rennala, a grieving mother and wife, transform these characters from mere obstacles into tragic figures. Miyazaki further says:

It can be something inside that lets you empathize with them on a deeper level. To be realistic, I feel something beautiful needs something ugly—something that’s depraved or tragic to heighten and embolden that beauty.

In the same way, the character of Thanos in the Marvel universe makes fans feel the same kind of way as Miyazaki’s tragic heroes. Thanos is a character who commits terrible atrocities believing that his actions are necessary for the greater good of the universe.

And while his desire for a better universe is valid, his actions differ sharply from this. That is where the beauty is according to Miyazaki.

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Something that’s just plainly, outwardly always beautiful doesn’t have a sense of reality to me. I like to try to create something beautiful within that tragedy.

This morally gray area adds layers to his character, making him a compelling and relatable villain. This is what makes fans appreciate the depth of his motivations, understanding that his evil deeds stem from a twisted sense of righteousness.

Miyazaki’s Approach is Deeply Interwoven to Elden Ring’s World

It's no wonder many players don't meet the requirements to access the DLC.
Radahn is a great example of Miyazaki’s approach to world design. | FromSoftware

Hidetaka Miyazaki‘s approach to this world is also apparent in Malenia’s tragic story. Malenia blames herself for her brother Miquella’s fate and her self-imposed guilt, paired with her affliction of Scarlet Rot creates a character players can testify is incredibly strong, and hauntingly beautiful.

Is Malenia considered to be good or evil?
byu/TheLoneStickk inEldenring

Players are drawn into her story when we follow the lore that leads us to find her. We feel her pain and understand her actions that have been caused and rooted in love and loss. The blend of beauty and tragedy in Malenia’s character makes her memorable.

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In the same way, Marvel’s Thanos is also not a one-dimensional villain. His willingness to commit the ultimate crime, the biggest atrocity, for what he thinks is the greater good, makes him the perfect tragic figure. 

The audience sees beyond his damning actions and witness a character driven by a deep, albeit misguided, sense of purpose. This is what makes Thanos similar to the characters Miyazaki introduces us to in Elden Ring.

Miyazaki’s ideals are deeply woven into Elden Ring’s World | FromSoftware

Hidetaka Miyazaki’s masterful creation of worlds filled with tragic beauty extends beyond Elden Ring. In Bloodborne, for example, the gothic architecture and haunting atmospheres of the game’s world show the same mastery of world design. 

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As the players, we navigate these worlds created by Miyazaki, where beauty and horror coexist, and we experience an environment that is both beautiful and haunting. This duality is a hallmark of Miyazaki’s design.

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Written by Daniel Royte

Articles Published: 171

Daniel is a gamer through and through with a passion for gaming in his veins. His current adventures have taken him into the world of Elden Ring, Wuthering Waves, and Genshin Impact, amongst others.