The Jimquisition: A Difficult Subject (difficulty options in games)

Bullet Club

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Okay... let's wade into this debate again. It's raged for years and has only gotten more poisonous in that time, but we're gonna step in anyway and try to talk about difficulty options.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is the latest From Software game to spark a debate over difficulty and the merits of an easy mode. We're gonna talk about how weird the discussion is, and maybe get some elite wisdom from gaming aristocracy!

Sigh... here goes...
 

Sqorin Hammerfarf

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I tried to watch the video but all I could think of is someone who sees a set of stairs and wishes there was an elevator, and then I pictured Jim Sterling trying to take the stairs, wheezing and coughing with each labored step, and I just started feeling bad for him. How can I tell someone who gets winded by the handicap ramp to "git gud" with stairs?
 

DunDunDunpachi

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The fundamental question is this: do you deserve to beat a game just because you spent money on it?

The arcades didn't seem to think so. Entire genres don't seem to think so. People complain if spending money gives you a leg up on your opponent in an online multiplayer game ("pay to win").

So why do people believe they should beat a game just because they bought it? The difficulty is part of the developer's artistic vision.
 

Pejo

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I think I finally figured this out. When Stadia releases, Google should add in an Easy Mode to Sekiro, which is basically watching a guy play through the game (passed straight through by Youtube) but it has controller support and pressing buttons on the Stadia controller pops little text bubbles up on a video overlay that says, "Way to go champ!" or "S-S-S-Sick Combo!"

Or, you know, people that aren't interested in playing a game the intended way could just watch a let's play and quit whining.

I personally believe that it's the developer's choice how they want to handle difficulty in their game. It's your right as a consumer to purchase the finished product or not. The difficulty being an intentional design of Sekiro in particular and core to the experience that the dev was going for should not be ruled out because of whatever the current entitlement is.
 
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The fundamental question is this: do you deserve to beat a game just because you spent money on it?

The arcades didn't seem to think so. Entire genres don't seem to think so. People complain if spending money gives you a leg up on your opponent in an online multiplayer game ("pay to win").

So why do people believe they should beat a game just because they bought it? The difficulty is part of the developer's artistic vision.
Then we should ban mods, and everything else that could hinder the devs' artistic vision.

Like, I don't know, playing on a sub-par tv. Or playing it without sound. Or with better antialiasing.

Or taking turns with friends.

I really hope From's decides to actually release an easy mode. Just to say "see, it's their artistic vision now".

Jim's right: fuck off with this bullshit. Let people have fun the way they want. Who cares?

If cheating makes the game more fun to some people, thus making the game more popular, what's the problem?
 

ColdToffee

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If you need hand holding to play a game, then the game is simply not for you. Just accept and move on.
Creating a new easier difficulty (or a harder one) requires a lot of balancing throughout the game and playtesting. If the developer balanced the game for a single difficulty "demanding" an easy mode is asking the developer to change is vision and redo the balance all over again.
Some people already complain that the game is too easy when you use the ninja tools, making it easier just so entitled hipsters can complete the game to justify their un-informed impulse buy is just silly.
 

DunDunDunpachi

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Then we should ban mods, and everything else that could hinder the devs' artistic vision.
Quite the opposite: the people who make mods are actually putting their money where their mouth is and investing time to correct/improve a game they love.

Mods are a good answer if fans don't like the developer's vision.

Like, I don't know, playing on a sub-par tv. Or playing it without sound. Or with better antialiasing.

Or taking turns with friends.

I really hope From's decides to actually release an easy mode. Just to say "see, it's their artistic vision now".

Jim's right: fuck off with this bullshit. Let people have fun the way they want. Who cares?

If cheating makes the game more fun to some people, thus making the game more popular, what's the problem?
Hypotheticals are one thing. Reality is another. We can complain about "what ifs" and ask "who cares?" but I can turn that around and ask the same of the people who desperately need an easy mode.

Why not play an easier game? There are more easy games than hard ones. Why not wait for a mod to come out? Why not mod it yourself?

Players can still "have fun the way they want", but perhaps not with this specific product. This complaint is no different than people who insist on such-and-such representation in a videogame or else they can't identify with the protagonist. Okay? Cool, then don't play the game.

If the bulk of the argument is begging the question with stuff like "why can't they have fun the way they want" and "what's the problem?" and "who cares?", then you don't have a solid argument.

I still haven't seen a valid explanation why people deserve to beat a game (by extension, deserve to have an easy mode) just because they bought it. Do you deserve to understand something because you spent money on it? How absurd if we applied these same standards to books, music, and movies.
 
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Can’t wait for all this difficulty controversy to blow over, then come back with a vengeance with the next From Software release.
 

AV

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People only seem to cry about the lack of difficulty options in games that are "famous for being difficult" because they feel like they're missing out on being part of the conversation - which they have little right to be in if they didn't actually play the game properly. Really, what do you have to add to the conversation about a game where you practically watched it on YouTube?

Where's the crowd of people that want, I dunno, Super Meat Boy easy mode?
 

Airola

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Then we should ban mods, and everything else that could hinder the devs' artistic vision.

Like, I don't know, playing on a sub-par tv. Or playing it without sound. Or with better antialiasing.

Or taking turns with friends.

I really hope From's decides to actually release an easy mode. Just to say "see, it's their artistic vision now".

Jim's right: fuck off with this bullshit. Let people have fun the way they want. Who cares?

If cheating makes the game more fun to some people, thus making the game more popular, what's the problem?
So are you asking that the developers should build the mods and your friend assistants to games?

You can do whatever you want with your game. If you find a way to make it easier by changing the code with some program or editing a text file, go ahead.

Back in the day people cheated by editing hex codes and when games were pirated they sometimes included a "trainer" made by the pirates where you could choose what cheats you wanted (unlimited lives, energy, time etc) before the game started. Those are all ok (well, pirating obviously isn't but the idea of having a 3rd party trainer is). But people are nowadays wanting the developers themselves be the ones who build in the hex code editors and trainers for their games.

If people want to make mods, yeah that's ok. But why the hell is anyone pressuring the developers to do those if they clearly aren't interested at all to do that?

Cheating in a game with tools developers haven't given you to make the game easier for you is not the same as developers building those tools for you and knowingly making the game be easier at its easiest than what they would want it to be.

When the developers make their games, they will decide what is the easiest way to progress in their game. That is their decision and that's what they want their game is perceived as for the general customer.
Now if someone uses mods to make the game easier, the developers can still say their game is what they inteded it to be at easiest. After all, they had nothing to do with the mod. But if you force them to add the effect that mod has to the game by themselves, then the game is officially that.

If a horror movie director wants his movie to be as scary as it can be but there are people who just can't watch the whole movie if the scariest moments are the way they now are, should people tell the director to release a version where you can choose to watch it in a less scary form? Surely the people can try to cut the movie in their own time the way they want - hell, recut it as a comedy if you want to. But don't ask the director to make that for you if that's clearly something they don't want to build their movie into.

If a game developer doesn't want to build their game to be under certain level of difficulty for anyone even if the hardcore fans would never use the easier modes, they don't have to. It goes against their integrity and vision to deliberately have to build the game to be possible to beat easier than intended.

Just let it go. There are countless of games already having easy modes. You are not asking those games to have even easier difficulties built in either, are you?
 

Petrae

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The fundamental question is this: do you deserve to beat a game just because you spent money on it?

The arcades didn't seem to think so. Entire genres don't seem to think so. People complain if spending money gives you a leg up on your opponent in an online multiplayer game ("pay to win").

So why do people believe they should beat a game just because they bought it? The difficulty is part of the developer's artistic vision.
Arcade games were also meant to be perpetual money-makers that players rarely owned. It’s worth noting that arcade games also had adjustable difficulty settings, which arcade operators could tinker with based on customer reaction. Finally, many arcade games from the Golden Age could not be “beaten”; they were quests for points, with either kill screens or score rollovers as close to “beating” them as players could ever get.

If you buy an arcade game, you can set the difficulty lower. You can set the game to Free Play. You can tinker with all kinds of settings to “beat” it or run up a ridiculous amount of points. And it doesn’t matter how you do it, because you spent your money on it, and it’s yours to play as you wish.

The gatekeeping and elitism among today’s video game players is fucking shitty, full stop. Nobody fucking owns this hobby, nor is there a designated arbiter to tell players how they should play and enjoy games. I don’t give a fuck what others think when I play through modern games on Easy. I have nobody to impress, no e-penis to grow and flaunt. If others want to play on higher difficulty settings, then good for them. It’s nice to have various options so that more people can play and— most importantly— enjoy games.

And lest we forget that these are fucking video games. Things that, once upon a time, were allowed to be fun things. Now it’s serious business. “Artistic vision”. “Git gud”. “If you’re not frustrated, it’s not rewarding when you succeed.”

Fuck all that. In a world where real life is frustrating enough, I don’t need to be more frustrated. I want to get away from that shit for awhile and just enjoy myself without wanting to snap a controller in two.

If developers don’t want to put easier difficulty settings into their games, fine. I won’t buy them. If marketing teams want to promote their games as being ball-bustingly difficult, fine. I won’t play them. It’s all about choice— and thanks to having tons of modern games to pick from and decades worth of games from the past to revisit, nothing major is lost if I decide to skip a few. These hard games— whether hard in reality or hard based on reputation— just aren’t my thing.
 

Kenpachii

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If you dont provide easy mode, and think your consumer just need to git gud. People that bought into your game that can't beat it will simple not buy your next game.

It's bad business for your company at the end.
 
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danielberg

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Not every movie is for every audience and not every game is for every audience the sooner people understand this the better.
The whole "lol just add a easy mode" garbage is stupid even beyond the game design changes that have to be done and the resources that it would cost.
If you cant finish a game/is too hard well though luck you bought the wrong game next time dont do that and move on and play something different that is actually aimed at you.
You dont accidentally buy the movie irreversible for children and then be outraged and demand that everything is changed because children are not the target audience.
 
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DunDunDunpachi

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Arcade games were also meant to be perpetual money-makers that players rarely owned. It’s worth noting that arcade games also had adjustable difficulty settings, which arcade operators could tinker with based on customer reaction. Finally, many arcade games from the Golden Age could not be “beaten”; they were quests for points, with either kill screens or score rollovers as close to “beating” them as players could ever get.

If you buy an arcade game, you can set the difficulty lower. You can set the game to Free Play. You can tinker with all kinds of settings to “beat” it or run up a ridiculous amount of points. And it doesn’t matter how you do it, because you spent your money on it, and it’s yours to play as you wish.
Yes, and you can also play Chess (or any boardgame) against yourself and complete the entire game without help from another player.

But that doesn't mean you played it as it was designed.

All games in human history are a matter of suspending our disbelief. We accept the rules and we engage with the toy. We give games seriousness and consideration in ratio to its depth and entertainment value. If you don't want to play a hard game, then don't play a hard game.

Should all puzzles have the same number of pieces? The idea that games should not be "hard" is delusional, the height of "gamer privilege". You are welcome to engage with the product and attempt to learn it and beat it, but no one is entitled to winning. Calling people who point this out "elitists" shows a misunderstanding of the word and a misunderstanding of human nature.

It's okay to celebrate difficulty and excellence.

The gatekeeping and elitism among today’s video game players is fucking shitty, full stop.
I'm going to "full stop" you here and point out that not wanting to force developers to dilute their vision is neither "gatekeeping" nor "elitism", and trying to paint it as such is disingenuous.

Nobody fucking owns this hobby, nor is there a designated arbiter to tell players how they should play and enjoy games.
This is incorrect. In a very real sense, every game designer is the "designated arbiter" of their own product, seeing how they made it and sold it as a product. As the player, you have the choice to play (and enjoy) it their way. This reality is why we have speedrunners and no-death players, because players are choosing how they should play and enjoy said game.

I don’t give a fuck what others think when I play through modern games on Easy. I have nobody to impress, no e-penis to grow and flaunt. If others want to play on higher difficulty settings, then good for them. It’s nice to have various options so that more people can play and— most importantly— enjoy games.
You apparently care a lot.

And lest we forget that these are fucking video games.
Indeed! Why are people upset when a tiny, tiny fraction of them are more difficult than other games? Are we not allowed to have a range of challenge in this medium? Why must there be difficulty options?

Things that, once upon a time, were allowed to be fun things.
Once again, you appear to not comprehend the purpose of a game. Challenging games are fun to a subset of the market, just like braindead-easy games are "fun" to another subset of the market.

Now it’s serious business. “Artistic vision”. “Git gud”. “If you’re not frustrated, it’s not rewarding when you succeed.”

Fuck all that. In a world where real life is frustrating enough, I don’t need to be more frustrated. I want to get away from that shit for awhile and just enjoy myself without wanting to snap a controller in two.
Once again, I fail to see how you are not catered to as a customer. Most games cater to your particular disposition. Most AAA games do and most indie games do. Only a small fraction of games come with a fixed difficulty.

If developers don’t want to put easier difficulty settings into their games, fine. I won’t buy them.
Okay. But please don't stop posting on game forums about the unfairness of it all. That would really be a case of forgetting "that these are fucking video games".

If marketing teams want to promote their games as being ball-bustingly difficult, fine. I won’t play them. It’s all about choice— and thanks to having tons of modern games to pick from and decades worth of games from the past to revisit, nothing major is lost if I decide to skip a few. These hard games— whether hard in reality or hard based on reputation— just aren’t my thing.
This is an excellent attitude to have. Most games should be skipped. I don't think gamers need to tie themselves into knots playing games they don't enjoy. If a certain level of difficulty is not your thing and the game doesn't offer an option, huge bummer! Switch to another game. I discard games for far pettier reasons, so I don't see why anyone should stick with a challenging game if they don't enjoy a challenge.
 
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If you dont provide easy mode, and think your consumer just need to git gud. People that bought into your game that can't beat it will simple not buy your next game.

It's bad business for your company at the end.
In FromSoft's games it's not the case. I'd say keeping "high" difficulty helped them push more sales game after game. I'm still legit curious how you guys would implement such "easy mode" in their games?
 

Sqorin Hammerfarf

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The gatekeeping and elitism among today’s video game players is fucking shitty, full stop.
If thinking people like Jim Sterling are pussies is gatekeeping, then call me Saint Peter.

Nobody fucking owns this hobby...
No, but I own a lot of it.

...nor is there a designated arbiter to tell players how they should play and enjoy games.
Nobody is saying you can't play the way you want. It's just that we think it is kind of pathetic and shameful and maybe nobody should take pride in it - and most importantly, they shouldn't be telling From Software - one the best and most respected game developers out there right now - how they should make their games. We find being pathetic a poor excuse to dictate game design to others.

It's like giving random women wet willies. Nobody is saying you can't do it, but what the fuck is wrong with you?

I don’t give a fuck what others think when I play through modern games on Easy.
Then why are you so defensive about it?

I have nobody to impress
Thank god, because you certainly won't be doing it by bragging about all the games you beat on the easiest difficulty...

It’s nice to have various options so that more people can play and— most importantly— enjoy games.
Now we are demonizing niche games, huh? Look, not every game is for every player. Some games have a small audience, and if you aren't part of that audience, that's okay. Either you step up and meet the game on its own terms, or you step down and shut the fuck up. Nobody cares that you want to be able to play a game that you are unwilling to actually play.

It's okay to be niche.

In a world where real life is frustrating enough, I don’t need to be more frustrated.
You won't be if you git gud.

I want to get away from that shit for awhile and just enjoy myself without wanting to snap a controller in two.
There's other games for that. Play those. Don't try to change games that aren't that into that just because you feel that existence is a burden.

If developers don’t want to put easier difficulty settings into their games, fine. I won’t buy them. If marketing teams want to promote their games as being ball-bustingly difficult, fine. I won’t play them. It’s all about choice— and thanks to having tons of modern games to pick from and decades worth of games from the past to revisit, nothing major is lost if I decide to skip a few. These hard games— whether hard in reality or hard based on reputation— just aren’t my thing.
I have an honorable compromise. Just walk away.... Just walk away and there will be an end to the horror. I await your answer. You have one full day to decide.
 

Sqorin Hammerfarf

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Demanding easy mode is like a petulant child yelling and stomping for a toy that they can't have.
They don't really need an easy mode. They just need to have their diapers changed. Hopefully, one day, they'll graduate to big boy pants.
 
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Tekkie

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I really wonder though, why the psychotic focus on this "series" of games in particular? I mean there's plenty of difficult games out there, but there's just something about these games and its fan/consumer base that REALLY grinds people's gears, isn't there.
 

Sqorin Hammerfarf

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I really wonder though, why the psychotic focus on this "series" of games in particular? I mean there's plenty of difficult games out there, but there's just something about these games and its fan/consumer base that REALLY grinds people's gears, isn't there.
It's because they are considered masterpieces. It pisses them off that they are intentionally being left out of such an important part of gamer history. Not only does it make them jealous, it also pisses them off because it exposes their lack of credibility as gamers (that's why this discussion moved from shitty gamers wanting an easy mode to disabled people wanting accessibility options - deflection). But ironically, it only pisses them off enough to whine on Twitter, not enough to learn to play.
 
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It's a fucking shame that concepts like "artistic vision" and "challenge" are such taboo subjects in video game discourse these days. You can't even breathe those words anymore without someone yelling about exclusion or gamer elitism. I applaud From for putting up with this shit for so many years and still staying their course.

Git gud
 

Kenpachii

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In FromSoft's games it's not the case. I'd say keeping "high" difficulty helped them push more sales game after game. I'm still legit curious how you guys would implement such "easy mode" in their games?
How does less options that probably result in a lot of people not picking up your next game helps you push more sales?

You can make a game hard and easy at the same time for practically no extra effort. ( like all games already offer for ages by now )

Just up players health / lower dmg monsters / lower amounts of enema's / give player more money / better gear and maybe if you really want to spend more then 5 minutes as dev on that mode add a few more respawn points or save stages.
 
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Aurelian

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Jim pretty much hits the nail on the head here: you're not entitled to an easy mode or to keeping games difficult, but it makes good business sense to cater to a wider demographic when you can.

Intentionally limiting games to highly experienced players only works some of the time, and the simple reality is that many gamers don't have 10, 20 or more hours per week to sink into "gitting gud." Many have partners, families and social lives that obviously take higher priority. It's nice to have single-player games that you can finish in a couple of reasonable weeks (say, a few days a week for 1-2 hours per session) instead of having to devote seemingly every spare moment.
 

Sqorin Hammerfarf

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How does less options that probably result in a lot of people not picking up your next game helps you push more sales?
It's okay to be niche.

You can make a game hard and easy at the same time for practically no extra effort. ( like all games already offer for ages by now )

Just up players health / lower dmg monsters / lower amounts of enema's / give player more money / better gear and maybe if you really want to spend more then 5 minutes as dev on that mode add a few more respawn points or save stages.
First, that will not produce the desired results and will end up giving people on easy mode a warped sense of a game's competence. How many times have you seen a game review calling a game terrible only to find out the reviewer played it on easy? There's no simple formula that will make easy mode good unless you put time in to actually rebalancing it.

This type of easy mode may placate the detractors though because what they want it compliance, not actually an easy mode.

Second, From games tend to be based on pattern learning and memorization. Once you've done this, you can basically go through the game with your eyes closed. The easy mode is there, but you unlock it by gitting gud.
 
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I also hate this rhetoric that a games challenging vision is already compromised by the existence of mods and cheat engines. Well shit, going by that logic every game is compromised and developers just shouldn't bother, right?
 

Airola

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Should all puzzles have the same number of pieces?
This is a good point.

Imagine there are puzzle creators who get their enjoyment from creating only puzzles with 5000+ pieces and carefully choosing the pictures for the puzzles add to the hardness of the puzzle and even choose to design the cut-patterns to be harder to see what goes together with what.

Now someone comes and sees the picture and says I want to do a puzzle that has this picture as the goal.
Then they start solving it and can't go much further with it, so then they start demanding that developer to release 500 piece version of that puzzle. Sure, there can be that too but to demand a puzzle creator to build puzzles that go against their puzzle design philosophy and what they enjoy doing is very silly as there are tons of other puzzles and puzzle creators out there who have already made countless of puzzles that fit in with what this customer wants.
 

DunDunDunpachi

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This is a good point.

Imagine there are puzzle creators who get their enjoyment from creating only puzzles with 5000+ pieces and carefully choosing the pictures for the puzzles add to the hardness of the puzzle and even choose to design the cut-patterns to be harder to see what goes together with what.

Now someone comes and sees the picture and says I want to do a puzzle that has this picture as the goal.
Then they start solving it and can't go much further with it, so then they start demanding that developer to release 500 piece version of that puzzle. Sure, there can be that too but to demand a puzzle creator to build puzzles that go against their puzzle design philosophy and what they enjoy doing is very silly as there are tons of other puzzles and puzzle creators out there who have already made countless of puzzles that fit in with what this customer wants.
Easy mode:



"When I return home from a long day at work, I don't have time to put together more than 50 pieces or to throw down my box of puzzle pieces in frustration. These elitists who keep making excuses for puzzles above 200 pieces are sickening. Why don't you want puzzle players to have fun?"
 

Mr Nash

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I wonder how these people feel about chess. It's mechanically straightforward, it's plenty accessible. However, it's still hard to win, even if two beginners face off. I also wonder how they feel about point-and-click adventure games. Do they want them to cease to exist because they hate obtuse puzzles?

The clamor for easy modes feels more like the overall laziness that is sweeping much of the Western world where people don't want to work for anything. Overcoming hurdles is important to life, but these people seem to have largely been spoon-fed from an early age by doting parents, and are permanently broken as a result. Getting fat? Fuck exercise, just make up a term like body positivism. As much as it makes me sound like my grandparents, working hard to achieve something builds character.

If there was ever a genuine crisis in the world, these people would be completely useless. I'm genuinely curious how they'll behave when the next recession comes. I'll assume that they'll make posts on social media, thinking it a worthy contribution, while the doers around them become increasingly annoyed.
 

Sqorin Hammerfarf

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Jim pretty much hits the nail on the head here: you're not entitled to an easy mode or to keeping games difficult, but it makes good business sense to cater to a wider demographic when you can.
It's okay to be niche.

Intentionally limiting games to highly experienced players only works some of the time,
It seems like it works fine for From Software.

...and the simple reality is that many gamers don't have 10, 20 or more hours per week to sink into "gitting gud."
They could do it if they wanted to. They don't want to. It doesn't take 10 hours per week, it just takes 10 hours. If it takes you six weeks to do those 10 hours, you've still done it (and a Souls game will last you the better part of a year - what value!). There's no practical obstacle against gitting gud. You are just lazy.

Many have partners, families and social lives that obviously take higher priority.
The world does not bow to your family life. I've got a family too, but gaming is a part of our time together. We play Monster Hunter, Towerfall, Smash Bros, Overcooked, Go Vacation, and all sorts of stuff together. Heck, my 10 year old daughter LOVES Bloodbourne. She makes me play it for her while she reads the strategy guide out loud to me (the Future Press guides are really quite impressive - there's a Souls lore guide coming out next month that we are both really looking forward to).

It's nice to have single-player games that you can finish in a couple of reasonable weeks (say, a few days a week for 1-2 hours per session) instead of having to devote seemingly every spare moment.
I can name twenty - no, thirty - games that can be that for you. Maybe forty. Just in the past two years. Fifty even. I can name fifty games, off the top of my head, that are exactly what you want here. Sekiro isn't one of them. And that's okay because you have FIFTY other games you can play.

You know what is also okay? It's okay to be niche.
 

synchronicity

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As always..fuck elitism in any hobby always.

Quote from Jim that says it all... "What is so harmful about a completely optional mode that you never have to experience?"
Again with the elitism nonsense. I'm not saying no one fits into that category, but you can't lump all into your flimsy box.
 
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Ogbert

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I’m not very good at games but I’m always surprised at the rep Dark Souls has. It’s genuinely not that hard. You can grind levels, health and attack power and there are always summons.

The game simply does a very good job of making you think it’s way harder than it actually is.
 
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So are you asking that the developers should build the mods and your friend assistants to games?

You can do whatever you want with your game. If you find a way to make it easier by changing the code with some program or editing a text file, go ahead.

Back in the day people cheated by editing hex codes and when games were pirated they sometimes included a "trainer" made by the pirates where you could choose what cheats you wanted (unlimited lives, energy, time etc) before the game started. Those are all ok (well, pirating obviously isn't but the idea of having a 3rd party trainer is). But people are nowadays wanting the developers themselves be the ones who build in the hex code editors and trainers for their games.

If people want to make mods, yeah that's ok. But why the hell is anyone pressuring the developers to do those if they clearly aren't interested at all to do that?

Cheating in a game with tools developers haven't given you to make the game easier for you is not the same as developers building those tools for you and knowingly making the game be easier at its easiest than what they would want it to be.

When the developers make their games, they will decide what is the easiest way to progress in their game. That is their decision and that's what they want their game is perceived as for the general customer.
Now if someone uses mods to make the game easier, the developers can still say their game is what they inteded it to be at easiest. After all, they had nothing to do with the mod. But if you force them to add the effect that mod has to the game by themselves, then the game is officially that.

If a horror movie director wants his movie to be as scary as it can be but there are people who just can't watch the whole movie if the scariest moments are the way they now are, should people tell the director to release a version where you can choose to watch it in a less scary form? Surely the people can try to cut the movie in their own time the way they want - hell, recut it as a comedy if you want to. But don't ask the director to make that for you if that's clearly something they don't want to build their movie into.

If a game developer doesn't want to build their game to be under certain level of difficulty for anyone even if the hardcore fans would never use the easier modes, they don't have to. It goes against their integrity and vision to deliberately have to build the game to be possible to beat easier than intended.

Just let it go. There are countless of games already having easy modes. You are not asking those games to have even easier difficulties built in either, are you?
My post was provocative, of course. And you would know it if you read it carefully or, even better, watched Jim's video.

But having another optional easiER difficulty wouldn't kill the game.

And it's fine the way it is too; I just don't get why everyone is so defensive about a dumb issue like this.
 
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tassletine

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The fundamental question is this: do you deserve to beat a game just because you spent money on it?

The arcades didn't seem to think so. Entire genres don't seem to think so. People complain if spending money gives you a leg up on your opponent in an online multiplayer game ("pay to win").

So why do people believe they should beat a game just because they bought it? The difficulty is part of the developer's artistic vision.
Name me one other peice of art that requires that you watch the same small section of it for three hours before it lets you see the rest? This game might as well have a paywall.
 

Sqorin Hammerfarf

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Imagine there are puzzle creators who get their enjoyment from creating only puzzles with 5000+ pieces and carefully choosing the pictures for the puzzles add to the hardness of the puzzle and even choose to design the cut-patterns to be harder to see what goes together with what.
It's interesting that you bring up puzzles because my wife is a puzzle nut. She won't even look at anything less than 3,000 pieces, and she prefers the 5,000 piece puzzles that take six weeks to finish. She even records how long it takes her and makes a graph of her progress. She once bought a 32,000 piece puzzle - it never came (Toys R Us refused to honor the sale), and she was bummed out for months. I'm kind of glad because we don't have the room for a puzzle of that size and I don't want to be stepping over trays of puzzle pieces for six months.

But the majority of the puzzles made and sold in stores are 1,000 piece puzzles. Way below her level and it pisses her off. She buys four 1,000 piece puzzles at a time and dumps all the pieces into one bucket and does them simultaneously - because she has to make her own challenge. And what the fuck is with all the puzzles being of Cinque Terra and Neuschwanstein Castle? No seriously. This keeps me up at night.

It's good that 100 piece puzzles exist, and it's obvious that 1,000 piece puzzles are the sweet spot for the vast majority of people. But you also have puzzle enthusiasts, and for them, it's good to have 5,000 and even 32,000 piece puzzles too. The Souls games are the 5,000 piece puzzles (and I guess Dwarf Fortress is the 32,000 piece one).
 

ColdToffee

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Oct 24, 2017
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Jim pretty much hits the nail on the head here: you're not entitled to an easy mode or to keeping games difficult, but it makes good business sense to cater to a wider demographic when you can.

Intentionally limiting games to highly experienced players only works some of the time, and the simple reality is that many gamers don't have 10, 20 or more hours per week to sink into "gitting gud." Many have partners, families and social lives that obviously take higher priority. It's nice to have single-player games that you can finish in a couple of reasonable weeks (say, a few days a week for 1-2 hours per session) instead of having to devote seemingly every spare moment.
If the studio wants to make a game that is 100% their vision without caring for sales, but only in delivering a product they feel proud of, they have the right to do that.
Who knows, as long as they break even maybe From considers the game a success if their target audience likes the game. Not every studio has to be a mini Activision/EA blindly chasing as much profit as possible.
 
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bigedole

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I really can't believe how much of an issue/controversy this has become. It seems like such a nobrainer... if a developer wants their games to only have one difficulty then oh well, that's the game they want to make and they're making choices about what audience they want to reach vs what game they want to make.

How could anyone possibly think they have a "right" to an easier version of the game?? It's such a ridiculous notion at face value.

I didn't buy Sekiro, or any Souls games, and I never will. They aren't games I want to play. I'm glad they make them though, as they are clearly making some segment of the gaming population happy when they do. Great, they make money and people enjoy playing their games. I will buy the type of games I like to play. Life goes on...
 
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synchronicity

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It's a fucking shame that concepts like "artistic vision" and "challenge" are such taboo subjects in video game discourse these days. You can't even breathe those words anymore without someone yelling about exclusion or gamer elitism. I applaud From for putting up with this shit for so many years and still staying their course.

Git gud
The day FROM caves (which I hope is never) and surrenders their artistic vision to appease the whiners who want everything designed for them personally is the day I lose all respect for FROM. I don't think they'll ever go down that road, though. I mean they've been a niche developer who seemed to dance to the beat of their own drum for a very long time. It's who they are.
 
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