Why are Hidetaka Miyazaki’s Elden Ring stories intentionally confusing

The idea that Miyazaki’s reckless style of storytelling is actually a kind of tribute to the ways in which he (and most other kids) try to make sense of complex business is certainly a great one. It also seems accurate. After all, in a 2015 interview with The Guardian, Miyazaki revealed that he grew up “very poor” and incredibly curious. As such, he often had to rely on whatever works he could find in the local library whenever he wanted to dive into a fantasy world. The writer suggests that Miyazaki admits that he didn’t always understand the books he could find in the library, but he learned to enjoy the process of discovering those works to the best of his ability by letting his imagination fill in the blanks.

This fact makes a lot of sense. I’m sure Miyazaki isn’t alone in asserting that he was able to enjoy many pieces of fiction at a young age even if he didn’t fully understand them. Who among us hasn’t seen a single movie or read a single book that was a little over our heads but resonated with us in some way that we couldn’t quite explain?

More importantly, getting to know the inspiration for Miyazaki’s storytelling style makes it very easy to appreciate what his games do (or at least try to do) from a storytelling and world-building perspective. While it’s easy to criticize the unconventional stories of most Soulsborne games just because they aren’t easy to understand, looking at those stories through a more traditional critical and analytical lens also robs them of their power. Many of Soulsborne’s best stories inspire a Feeling You don’t need to be able to define it simply to appreciate it.

In those games, it is often more important to appreciate the feeling that something important is going on rather than the need to understand exactly what that thing is. Of course, like that of the best mystery storytellers (David Lynch, for example), it’s the fact that Miyazaki’s stories are still under close scrutiny that ultimately makes them as impressive as they are. If you need it to make sense, it can make sense. Of course, it can sometimes be so easy to fall into the trap of having to “explain” everything that you forget to appreciate the intentional ambiguity of something and how that ambiguity was designed to inspire you to fill in the blanks or simply learn to love what you don’t know.

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