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MGS5 designer refutes Inafune’s Japanese industry criticisms

Wednesday, 4 September 2013 23:44 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Kojima Productions’ Jordan Amaro has said the Japanese games industry has not “gotten worse”, as Mega Man and Mighty No. 9 creator Keiji Inafune claimed this week, and suggested detractors might do better to stop ‘complaining to journalists’ and get to work making it better.

In a chat with Gamespot, Amaro disagreed with Inafune’s position.

“It’s not gotten worse. That kind of comment used to be relevant a couple of years ago but many companies are recovering, and have made tough strategic decisions that will pay off soon,” he said.

“I can assure you that everyone here is aware of how painful the current gen has been to Japan, but I see the Renaissance around the corner. Stop dramatizing and start working on it like we are,” he added.

“Sure it’s not easy, but do you hear us complain to journalists every few months? Discretion, humility, and hard work are the way to go about this.”

Amaro said Inafune’s complaints are demoralising, and paint an inaccurate picture of the Japanese development scene. He said that although not every western production habit is “good, productive, or even adaptable to a Japanese work environment”, Japanese developers are aware of international processes and are incrementally updating their own. Japanese companies are also hiring from other countries, Amaro added; PS4 lead system architect Mark Cerny, for example.

It’s not like the western games industry is perfect, he went on.

“There’s no question we need a Japanese regain in the game market, especially in AAAs. I’m personally suffocating from the lack of creativity and subtlety exhibited during the last few years in Western AAAs,” Amaro said.

“A lot of them have become recipes, where a spreadsheet game design is bluntly applied to the environment with little consideration to the actual experience, removing any sense of discovery and magic. But hey, they sell millions right, so who’s to blame?”

The full interview includes some interesting comments on the difference in how games are perceived on both sides of the international divide, among other observations.

Amaro worked at Crytek and 2K Czech before landing a designer role at Kojima Productions.

Thanks, GamesIndustry.

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17 Comments

  1. salarta

    Pfft, the way both Japanese and Western developers treat their old IPs increasingly worse as time goes on out of greed and egotistical fantasies proves Amaro wrong.

    Amaro may be accurate in what he’s working on, with Kojima Productions, but he’s one man on one project with one of the mere handful of development teams that actually care about what they’re making AND don’t have higher-ups that screw things up. He’s speaking as someone in a place of luxury. He’s in a fortunate situation. Other people are not.

    Inafune knows this much better than Amaro can even begin to imagine. Inafune’s the one that actually had to deal with the problems that led to his criticisms. Amaro has not. He might think differently if Konami was a lot more aggressive in trying to control what Kojima Productions does, which would match what most other well known companies do with their development teams (Capcom, Squeenix, Nintendo, to name a few).

    #1 2 years ago
  2. pcbros

    It’s no secret the Japanese games industry has gotten worse. Companies like Capcom, Square, and Konami were kings in their day. Now a days, you have to think twice before buying one of their games.

    In some ways, Nintendo is one of the few Japanese companies that has kept true to themselves (by not being influenced by the latest trends) and continues to release successful games.

    I really hope the Japanese games industry returns to their glory days :D

    #2 2 years ago
  3. salarta

    @2: That’s not really accurate, concerning Nintendo. They’re better than some other companies, but they’ve also told developers being financially backed by them to change content as far in as the tone of their games (The Last Story). Nintendo of America also originally refused to bring over any of the Operation Rainfall games more or less because they thought JRPGs weren’t as profitable as other genres. It was only after a huge internet campaign that Nintendo actually listened.

    In both cases, Nintendo made decisions and pushed changes based on what they saw of the latest trends.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. hitnrun

    Part of it is their fault – the tremendous mechanical and narrative conservatism of Japanese game designers can literally cause nausea in a person.

    Part of it was inevitable, though. The early days of game tech brought together East and West under a common culture in a way that could never have survived the transition to increasingly realistic 3D and more storage space.

    An explanation of this could go on for paragraphs, but the simplest way to explain it is this: I loathe anime, but Chrono Trigger is one of my top 5 games of all time. If CT were a AAA title today, it would be a quasi-anime game. It was in 1995, in fact: look at the concept art.

    Sprites and simple polygons approach a universal language in the same way that instrumental music does. The technological limitations bridged a cultural gap in our minds.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Clupula

    I’m glad to see someone call Inafune out, for once.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. GregSolidus

    Is he wrong?

    #6 2 years ago
  7. darthroseman

    He called him out, but Inafune has been TRYING to makegames, but CCap com wouldn’t let him. And he also didn’t give examples as to why it isn’t worse, instead saying, “it will be better,” thus negating his own comment. Though, don’t know if this was Japanese being translated, which, who knows what he really said/meant.

    Side-note: the biggest thing to hurt the gaming industry in Japan is the same thing that hurt all of Japan: the tsunami disaster. Want to know why Metal Gear: Rising came out so late, and was made by Platinum? Konami cancelled it after the tsunami because they didn’t have time or resources for it. Then Platinum took on the job. Same thing happened to FF13 Versus (I’m speculating this one though.)

    #7 2 years ago
  8. salarta

    @4: This is very accurate, and also gets at the biggest problem the industry faces, companies obsessed with trying to be more like Hollywood. Everything’s about trying to be as realistic and like movies as possible, but there’s that loss in how video games can be when treated truly like their own medium.

    @7: Exactly. Amaro is newer and better off in the industry compared to Inafune’s decades of experience and what he was dealing with out of Capcom. It’s extremely easy to think “Oh it’s not as bad as it used to be” when you’re immersed in an environment that’s positive. As for FF13 Versus, I think that was just Squeenix kicking it back constantly because of their obsession with giving Toriyama a huge push he didn’t deserve. The Versus team members kept getting hijacked off the game to work on other projects, including FF13 and 3rd Birthday.

    Though if the tsunami caused the change from Versus 13 to FF15, then I can say that at least one good thing came out of the tsunami. Though of course, it would’ve been much better if the tsunami never happened. I had been saying ever since “FF13″ came out that Versus 13 may as well be a main entry because it had far more right to being called a Final Fantasy game than what they tried to pull with FF13, so the change to FF15 was one of only two things Squeenix has done in the past ten years that blew me away with delight. The other was the announcement and eventual release of FF4DS, as at the time I thought there was no way in hell of a 3D remake happening for FF4.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. ayman03

    I am with Inafune on this one

    #9 2 years ago
  10. OlderGamer

    “An explanation of this could go on for paragraphs, but the simplest way to explain it is this: I loathe anime, but Chrono Trigger is one of my top 5 games of all time. If CT were a AAA title today, it would be a quasi-anime game. It was in 1995, in fact: look at the concept art.”

    Spot on +1

    As tech continues to make games more advanced(graphics) many JPN games continue to alienate western gamers. I used to love JRPGs, buying everything I could, even importing. Now I won’t touch them. The voice overs, the arts styles, that one or two extremely irritating character/s. Also, something todays game world has that they didn’t in the 80s/90s…western choices. I would rather play Skyrim, Torchlight, or Diablo III then Fairy Fencer.

    I think the same is true for a lot of the JPN games.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Clupula

    @10 – And every single thing you said is a matter of opinion. I have no interest in Skyrim, Torchlight, or Diablo III, but Fairy Fencer looks really interesting to me.

    It’s all a matter of personal tastes, that you are bringing up.

    As for Chrono Trigger, if Chrono Trigger were being done today, I suspect it’d resemble Ni No Kuni.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Clupula

    @7 – I also got the impression that Metal Gear Solid: Rising kinda sucked before Platinum was involved with it, as Kojima had canceled it, due to it not meeting their expectations.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Clupula

    The point is, though, that Western AAA gaming has just as many predictable troupes and cliches as Japanese AAA gaming. The only difference is which ones you personally prefer. And if it’s a choice between a Call of Duty title every year, or a Yakuza title every year, I’d personally choose a Yakuza title.

    But that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with either style of development.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. salarta

    @10: “that one or two extremely irritating character/s” That reminds me of what happened with me concerning Blazblue. I loved the first game, Kokonoe became my favorite character despite being an NPC. The second game, they introduced the first character I ever truly hated for the character herself, Platinum. And what do they decide to do? Make Platinum, the absolutely atrociously annoying and awful little girl character, into a playable character with her own full-fledged story portion. And Kokonoe still isn’t playable; they decided that rather than make Kokonoe playable like so many people want to see, they’d suddenly come up with three completely brand new characters never even hinted at for the third game.

    I’m not saying they have to cater to my personal whims, they’re the creators, it’s their IP, they have more than a right to do what they want with it. But what I’m saying is that this utterly annoying character completely killed the interest I had in the Blazblue franchise. I absolutely hated every single scene where I had to suffer through Platinum’s awfulness, and that was BEFORE she became a playable characters. There’s no way I’m going to pay for something that puts a lot of emphasis on things that make me hate playing the game and almost none on the things that I like about it.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Clupula

    @14 – Good. I don’t have to worry about playing against you online then.

    However, it does deprive me of humiliating you as Platinum, since she’s one of my favorite characters in the series.

    Kokonoe should never be playable. She’s not a fighter. She’s a scientist.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Resident gamer

    I have been playing games long enough to notice a large decline in general quality of both Japanese and Western games. It’s easy to say things aren’t that bad when you are working in a creative and positive workplace (I mean working on the next MGS) but when you have been trying to make good games and all you see coming from companies is a ton of bad games you can clearly see that things are really bad for the game industry. Also Inafune has been around longer and would know more about how things have degraded.

    Inafune is right on this one.

    Amaro is working with some of the very best, so it’s very hard for me to believe him when he says that things aren’t so bad. Things are really bad, just because he is working on something great doesn’t mean that the whole industry is getting better.

    I really don’t like how Amaro really digs after Inafune like he should keep his mouth shut, Inafune is a old game developer and we care what he has to say, and from his experience I would trust what he says. Without people acknowledging that the gaming industry is a really bad mess how are we gonna fix it, keeping our mouths shut about how bad it is is not gonna fix the problem.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. Clupula

    @16 – Please, Inafune’s just old and bitter and has some weird hate-on for his country. Let us not forget some of the absolute shit ideas he’s had over the last few years. DmC, anyone? That was Inafune’s doing. Or how about Ninja Gaiden Z? Yes, the man made Megaman a thousand years ago and that was fun, and I look forward to that other game that looks exactly like Megaman he just designed.

    But really, what has he done lately that was worth a shit? He’s just talking up now because there’s a resergence of Japanese gaming and it makes him butthurt that people are starting to buy things again that go against his flawed logic.

    This guy is 100% right that Inafune should just shut his mouth and either make something that blows everybody else away or go away. All he’s doing is poisoning morale with his bullshit right now.

    #17 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Microsoft’s April Games with Gold collection is being doubled. For the month Xbox Live Gold members will receive six instead of three games free. Here’s what’s on offer: Pool Nation FX: Available all month on Xbox One Child of Light: Available all month on Xbox One Gears of War: Judgment: Available from April 1-15 on […]

  • Pokemon players can grab a code for Shiny Charizard at GAME in April

    Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire players along with Pokemon X and Y owners can grab a free, rare Shiny Charizard from April 3 at one of GAME’s 320 stores in the UK. The redeemable codes for the character will be made available upon request and no purchase is necessary. Those who pop into one […]

  • F1 2015 will arrive on PC, PS4 and Xbox One in June, includes Mexico circuit

    Codemasters has announced its F1 franchise will make its series debut on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this June with the release of F1 2015. The game was developed using a new engine and contains improved handling and physics for all vehicles and parts attached. This includes: engine, transmission, aerodynamics, fuel tank, force feedback, suspension […]

  • Mortal Kombat X video confirms Liu Kang as playable character

    Liu Kang has been confirmed as a playable character in Mortal Kombat X in the latest video. You’ll also notice Bo’ Rai Cho in there as well. In the Shaolin trailer above you also get a look at Kung Lao and Kung Jin who is new to the series. Apparently, Raiden’s past champions of the […]

  • Short teaser for Star Wars: Battlefront shows the Battle of Hoth

    A short teaser for Star Wars: Battlefront has been posted by EA on Twitter. Well, that speeder isn't going anywhere. Can someone give us a lift to @SW_Celebration http://t.co/srEVrAA0zl #SWCA https://t.co/4W4LG8myke — EAStarWars (@EAStarWars) March 25, 2015 The teaser shows vehicles which we could be using in the game, but it mainly shows the snowy landscape […]

  • Pillars of Eternity releases today – get all the review scores here

    Pillars of Eternity, which still stands as the second most-funded video game on Kickstarter, finally releases today. It’s also getting some rather positive reviews scores, which we’ve rounded up for you. The isometric, party-based RPG from Obsidian Entertainment was one of the first video game projects to take to Kickstarter, and hit its $1.1 million […]

  • Take an in-depth look at Evolve’s Behemoth monster and four new hunters

    Evolve’s fourth monster, the Behemoth, as well as the four new hunters are shown off in new gameplay video. Evolve’s latest gameplay trailer gives everyone a good look at each of the four new hunters and the massive Behemoth monster. The hunters can be bought either separately or though the hunting pass, while the monster […]

  • PS4 firmware update 2.50 causing issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall

    The suspend/resume feature in PlayStation 4′s 2.50 firmware update is causing some issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall. Killzone: Shadow Fall developer Guerrilla has said that the game is experiencing some issues in some instance where the suspend/resume feature is used. The timing of when players put the game in suspend mode does have an effect, […]

  • Bungie on Destiny matchmaking: “We believe there’s no substitute for a pre-made team”

    Crazy though this may seem, it’s possible that Destiny shipped according to plan. History points to community as a crucial component, far from the contingency that many now suspect. Paul Davies spoke to Bungie for clarity. “The community always engineers the best solutions for bringing players together. While Matchmaking is a great resource for introducing […]

  • Bloodborne works with suspend/resume, but only offline

    PlayStation 4′s newly-added suspend/resume feature works with Bloodborne as you’d expect, but only while offline. PlayStation 4 received the long-awaited suspend/resume feature today as part of firmware 2.50, and people are starting to test it out with various games. Bloodborne does work with the feature, but only if you play offline. Playing online is arguably […]

  • This is what Crossy Road looks like in first-person

    Crossy Road is fun and addictive. But in first-person, it’s mostly frightening. YouTube user Andy Front Films likes Crossy Road so much he decided to show off what it would look like in first-person. If crossing roads quickly and watching around for cars and trains, all of this as the camera chases you felt intense […]

  • Take a small behind-the-scenes peek at Mass Effect 4

    BioWare cinematic director Ken Thain has given us a very slim look behind the scenes at some motion capture work from the upcoming Mass Effect game. The upcoming Mass Effect game, whether it ends up being called Mass Effect 4 or not, will most definitely incorporate some form of motion capture work. How do we […]

  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection – 8GB day one patch on PS4, 16GB on Xbox One

    Day one patches for Borderlands: The Handsome Collection are pretty hefty. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection require players to download lots of gigabytes to make the experience as smooth as possible. The PlayStation 4 version has an 8.31GB day one patch. The Xbox One version however has […]

  • Get a PlayStation 4 with Bloodborne and The Last of Us for $435

    If you’ve been waiting for the perfect game to get to buy a PlayStation 4, there’s no better time than the present. Amazon is offering a good PlayStation 4 bundle at the moment. For $434.99, you get a PlayStation 4 console, The Last of Us, and Bloodborne. The Last of Us is of course the […]

  • Upcoming Battlefield Hardline patch to nerf the K10, buff battle rifles

    Battlefield Hardline’s first patch will focus on weapon balance and a few changes have been proposed. Battlefield Hardline lead multiplayer designer Thaddeus Sasser posted a few of the balance changes that the team is considering for the next patch. K10: reduce bullet damage to 33 Saiga and PTR: reduce recoil to bring more in line […]

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and a new Resident Evil game coming this year, according to research firm

    According to digital games analyst SuperData, a new Resident Evil game is due this fall and that this year’s Call of Duty is Black Ops 3. In its latest report on digital console games, research and analytics firm SuperData revealed that a new Resident Evil is coming this fall. “We anticipate this month’s downturn to […]

  • Bloodborne: you can add gestures to your messages

    As players get deeper into Bloodborne, they keep uncovering so many of its little new additions, including this one. Bloodborne, like all of the Souls games before it, allows players to leave messages for other players. These messages could be used to point players towards impending doom, treasure, or just be sarcastic and witty. What […]

  • PlayStation 4 firmware update 2.50 is now live

    PlayStation 4 firmware update version 2.50 has started rolling out. Reports are coming in saying that Yukimura, PlayStation 4′s firmware 2.50 has been made available to download. The update is clocking in at just 245mb, so get downloading. 2.50 brings with it many new additions, including the suspend/resume feature, backup and restore, accessibility options and […]

  • Harley Quinn DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight is a prequel

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s Harley Quinn pre-order DLC is set before the events of the main game, according to Amazon’s description. Today we learned a few details about the pre-order DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight, namely the Harley Quinn one. According to the description on Amazon, the DLC takes place in the lead-up to the events […]

  • Bloodborne Vicar Amelia summon mystery solved

    Bloodborne players unable to summon near Vicar Amelia: here’s your solution. Bloodborne’s secrets are unfolding by the hour as clever players piece together From Software’s cunning design. Yesterday we reported problems summoning in the Cathedral Ward, before the Vicar Amelia boss fight. It turns out this isn’t a bug – or if it is, it’s […]

  • Steven Spielberg will direct film adaption of Ready Player One

    Steven Spielberg will direct the film adaption of the sci-fi, virtual world, video game themed novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Warner Bros. bought the rights to the film in June 2010 and hired screenwriter Zak Penn to rewrite the previous draft written by Eric Eason, according to Deadline. The book takes place in […]

  • Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets shouldn’t forget about the custom audio

    Here’s a friendly reminder for Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets: be sure to download the Headset Companion App from the PlayStation store if you haven’t already. As previously reported, the game supports a custom Bloodborne audio mode which can be uploaded. It contains custom audio created by developers specifically tuned to enhance the audio. This […]

  • EA explains why FIFA Ultimate Team transfer prices are now platform specific

    EA has posted a blog entry explaining its FIFA Ultimate Team transfer market price ranges which now include platform-specific pricing in order to best the coin sellers. EA said it has implemented the changes to FUT over the last several weeks because it should be “fair and fun for every player,” ultimately coming to the […]

  • Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness now available

    In case you forgot, Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness was released today. It is available on Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The third episode releases on iOS devices and Android tomorrow, March 26. The Sword in the Darkness finds Asher Forrester heading to Mereen […]

  • Bloodborne players are already documenting their crazy antics

    Bloodborne has been available for almost two days now in North America, and already players are posting interesting clips and character customization choices for the game. Below are interesting takes on creating a character and videos of a frustrating death and another full of blood coming from a very painful place – monster or not. […]

  • FIFA Ultimate Team celebrates sixth year in existence with giveaways

    FIFA Ultimate Team is celebrating its sixth year in existence with special events running from today until March 29. According to EA, every FUT fan will be handed one free pack every day, and those who play at least one match in the FUT Birthday Cup will have a chance to win rare “tradable In-Forms” […]

  • Halo Online is a F2P PC game in development exclusively for Russia – video

    Halo Online is a free-to-play game which will launch this spring in Russia, and is in development with Saber Interactive. According the reveal event attended by IGN Russia, the game was designed to run well on lower-end PCs and runs on a modified Halo 3 engine. The game is set on a secret UNSC space […]

  • SteamWorld Dig Xbox One release expected in late May

    SteamWorld Dig is coming to Xbox One, developer Image & Form has announced. A firm release date hasn’t been announced, but the studio expects the title to arrive on the system in late May. “We’re preparing quite an elaborate Easter egg for the Xbox One version – a gaming thing that we really wanted to […]

  • SMITE celebrating first anniversary with a sale on skins, Ultimate God Pack

    Hi-Rez Studios is celebrating the first anniversary of SMITE with a sale. From today through Friday, March 27, the Ultimate God Pack, which includes all current and future Gods, will run you $19.99. Alll individual pre-launch skins are 50% off, and all Gem Packs will award bonus gems. In addition, from March 27-29, all SMITE […]

  • Borderlands 2 has sold around 12 million copies, says Gearbox

    Speaking with Microsoft’s Major Nelson in his podcast, Gearbox Software boss Randy Pitchford stated Borderlands 2 has sold somewhere around the 12 million mark. As of August 2014, it was announced by Take-Two in its financial report the 2012 game had sold-in 10 million units. Pitchford noted in the podcast he learned of the figures […]

  • Broken Age releasing on PS4 and Vita same day as Act 2 on PC

    Double Fine Productions has announced it will release Broken Age on the PlayStation Store next month. Act 2 will also be released on PC. The full Broken Age adventure will release on PlayStation 4 and Vita on April 28 in North America and April 29 in Europe. It features cross-buy and cross-save. Broken Age Act […]

  • Star Citizen earned another $1 million within two weeks – total hits $76 million

    Star Citizen continues its funding streak with backers pumping another $1 million into the game’s development in the last two weeks. The total earned for the space sim has now reached $76 million ($76,015,532 to be exact) with 851,395 backers contributing to the staggering figure. Star Citizen’s latest update was version 1.1 which included two […]

  • Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline top Media Create charts

    Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline were the big ticket debuts during the March 16-2 period in Japan, with each game claiming the top three slots on the Media Create charts, respectively. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD moved 92,094 on PlayStation 4, while Resident Evil Revelations 2 moved 73,373 units on […]

  • You can now learn English or Spanish on Xbox One with the Rosetta App

    Want to learn English or Spanish? Rosetta Stone has an App for that on Xbox One. According to the language teaching firm, Rosetta Stone’s Discover Languages, the new application teaches English and Spanish by way of immersive simulation. Users will virtually travel to learn vocabulary and grammar “necessary for real-world interactions.” Here’s how it works: […]

  • PayDay 2 and PayDay: The Heist have sold over 9 million units combined

    The PayDay franchise is a lucrative IP for Starbreeze and Overkill, as both games combined have sold over 9 million copies as of November 2014. The company has also sold over 8 million paid DLC packages since PayDay 2 was released in 2013 (via NeoGAF). In its Q2 half year report issued in February, net […]

  • Nintendo wants to “surprise” customers with NX, not expand upon existing hardware

    Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has firm wants to “surprise” players with its new NX system. Speaking in an interview with Nikkei, translated by Kotaku, Iwata wouldn’t go into details on the new system, but stated expanding on a current gaming system would be “dull.” “In the past few years, the idea of what [encompasses] a […]

  • Kojima Station show suspended

    In another episode in the the ongoing kerfuffle between Hideo Kojima and Konami, the publisher has suspended the Kojima Station web show. Recent tweets from the newly created Japanese Metal Gear Solid account confirm that Kojima Station will not be broadcast tomorrow, but would not provide a date for the next episode. The Tweets were […]

  • Watch Battle Royale for free this weekend on Xbox Live

    Square Enix is celebrating the launch of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD by offering Xbox Live members in the UK a free rental of Battle Royale. Starting Saturday, March 28 and through Sunday, March 29, Xbox Live members in the UK will be able to rent Battle Royale through the Xbox Video Store, for free. The […]

  • Bloodborne journal, part 1: managing anxiety on the path to the Cleric Beast

    Bloodborne is both like and unlike the Souls games. Brenna descends into Yharnam with reluctance and trepidation. Need help succeeding in Bloodborne? You need our Bloodborne walkthrough and boss guide. Bloodborne isn’t Demon’s Souls or Dark Souls. Let’s get that out of the way right off. I enjoyed both Dark Souls games, but it was […]