I walk through Yharnam.
I try to filter the disease from the city.
I imagine what this place has been.
Bodies hanged and crucified.
Coffins chained shut.
What was Yharnam in its best days?
How did its economy function?
Was there ever joy here?
The city is dense.
The city is decadent.
It is unhinged Baudelairean ecstasy.
Blood. Beasts. Coffins. Ash.
A setting sun.
A dying religion.
A long night.
Everyone hides from the hunt.
All locked away:
They mock, weep, laugh like ghosts:
The chemical byproducts of this nightmare.
They torched Old Yharnam to stop the plague.
They let the heretics revel in their obsession.
It still burns.
And the plague accelerates.
Citizens in stages of sickness.
How many families have been torn apart?
How many times has the story of Gascoigne and Viola repeated?
They all blame me.
There is a profound loss in their noises.
I cannot forget the Vicar‘s howl.
I cannot forget how she held her pendant.
I cannot forget the deer-wolf she became in the empty bowels of the Grand Cathedral.
Soft and violent.
Faith has lost here:
A false whisper drowned in an ocean of moans and screams.
Of roars and tears.
Yharnam is being left to die.
To purge itself.
Yharnam is being allowed to forget.
To be forgotten.
I am a part of its unraveling.
I am the fantasy of its sorrow.
I am the luxury of power.
Yharnam is a rejection of the Open World.
It values intricacy.
It values intimacy.
Tight roads. Closed alleys.
A stagnant darkness.
It deconstructs the promise of its origin:
Anor Londo given a world.
Yharnam and Bloodborne are inseparable.
The mechanics of the game are an extension of the city.
The combat is close.
Flourishes and theatrical complexity:
A death ritual.
Yharnam is the seething blood pulsing through the game.
Miyazaki‘s Souls are dispossessive.
Slow. Foggy. Stilted. Surreal.
Broken worlds in passive decay.
They are violently quiet.
The Souls are about being frozen in dream.
About the end of the fairy tale.
Bloodborne is a deconstruction of life, of what it is to be alive.
It is the most literary game Miyazaki has made.
It is the bleak loneliness of Poe.
The biological alienation of Rappaccini’s Daughter.
The aggression of Melville.
The cosmic indifference of Lovecraft.
It is the most human game Miyazaki has made.
It explores our institutions, our bodies, our fear through the loss of form and ego.
It explores the fragility of our perception.
Is the Hunter’s Dream real?
Is it mine?
Or is it the Platonic Dream of The Hunt?
Or is Yharnam the true dream of the hunter?
The barren desire of the killer.
Bloodborne is the humanist response to Arbo’s Wild Hunt:
One mortal hunting the many.
One body stalking the ruins alone.
About a land surveyor attempting to navigate the bureaucracy of a strange village.
The locals don’t understand their own system of governance, but consider it sacred nonetheless.
Each villager the surveyor speaks with has a different myth for what their government is.
There is no consensus.
The novel explores themes of alienation, blind ignorance, and the unquestioned nature of systems of power.
Kafka died of tuberculosis before The Castle was completed.
Eras later and Bloodborne is its conclusion.
It is the expansion of The Castle and Kafka’s illness.
It doesn’t just absorb The Castle’s themes of bureaucracy and institutional power in its examination of the Healing Church.
It is Kafka’s Social alienation. Political alienation. Biological alienation in a new medium.
It is a machinery of themes.
A cohesive, living game.
Its systems, stories, environment inform each other.
There is no space between them.
They are perpetually linked:
The dendrites of Yharnam.
They twist and loom over each other.
Seep into each other.
Miyazaki and his team aren’t game makers.
They are craftsmen.
They have fashioned something thick, linear, vertical, complex, broken.
Something like a person built with poems.
Something like a doll drowned in calligraphy.
Something like Pinocchio discovering the horror of being human.