Soul Mates: 'The Last Guardian' Director Ueda and 'Dark Souls' Creator Miyazaki

Ueda says Miyazaki is "one of the few game designers that creates concepts that can only be expressed through video games"

Last month Glixel spoke with Dark Souls creator, Hidetaka Miyazaki, to discuss what inspired him to make his acclaimed dark fantasy RPGs. The first, and most important of these was the 2001 cult-favorite PlayStation action-adventure Ico, created by Fumito Ueda the game director also responsible for The Last Guardian, released this week for PlayStation 4.

Though Miyazaki cites Ueda's Ico as the reason he quit his job as an account manager for Oracle and begin working as a game developer, the two have never had the chance to speak or show their appreciation for one another. During our interview with Miyazaki we gave them that opportunity.

Since your own work has been so heavily influenced by Fumito Ueda, if you could ask him anything, what would you ask?

Hidetaka Miyazaki: Yikes, that makes me nervous just thinking about it. As those close to me already know, I'm a huge fan of Mr. Ueda. I really wouldn't be able to avoid asking questions from the perspective of a fan, so I'd need your understanding in that respect. Hmm, what can I say? If I were 30 years old and just starting out, I'd ask him to comment on what he believes is the core attraction of his work. The experience of playing an Ueda game is very special, and I'd be interested if he can objectively consider the uniqueness of his masterful direction style. I know he comes from an animation background. So, did these games have to have animation that made them feel life-like or so they'd feel like something you could really understand? Or was it the main game theme, or something else? What was in his soul or in his mind when he made these games that he knew had to be included, and done "just right" for that game to be successful for him as a creator. I'll be very surprised if he answers this question. He'll probably be mad at me.

Fumito Ueda: Every game I’ve directed has started with a set of core qualities in mind, but these qualities change with every project. It may be 'motion' or new mechanic developments in how we interact in the game. These can be affected by the industry trends and advancing technology at the time of development. I also strive to polish every aspect of the game. But, I think the thing that I really cannot control or alter – and is sometimes overwhelming to me – is maintaining the consistency and elegance of the entire project.

If you could define the core quality of Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, and The Last Guardian in a few words each, what would they be?
If I had to describe the keywords for each of these games, I would say...

  • Ico: Holding hands, girl, crime, protect, eroticism.
  • Shadow of the Colossus: Clinging, enormous enemy, punishment, battle, violence.
  • The Last Guardian: Affection, gigantic friend, pardon, friends, comfort.

How does it feel to know that Ico was the game that made Miyazaki become a game maker?
I’m greatly honored by this because he is one of the few game designers that creates concepts that can only be expressed through the medium of video games. Ico was the first game that I directed, so there are a lot of shortcomings in it, but it’s still the most memorable for me.