FromSoftware’s Souls series has no shortage of bosses to choose from if you’re trying to find your favorite boss of all time. Starting with Demon’s Souls and continuing up until Dark Souls 3 (and including Bloodborne to create the “SoulsBorne” moniker) the series is essentially a highlight real of how challenging and diverse bosses can be. Hidetaka Miyazaki, the game director credited as the creator of these games, has a favorite Souls boss like many people do, and his comes from Demon’s Souls.
Miyazaki spoke to GameSpot Brazil (thanks, GameSpot) to discuss his work on the SoulsBorne games and which parts of the series stood out to him the most. Part of that discussion turned to the boss designs of SoulsBorne games. To create these bosses, Miyazaki said he would give a designer “the minimum requirements that a boss needs” with the rest being left up to the designer to create the boss, thus lending the SoulsBorne the originality that sets them apart from other enemies in and out of the series.
When asked what his favorite boss from the SoulsBorne games are, Miyazaki gave that title to a boss from Demon’s Souls called the Old Monk. It’s an enemy many Souls fans may not have encountered if they started with Dark Souls first and not Demon’s Souls, and it employed some interesting mechanics for the time.
“[The Old Monk] has a unique system, where the player fights other players,” Miyazaki said. “Back then, this wasn't a common system, so I got some critics and warnings. But in the end, the users liked it, it was something very different. So, inside me, it is the one that marked me the most."
The Old Monk was built on the SoulsBorne games’ invasion mechanic that allowed other players to invade someone’s game and attempt to kill them. By trying to invade someone in the world where the boss is located, an invading player could be pulled into the boss room to become the boss themselves. If no player could be brought in or if the host was playing offline, players would fight an NPC phantom.
We saw this type of a mechanic make its way into another Souls game later int he series. Dark Souls 2 featured a boss called the Looking Glass Knight who would summon NPCs and real players into its arena to fight against a host player.
Miyazaki also spoke about his favorite game in the SoulsBorne series which is a game that may or not may surprise you depending on which game is your favorite. There’ve been constant whispers of Demon’s Souls one day being remade or remastered for modern consoles, so perhaps more players will one day be able to face the Old Monk all over again.