Dark Souls director Hidetaka Miyazaki revealed that he won't be directly involved in the production of Dark Souls 2.
We knew he'd handed of the directing reins to Tomohiro Shibuya and Yui Tanimura, and that Miyazaki would be hanging around in a supervisor position, but it was unclear what exactly that entailed. In a recent interview with Edge, Miyazaki clarified that he would hardly be involved in the game's development at all.
"I will not be involved in the actual development of Dark Souls 2," he said. "I want to clarify that I will be a supervisor, not the actual director or producer."
So what will he be doing then? It appears that he'll mostly be managing the production schedule and working on the game's online component. "I'm aware that many fans were a little bit frustrated about Dark Souls in terms of the scheduling - more specifically speaking, about the patches that we've released," he said. "I really regretted that, so I reviewed all those kinds of things that I worked on in Dark Souls to make sure that Dark Souls 2 is ready on time."
He also noted that he'll be overseeing the transition from a peer-to-peer online system to server-based network play, which should make for a better online experience.
"I'm looking forward to playing Dark Souls 2 not as part of the development team, but with a little bit of distance."
Hidetaka Miyazaki, Dark Souls director, From Software
Miyazaki's resignation as series director was "a company decision," according to Namco Bandai producer Takeshi Miyazoe. "Miyazaki worked on Demon's Souls and Dark Souls, but for the IP to evolve and provide a new experience within the Dark Souls world the new wind from directors Shibuya and Tanimura is key to providing players with [a] brand new Dark Souls experience. In order to maintain the expectations and satisfaction and the rewards that players experience, this was the right time to bring in the new characteristics and taste[s of the directors] for this series to continue on evolving."
The former director didn't seem too bothered by this, as it's a.) giving him the chance to head up a new mystery project - which he sadly can't say anything about, and b.) it allows him to play a Souls game for the first time as an outsider.
"I [wouldn't] really care for Dark Souls 8 to come out. That's not the point."
Hidetaka Miyazaki, Dark Souls director, From Software
"I'm not one to restrict the potential that Dark Souls has by insisting that only I can work on the titles," he said. "I want new expressions. It's true that I'm sad about not being involved in the development of Dark Souls 2, because I've worked on Demon's Souls and Dark Souls' development for the past five years. I really love those two titles; however, maybe this is the time to have new inspiration, so I'm fine about that."
"I'm looking forward to playing Dark Souls 2 not as part of the development team, but with a little bit of distance," he added. "Everybody knows what the core of Dark Souls is - the dev team does, the fans do, the media does - and that will never change. I [wouldn't] really care for Dark Souls 8 to come out. That's not the point. It's more, 'What do the fans want?' We want to stay true to what they expect."
While much of the sequel is enshrouded in mystery, Dark Souls 2 co-director Tomohiro Shibuya revealed a few tiny details to Edge. First off, he confirmed that it will be a direct sequel and take place in the same universe, if not the same locales.
"The concept of time and the existence of time is something that will be key to Dark Souls 2."
Tomohiro Shibuya, Dark Souls 2 co-director, From Software
"If Lordran was to be an area in a world called, say, Earth, the setting of this game will be somewhere completely different," he explained. "The two places won't necessarily interact directly with each other, but, from a visual concept [standpoint] at least, it will be within the same world."
He also cryptically noted, "The concept of time and the existence of time is something that will be key to Dark Souls 2." This was an idea briefly explored in Dark Soul's Artorias of the Abyss DLC where the player character was whisked away to a previous era.
Shibuya said that he'd like the sequel to have the same "general feel" as Dark Souls and he doesn't intend to change the controls. He will however try to make some of the more esoteric concepts like covenants easier to grasp.
"I personally feel that the covenant system was something that was difficult to fully absorb and experience [in] Dark Souls, and I intend to make it more accessible to players," he explained. "And that's not just with the covenant system, but with a lot of other aspects that I felt were difficult to fully adapt to."
"I will follow the same concept as Dark Souls, but there were a lot of hidden story elements that some players may not have caught before, and I'm hoping to make some of that a little bit more clear or directly expressed to the player as well - not just in the story, but messaging. A lot of elements were very subtle in Dark Souls, and that was something that was characteristic to Dark Souls. But I personally am the sort of person who likes to be more direct instead of subtle, so I think that part of me will [result in] a difference [for] players when they pick up Dark Souls 2. It will be more straightforward and more understandable."
Shibuya ended the interview by noting the game was roughly 25 per cent finished. He refused to comment on whether it would be completed by the end of the calender year, but it's seeming increasingly unlikely.