Dark Souls is a game that’s built its reputation on being merciless, challenging and, at times, downright unfair. In these ways, the game seemed to resemble real life more than your run-of-the-mills games which tend to hold your hand from point A to B to C.
For all its relentlessness, Dark Souls earned a formidable reputation as one of the toughest games around, and gamers who felt up to the challenge flocked to it in numbers. It would surely then, be undermining the game’s credibility if they went and released an Easy mode for it?
In a recent interview with the Metro, via OXM, the game’s director Hidetaka Miyazaki admitted that the team behind Dark Souls are considering adding an Easy mode to the game:
…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.
Miyazaki went on to make some interesting reflections on the current state of the games industry, pointing out that
If the number of easy games is increasing nowadays, I guess it is because difficulty is not related to interesting and worthwhile game elements in many games among players.
From this, it seems that we’re moving away from games where challenge is necessarily what draws the player into a game. Is this the case? Are games becoming more about cinematics, storylines and over-stylisation (yes, I’m looking at a certain Rockstar-created pisshead going by the name Payne) than the heightened frustrations – but also sense of achievement – that we get with games like Dark Souls.
These are troubling times if that’s the case, but we also have to consider the possibility that some games can be a bit too merciless, so perhaps an Easy difficulty setting is a logical option to draw in a wider audience. The condition for playing on this difficulty, however, should be that the player be branded a n00b in any leaderboards, and his character be forced to wear a dunce’s hat so all around him know his terrible secret… and discriminate against him accordingly.