Dark Souls Almost Had An Easy Mode?

By Pete Haas 2012-09-03 17:13:13 discussion comments
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From Software's Dark Souls is one of the most difficult games made in recent years. However, Game director Hidetaka Miyazaki said in a new interview that he considered introducing a lower difficulty mode to accomodate less skilled players.

"I personally want my games to be described as satisfying rather than difficult. As a matter of fact, I am aiming at giving players sense of accomplishment in the use of difficulty," Miyazaki told Metro. "Having said that, however, it is true that Dark Souls is rather difficult and a number of people may hesitate to play. This fact is really sad to me and I am thinking about whether I should prepare another difficulty that everyone can complete or carefully send all gamers the messages behind our difficult games."

Personally, I would've loved an "easy mode" for both Demon's Souls and Dark Souls, even if using it to beat a boss would be less gratifying than toughing it out on normal difficulty. I'm more of a fan of the current trend, of games that are easy enough for pretty much anyone to beat but which offer higher difficulty settings and Achievements for the more hardcore players.

I understand the counter-argument, though: the existence of an easy mode can undermine a game. I'm sure that many of the players who beat Demon's Souls had moments where, if they were given the opportunity to scale down the difficulty, they might have done so. It might have made the experience on the whole less satisfying, too. There's something to be said for making the completion of a game a rare accomplishment, too.

While it's sad to consider, the deciding factor is probably going to be sales. If enough players are happy with Dark Souls' punishing difficulty to buy it, then From Software will keep making games without an easy mode. If they or their publisher think that they're missing out on a huge amount of potential sales by creating an inaccessible game, though, it would not be surprising to see an adjustable difficulty in the next Souls game.
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