The conversation around accessibility in video games is a never-ending one, and now Souls series creator Hidetaka Miyazaki finally weighs in on the upcoming Elden Ring, ‘Easy Mode,’ and the difficulty in the FromSoftware’s flagship series. Check out the snippet from the exclusive interview below to see just how the legendary director justifies the studio’s design principles and more.
Posted over on the PlayStation Blog, when asked if the ongoing discourse around game difficulty and accessibility it affected FromSoftware’s development of Elden Ring, Miyazaki had this to say:
Yes, we have. It’s a valid discussion. I feel like our approach to these games, not just Elden Ring, is to design them to encourage the player to overcome adversity. We don’t try to force difficulty or make things hard for the sake of it. We want players to use their cunning, study the game, memorize what’s happening, and learn from their mistakes. We don’t want players to feel like the game is unfairly punishing, but rather that there’s a chance to win a difficult encounter and make progress. We understand that Souls-like games are regularly associated with impossible levels of difficulty with high barriers to entry. But we try to design the games to make the cycle of repeatedly trying to overcome these challenges enjoyable in itself. So we hope that with Elden Ring and the new options it provides, it will be a success in that respect.
In Elden Ring, we have not intentionally tried to lower the game’s difficulty, but I think more players will finish it this time. 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. We’ve even reduced the number of hoops that you have to jump through to enjoy it in multiplayer. 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.
In short, it appears that for better or worse, FromSoftware has still sticked to their core design, although this time around offering more freedom to the player in how they will handle adversity in Elden Ring. In any case, in terms of accessibility, players should not expect an ‘easy mode’ for Elden Ring anytime soon, although the lack of one has not really stopped FromSoftware titles from being enjoyable and beloved by many in gaming.
In case you missed it, FromSoftware also confirmed that the main story for Elden Ring will take around 30 hours to beat, and you can check out the whole thing here.
Source: PlayStation Blog