Dark Souls director pondering easier difficulty mode

Hidetaka Miyazaki wants Dark Souls to be "satisfying rather than difficult"

Dark Souls - like its spiritual predecessor Demon's Souls - has been loved by the hardcore gamer because its crazy difficulty harkens back to a more unforgiving era. In an interview with Metro UK, game director Hidetaka Miyazaki said he was saddened that the game's difficulty is keeping some players from even trying it.

"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," said Miyazaki.

"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. "

Miyazaki believes today's easier titles are the result of developers finding interesting game mechanics outside of sheer difficulty.

"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," he said.

"Interest and value in games and elements required to offer the interest and value are, I suppose, shifting by clashing between diverse and conventional moves. The change you mentioned toward skill-based games is also one of the moves and I do not think that is a dead rock, so the change would not be something to be avoided."

Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition was recently released for the PC due to a huge fan effort and petition.

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Latest comments (9)

Private Industry 9 years ago
The difficulty is giving the satisfying feeling and the accomplishment when you beat a boss or even just normal enemies in a Souls`s game. No doubt about it that it isn`t an easy game but reducing the difficulty would be reducing the appeal of the game.

Wasn`t he saying after Demon Souls that games should if anything get harder and not easier?
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Steve Nicholls Programmer 9 years ago
Sorry but that would defeat the fun of a souls game. Its hard and a challenge and that is what makes it.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 9 years ago
Difficulty through obscurity is not really difficulty. Dark Souls presents you with the option to go into eight directions, only to shot you down in seven of them because your level is more of a barrier than your ability to play the game; at least when you are new to the game. Many systems are not explained, so even when you are in a position to make the game more easy for yourself, you can easily miss them, e.g. using inventory based humanity to kindle flames and get more heals. Or you have items which grant a bonus, e.g. flamekeeper souls, which need to be combined at some place, yet you have no idea which place it is. Other players simply refuse to play Co-Op for no reason and then complain about boss fights and tough arena fights.

Some of those puzzles are part of the excitement of playing Dark Souls and I would not miss them. Some are just obtuse for no reason and all you need is a better manual.

But the combat is second to none and definitely not too difficult. Neither are the levels and the ability of bosses to totally fool you 50h into the game. Dark Souls is an expert at training you to behave along a set of rules only to change them.

Dark Souls has a image and manual problem, more than it has a difficulty problem.
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Show all comments (9)
Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany9 years ago
I don't like the idea; you take difficulty away from Dark Souls and you kill most of his spirit. Specially if you consider that it is a BRILLIANT (With full capital letters) dificulty; very challenging yet never cheap; if you die you are the only one to blame always.
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John Bye Lead Designer, Freejam9 years ago
Like a lot of gamers my age I don't have a huge amount of free time to play console games, so when I do get the TV to myself I don't want to be constantly dying in a game with no real checkpoint system, having to replay the same content and kill the same cannon fodder over and over again without feeling like I'm making much progress.

An easy mode so I can actually experience the game and have fun playing it, without wasting hours replaying each level, would be much appreciated, and as long as it's just an option it doesn't need to interfere with existing fans' enjoyment of the game.
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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters9 years ago
I don't see why this is an issue. Surely this is why most games offer a choice of difficulties to suit everyone?
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Pier Castonguay Programmer 9 years ago
Difficulty is ok, the problem with the game is that the gamer is let to himself with no explanation whatsoever of what do to.
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Caleb Hale Journalist 9 years ago
Dark Souls' singular selling point seemed to be antagonizing players into trying the game so it could swiftly kill them. It's fine for some players, but I couldn't in good conscience recommend the game to someone just looking for a good time. The option of an easier would be nice, because Dark Souls is a game that should be experienced first-hand, rather than watching someone more skilled play it on YouTube.
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Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer 9 years ago
I'm guessing anyone who says a game should punish the player is not actually a gamer. In the case of dark Souls. The real watchword was caution. You had to move slowly through the world and pick your battles. The real issue was the bosses. Some were simply too powerful to face without calling up some nameless soul to assist you.

I suspect this angle is what the director really wants to fix. You should be able to finish a game solo no matter what and Dark Souls is a game that most people simply will not be able to do that way.
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