Difficulty in games has been a hot topic recently. There are many who believe that all games should have some measure of accessibility, even if overcoming great odds is a prat of their intrinsic design. Take Dark Souls, for example. Some think that the series, and many Souls-likes, would benefit from on optional, easier mode. Of course, the debate probably won’t end any time soon, as both sides have valid reasons to justify their opinion. Hidetaka Miyazaki, who directed Dark Souls and the upcoming Elden Ring, shared how difficulty worked for the game, and why its design could help some struggling players.
In a recent interview, he said he has talked about it with his team, calling it a “valid discussion.” Miyazaki and FromSoftware have approached Elden Ring a bit different in terms of difficulty and player challenge. Elden Ring, as it leans more heavily on open-world exploration than its predecessors, was a tough balancing act. It won’t be easy, he says, but the game encourages out-of-the-box thinking, which should allow more players to finish.
“In Elden Ring, we have not intentionally tried to lower the game’s difficulty, but I think more players will finish it this time,” Miyazaki told the PlayStation Blog. “As I mentioned, the player’s level of freedom to progress through the world or return to a challenge later are all elements that I feel will help people get through the game at a more leisurely pace. Also, there isn’t a focus on pure action. The player has more agency to dictate their approach against, for example, the field bosses in the overworld and how they utilize stealth in various situations.”
Don’t go alone
Additionally, Miyazaki shared other ways for players to help mitigate the difficulty in Elden Ring. Stealth, which is something both the game and Sekiro share, can be used to get the drop on enemies. Miyazaki and his team also included a more robust multiplayer option in the game.
“We’ve even reduced the number of hoops that you have to jump through to enjoy it in multiplayer,” he explained. “So we hope the players embrace that idea of receiving help from others. And we feel like the overall clear rate will go up this time because of these things.”
No matter what side of the coin you are on the difficulty debate, at least it sounds like Elden Ring may be a tad more accessible. Certainly, it’ll still be like trying to smash your face through a brick wall. But perhaps having your friend add an extra face can make it crumble a bit faster. The interview provides a lot more on Elden Ring, so be sure to check it out. The game releases for PC on February 25.