Interview with Bloodborne Producer Masaaki Yamagiwa

Masaaki Yamagiwa, the producer for Bloodborne, was recently in town for GameStart 2014. Speaking to Masaaki Yamagiwa in an interview, Kenneth Choong and Chen KangYi spent some time talking to Yamagiwa-san about the setting, the difficulty level and inspirations for the game.

POPCulture Online: Bloodborne is similar to dark souls, so why did you decide to do a new IP instead of going with dark souls?

Masaaki Yamagiwa: Dark souls was published on Bandai Namco and for SCE (Japan studio), we wanted to create something different in the first place. I think we managed to create some unique and new for the PlayStation 4.

Interview with Bloodborne Producer Masaaki Yamagiwa

POPCulture Online: Where did you get the inspiration for the Victorian Setting that the game is based on? Was it inspired from any particular video game or movie?

Masaaki Yamagiwa: During discussions with studio director (Hidetaka Miyazaki), the mythos and legends of Bram Stoker’s original Dracula has always come up as a motif. The other inspirations were “The mist of Cthulhu” by H.P lovecraft. Those were the main 2 influences for the design of the game.

POPCulture Online: The level that was shown to us had an extremely dark and gloomy tone. Would we play in levels with a brighter color palettes and lighter tones in the full game?

Masaaki Yamagiwa: The story takes place in a cursed town of Yharnam and Yharnam is a huge city, the level you saw was just a small part of Yharnam’s city centre. Players would be able to play in the other parts of Yharnam such as the graveyards and even a forest as the game progresses.

POPCulture Online: Will there be a day/night cycle in the game or will the game be set in the dark depressing night as seen in the demo?

Masaaki Yamagiwa: There would not be a real time day/night cycle in the game however there would be levels that would be set in both night and day. Enemy behavior would also change with the time of day.

Interview with Bloodborne Producer Masaaki Yamagiwa

POPCulture Online: Many have drawn parallels between Bloodborne and Demon/Dark souls where cautious play was the ideal way to avoid death; however compared to the former, Bloodborne feels faster and rewards aggression/aggressive play. Does this change of alter the difficulty of the game in any way?

Masaaki Yamagiwa: The team’s intention was not to actually raise the bar in terms of the difficulty level which would make the game borderline unplayable. Instead we introduced a faster and more aggressive combat style which rewards aggressive play. We wanted to make the player feel that he won because he moved and attacked aggressively instead of a more passive style of play (blocking and parrying).

We are also afraid of the game being publisized as “Hardcore” or difficult due to its parallels with Dark/Demon Souls. The team’s initial intention was not to create a game for “Hardcore” gamers, we actually feel that Bloodborne is an accessible game. It might be a little difficult for some however there are many solutions to the different adversities in the game. We want to make sure that players would not need extreme manual dexterity in order to fully enjoy the game.

We wish to reassure fans that the game will not be more difficult compared to Dark Souls because if Bloodborne was any more difficult, the game would pretty much be unplayable. (Follows with strings of laughter). As such, in terms of the difficulty, it would be the same or lower compared to Dark Souls. Changing the difficulty in game is not the goal. Our goal is for players to feel the satisfaction in overcoming their enemies.

Our intention is for players to feel the joy of overcoming the challenges of defeating enemies.

POPCulture Online: Do you have any tips for players who are new to the game or are just jumping in?

Masaaki Yamagiwa: Bloodborne is a very fast paced which is unlike Dark/Demon Souls. To succeed in the game, one would need to use the various mechanics implemented in the game. One of which is the Rally system which allows the player to regain lost health by counter attacking the enemy swift enough instead of just blocking and shielding yourself. The system harkens back to our intention to make Bloodborne a very fast paced game.

POPCulture Online: The combat system this time around is unique as you mix around between dual wielding and a mix of 2 single weapons on each hand. Does this alter the gameplay by any means?

Masaaki Yamagiwa: In the demo, you can choose between 4 weapons from a variation of light and heavy weapons. This also depends on the battle situation as each weapon has a variation in terms of shape and size. You can change this in during gameplay. At this point, we are introducing 4 weapons so players can choose which type of weapons suit their style of gameplay.

Interview with Bloodborne Producer Masaaki Yamagiwa

POPCulture Online: Are there any big surprises for Dark Soul players or veterans coming into Bloodborne?

Masaaki Yamagiwa: The most visible differences would be combat system. Bloodborne is much more aggressive a game compared to Dark Souls. Horror, Fear of dying in game and fear of the enemies is one of the elements. That being said, each enemy has a weakness and players can learn from experience in order to overcome a seemingly undefeatable enemy.

Thank you Yamagiwa-san for your time.

Bloodborne is being developed by From Software and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. The game is slated for a 5th February 2015 (here in Singapore) release exclusively on the PlayStation 4. We hope you enjoyed this article and do stay tuned to POPCulture Online for more GameStart 2014 coverage

Photos by Nicole Then

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