The first time I played one of Hidetaka Miyazaki’s games, I was miserable. I kept dying on the first enemy over and over again. But when I slowed down my approach, paying attention to the details, it all of a sudden clicked. I managed to defeat the enemy and advance further into the game. I earned my progress and felt a sort of rush! And as I moved forward in the game, I was much more deliberate, careful in how I explored this world. And in return the world rewarded me with tension, beauty, and surprises.
That’s why Elden Ring—his massively popular 2022 hit—is a great ambassador for video games and the unique feelings they can effect in the player, feelings that a passive medium like TV can never re-create. Miyazaki’s games make the player feel accomplished and smart—and it’s all thanks to his and his team’s uncompromising approach. He refuses to overexplain the mechanics or the lore, but rather puts his trust in the player to figure it out on their own.
Druckmann, a video-game developer, co-created The Last of Us game and television series
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