From Software’s game director Hidetaka Miyazaki has been recognized as one of Time Magazine’s top 100 most influential people in the world for 2023. Miyazaki earned the honor in the “Innovator” section, further cementing his contribution to the gaming industry through his work in the critically acclaimed games such as Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Elden Ring. In Neil Druckmann’s profile for Time, he praised Miyazaki’s uncompromising approach to game design, where he trusts the player to figure everything out on their own, thereby making the player feel smart and accomplished. “Miyazaki’s games originally made me feel miserable with my character dying over and over again, but the challenge compounded my love for his work. He’s a great designer,” Druckmann said.
Not the First Time for A Game Designer
Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of the iconic Mario, was the first game designer to make Time Magazine’s list, doing so in 2007. Other well-known names in entertainment, sports, and politics, including Colin Farrell, Pedro Pascal, Jennifer Coolidge, Joe Biden, and Elon Musk, were also named in the top 100 most influential people in the world for 2023.
Future Prospects for From Software and Elden Ring
The Elden Ring game was among 2022’s best-selling video games, and the forthcoming launch of Shadow of the Erdtree expansion is anticipated to make the game even more popular. From Software has advertised job openings for multiple upcoming games, but it remains unknown what Miyazaki’s next moves will be. In any case, accolades and recognitions such as the Time Magazine recognition will only amplify the excitement for his upcoming projects.
The Miyazaki Touch
Miyazaki’s games have an exclusive feature where players feel immense satisfaction when they overcome the steep challenges by themselves without any hand-holding. Miyazaki requires the player to connect the dots, which necessitates sharp observation, analytical thinking, and creativity. The lack of a tutorial or a map may initially alienate some players; however, once they learn to navigate the game’s internal logic, the satisfaction of their hard work comes as a significant reward.
The Philosophy of Game Difficulty
“We don’t necessarily deceive the player, but we don’t give them everything on a silver platter either; game design is about balance,” Miyazaki explains in Time Magazine. Miyazaki’s philosophy of game difficulty presents a fresh perspective on what gamers expect, going against prevalent trends in the industry. There is an unadulterated joy derived from the feeling that the gamer can conquer anything, and that sensation bolsters their self-confidence and develops critical thinking. By overcoming the cycle of failure and success in Miyazaki’s games, players enhance their ability to persist through difficult tasks, master their skills, calculate their decisions, learn from their mistakes, and develop resilience.
Miyazaki’s inclusion in Time Magazine’s list is just the latest of the many accolades he has earned throughout his tenure as a game designer. His inventiveness, unrelenting standards, and innovative game design make him a worthy addition to the ranks of game developers recognized for improving the medium of video games through the years. Miyazaki reveals that game design, at its core, is about balance, and by maintaining that balance, he has been able to create some of the most critically-acclaimed games in the industry. We can only hope that with his continued commitment to complex, challenging games, he can inspire others to strive for similar heights of innovation, development, and creativity.