When ranking boss fights, Miyazaki is "most proud" of the Old Monk from Demon's Souls


Game developers share their favorite Souls, Bloodborne, and Sekiro bosses

Not every boss out of From Software is a winner, but the highlights are some of the best in the biz. The sense of dread, the adrenaline, the eventual payoff — ahh, it’s so good!

We’d heard before that From Software president Hidetaka Miyazaki has a soft spot for the Old Monk — a fight that can flip the script with a bit of player-vs.-player madness in hilarious and frustratingly wonky but often tense ways — and he’s sticking with it.

In a PlayStation Blog article rounding up various game developers’ favorite bosses plucked from the FromSoft catalog, Miyazaki explained his love for the Old Monk.

“If we’re talking about a boss that I’m ‘most proud of‘ (to use those specific words), it would probably be the Old Monk from Demon’s Souls. The reason being is there was a lot of pushback against that design and what we were trying to do with it. But it was something I really, really wanted to do.

I wanted to get that boss concept into the game, both from a visual design perspective and gameplay perspective, including the multiplayer element. From both the implementation and fun factor, we got a lot of pushback, and no one believed in it at the time. But in the end, we came through, and I think it turned into an intriguing boss that the fans appreciated.

With Demon’s Souls, there were a lot of mechanics throughout the development that were difficult to design. For instance, the asynchronous online features were complicated, but I think the Old Monk encompasses those tribulations and how we pushed through and made something we were proud of.”

Here’s an example of a chaotic Old Monk bout working as intended:

And here’s, well, this. Players always find a way.

Parry & riposte through Old Monk fog gate! from demonssouls

Not to knock Miyazaki’s affection for this flawed gem — that fight is super memorable.

Other dev-favorite bosses mentioned in the PlayStation Blog round-up include Ornstein and Smough from Dark Souls, the Nameless King from Dark Souls III, Ludwig from Bloodborne, and the Guardian Ape from Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. There’s too many!

I do not envy the talented group of designers, artists, programmers, and planners who have to come together to bring bosses to life and push themselves to keep upping the ante. It’s not enough to just dream up and execute on a cool creature design, moveset, and surrounding lore — the boss also needs to put up an interesting challenge that keeps all types of players on their toes. It’s so much more than raw “difficulty,” you know?

When it comes to games like Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls, and to an extent Bloodborne that offer a range of potentially ridiculous character builds, I can’t even imagine the minutia involved in designing. Sekiro, on the other hand, has such a narrow my-way-or-the-highway ferocity for its protagonist Wolf. I personally loved it. I mean, I hated spending hours on just the final fight, but I loved the exhausted release after finally overcoming it.

If you’re curious, that’s my number-one pick. That said, I hope and expect to see someone (or something?) from Elden Ring making it onto a future “best bosses” list.

As a curious explorer who likes to imagine what’s lurking out of sight, I’m definitely drawn into these worlds for their atmosphere — but I keep replaying them for their bosses.

[Image Credit: Video Games Source]