Hidetaka Miyazaki, the FromSoftware president who directed 2022’s massively successful Elden Ring, and practically created the Soulslike sub-genre it follows, was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of the year. It’s only the second time a video game developer has made the list.
Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann, co-creator of The Last of Us video games and TV franchise, wrote the brief essay for Time that introduced Miyazaki. He called Elden Ring “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.”
“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 added.
The Time 100 has been published every year since 2004. Political figures and pop culture celebrities routinely make the list (some of them multiple times). But Time says the nominees are chosen simply for how much influence they hold, regardless of their personal popularity, fame, or individual power. Miyazaki is listed among 2023’s Time 100 “innovators” alongside Disney CEO Bob Iger, Indigenous chef Sean Sherman, comedian Nathan Fielder, tennis star Iga Swiatek, actor Natasha Lyonne, and others.
In that light, Miyazaki and his developers were very influential over the course of the past year, selling 20 million copies as of this February, with two-thirds of that coming in its first month of release.
The only other video games developer to make the Time 100 was Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, in 2007 at the zenith of the Wii’s popularity. Miyamoto was a named finalist but did not make the list in 2008.
Other familiar faces from pop culture who made the Time 100 include Michael B. Jordan, Neil Gaiman, Doja Cat, Pedro Pascal, Jimmy “MrBeast” Donaldson, and Ke Huy Quan.