Hidetaka Miyazaki has recently been named president of From Software (developers of the Souls games). Miyazaki was the director on critically acclaimed titles Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls (the latter being my favourite game ever), though he merely served a supervisory position on Dark Souls 2, due to working on a yet unannounced title at the same time.
Recently, From Software were bought by the publisher Kadokawa (who put out Suda 51’s Lollipop Chainsaw and Killer is Dead) and this is one of the first changes we’ve heard of at the company. From Software have grown hugely in popularity in the last few years, due to those excellent Souls games, but there was a degree of uncertainty as to what the purchase meant. If this promotion is anything to go by though, things look pretty good.
From Software have a bit of a mixed record outside of the Souls games, putting the main man from them in charge of the company inspires more confidence in From as a whole. This is a man who has proven himself with a new IP and an impressive sequel, showing an ability to create and iterate intelligently. It also perhaps shows that Kadokawa understands where From’s talents lie and wishes to focus on these. Miyazaki has definitely earned this place and it’s nice to see a great deal of apparent faith being put in him.
This also may mean a continued focus on Souls games. We’ve seen hints of their new title and it has serious Souls vibes to it, so the future of From sure looks Soulsy. This may not be the case though, as we actually know nothing about the project that Miyazaki is working on (it's apparent leaks and rumours at this stage), but I would presume that even if it isn’t Souls in name it will be Souls in nature. The surprise popularity of the Souls series has established it as From’s poster child, meaning that it is probably what Kadokawa are interested in. After all, it’s been a consistent solid hitter that has garnered a lot of excitement.
There is the danger of over exposure though. Demon’s Souls was a very daring new IP and one that seemed awful in concept (from a business point of view). It’s not the kind of game you can imagine money minded publishers investing in, as it seemed so contrary to what people wanted at that time. Now the series is established, those games will continue, but I fear that another brave new IP from From may be a bit unlikely now. This is due both to a probable continued Souls focus (or focus on those kind of games) and their purchase by a publisher.
However, if Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2 have proven anything (and they’ve proven so much), it’s that this company knows how to make an interesting sequel. It knows how to make it importantly distinct, yet still capture so much of the brilliance of previous entries. For this reason alone, I’m not too bothered by an all Souls future (as long as they don’t really milk it). There’s still a lot of room to do things interesting here and we could come to a Kojima like position. Kojima is stuck making Metal Gear, but he can pretty much do what he wants as long as he labels it Metal Gear. I’m all for a situation where Miyazaki can technically do whatever he wants, just as long as he puts Souls in the title.
The bottom line of all of this is that I have a lot of faith in Miyazaki and think that his promotion is excellent news. It puts him in control and when he is in control of their games he makes the best ones. The future is looking good for From Software! Praise the sun.