Wait, Demon’s Souls On PS5 Could Have Had An ‘Easy’ Mode?

Wait, Demon’s Souls On PS5 Could Have Had An ‘Easy’ Mode?
Screenshot: Sony

The sOUlS gAMeS aRe tOo HArD argument is an endless one, but that timelessness is built on the premise that nobody seriously expects these games to ever not be hard. So it’s wild hearing that for the Demon’s Souls remake on the PS5, the developers actually considered implementing an “easy mode”.

An Easy Mode Has Never Ruined A Game

In video games, easy is a dirty word, even when it shouldn’t be. There’s something about the word “easy” that rubs some players as condescending, something that we should maybe leave behind — except where we shouldn’t. Like in FromSoftware games and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, a game that finds itself plagued...

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Just so we’re clear, this remake wasn’t handled by original developers From Software. The port was instead handed off to Bluepoint, who in addition to making a few visual changes also toyed, briefly, with changing some other stuff before — perhaps wisely — deciding, nah, that’s probably not within our remit here.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Bluepoint’s creative director Gavin Moore says “This project remakes the work of another development team. While we’ve made some changes, our core driving mantra has always been to preserve the spirit and intent of the original creators.”

“While we considered and discussed an easy mode, we ultimately decided it wasn’t our place — merely being custodians for this amazing game — to add something that would fundamentally alter its balance.”

There’s a little bit to unpack here. His first point is a good one, and probably the most important one made. Demon’s Souls is a uniquely From Software experience, and messing too much with it would have been a massive mistake.

But then, his reasoning for not adding an easy mode doesn’t check out either. How would adding an easier mode “fundamentally alter its balance” if you left the original difficulty in there as an option? You would have altered jack shit!

Ah, but here I go, wading into that timeless argument again. I’ll stop myself here, then, and just say you should go read the rest of the interview over at the Washington Post.


  • Obviously choice is better than no choice in most situations, but Demon’s Souls is one of those games that is singular in its vision.
    I am usually someone that plays most action games on normal or easy mode. I like to breeze through a story and enjoy it along the way.
    Demon’s Souls and Bloodborne are my only exceptions to that.
    There is something to be said for banging your head against a brickwall, the esoteric story, the feeling of being lost and overwhelmed, and the eventual success that comes with overcoming these obstacles.
    Take that away with an easy mode and it becomes a middling action rpg game.

    • To be fair, I know people that have given up on Souls games pretty early on because of their set difficulty.

      I’m typically someone who bumps difficulty up to hard/very hard or such in games that provide such options… I’m fine with banging my head against a wall at times, though my gaming background includes being one of those MMO veterans who has done foolish things like spend 8+ hours dying to the same boss with my raid group.

      Some people simply wont stand for anything of the sort though. Be that because it doesn’t end up being enjoyable to them or they simply don’t have the time.

      • I am a recent advocate for an easier difficulty setting in Souls games.

        I’ve completed Bloodborne and I’m about halfway through Sekiro. I definitely understand the appeal of these games. Having said that, I’m older now. If I’m spending 3 hours of my very limited gaming time trying to beat one boss, I’m not having fun. When I finally persevere, I don’t walk away with a sense of accomplishment, I feel frustrated at the wasted time.

        Not to take away from the people who enjoy that aspect and have the time for it. I just think accessibility can only be a good thing.

        • Yeah I’m all for it honestly, especially when it comes to games people can play solo.

          I honestly think the majority of complaints about adding such things come largely from people who have no self-control. People who’ll pick the easier difficulty just because its there and that somehow ruins it for them, so they decide that nobody should be allowed to have such options all because they can’t help themselves.

          • I think sadly there’s also a real sense of elitism of gatekeeping from the ‘hardcore gamer’ crowd. This sort of idea that Soulsborne games are the last bastion for the true gamer, a series of games built specifically for them and screw everybody else who can’t ‘git gud’.

            Just keep separate achievements for tasks completed on easy and normal settings. There’s so much more to these games than combat difficulty and less skilled gamers should still be allowed to experience the wonders of exploration and discovery as well as the unique slow-drip worldbuilding and lore even if they haven’t got the reflexes to beat bosses.

          • I think the souls/bourne series is one of the rare exceptions in this. Miyazaki in interviews has stated these games are created with a focus on challenge and the feeling of accomplishment by overcoming tremendous odds. If an easy mode was implemented into the game it would virtually go against the sole purpose of the games creation.

            I think people don’t want an easy mode because it will ultimately rob the game of it’s purpose. I understand that an easy mode would allow more people to access the game, but in doing so would tarnish the brands name for being a challenging game in the first place.

        • Totally me, but then I’ve never really appreciated frustrating difficulty levels in games.

          Now as a parent, and working full time, compared to being a student with much more spare time, I want to enjoy that limited amount of game time, so I’m one of those ‘Easy’ or ‘Very Easy’ players, just relaxing and enjoying the experience (there’s obviously still *some* challenge, and that’s enough for me).

          I love the *look* of these games, but I don’t get any joy out of dying and replaying the same bit over and over (or time limited stuff, for the same reason – fail, repeat, fail, repeat – screw that), never did.

          I’ll definitely give this a go if it ever ends up on PS+, but I remember when Dark Souls 3 (? I think it was) was free on PS+ a while back and I grabbed, I hit ‘nooooooope’ territory pretty quickly.

  • I don’t really get why this is surprising honestly… Especially when it’d probably be absurdly easy for them to add, as simple as an increased damage dealt and a reduced damage taken modifier. That’s really all difficulty options are at their core in most cases.

  • I would’ve welcomed it. I haven’t spent a hell of a lot of time with it yet because Valhalla has consumed my life entirely (I think I’m up around 50hrs in, now, and I haven’t even started the second alliance), but I’ve really been wishing I could access power increases already in Demon’s Souls. I haven’t figured out how to use my souls on anything except buying new weapons at the moment, and I’ve explored that massive freakin’ castle up to the point of the dragon roasting me on the bridge. I could really do with adding some points to some of my stats by now.

      • @transientmind

        Yeah, I think if you’re encountering the flames, then you should have beaten Phalanx. Go rest at an archstone and return to the nexus and talk to the ol’ wax-eyed maiden.

        • I haven’t seen anything called Phalanx yet? Nothing special happened after killing the red-eyed veteran guy who stands before a locked door. The only new person to turn up in the Nexus is that knight-guy I rescued from the ledge, who then wandered around the yard killing shit with me. And nothing else new to do in the Nexus. Just dumping my ridiculous tally of souls into buying new gear and adding it to storage so that I don’t lose so much when I inevitably fuck up a soul retrieval.

          I’m limited to running across the bridge at this point – it’s the only place I can see that has somewhere else left to go. I believe I’ve explored every other area. I just have to get the hang of sprinting past the guys the dragon didn’t toast, and getting to safety before it gives us all a spray.

          Anyway, like I mentioned before, I’ve only put a few hours in, I’ll need to let Valahalla have its way with me before I get back to it.

  • I haven’t played any of the Souls games, but I have played and 100% completed Bloodborne, which, according to some reviewers, was even harder than Souls and bordering or even crossing the “too hard” line. But I honestly didn’t find it THAT challenging. Was it more difficult than the average game? Sure. Did it have a learning curve? Absolutely. Did I die a lot? Of course I did. But it was never even close to the “throw in the towel” basket. Most bosses didn’t give me any real trouble and some I beat on my first go. Usually the path to the bosses was more challenging than the bosses themselves, but as long as I took your time and was careful about it, making sure I explored properly to unlock the shortcuts, I could get through.

    Having said that, I didn’t particularly enjoy the experience for some reason. I finished it so nobody could use the “lol git gud” line, but I dunno, it didn’t really click with me like it has with many others.

    • Having played the Souls games and Bloodborne, I’d say Bloodborne was harder… But I’d agree it didn’t cross that “too hard” line either. I feel like most of them are very good at walking that fine line.

      For what it’s worth I also feel like Bloodborne was just different enough to say that one might like it but not the Souls games, or not like Bloodborne but like the Souls games.

    • Agreed, with grinding, cheesing, and asking for help, Bloodborne was very manageable for any regular gamer. I suck and managed to finish it. What an amazing game it is too.

  • Question to all those who support an easy mode.

    Do you believe anyone who purchases World Of Warcraft is entitled to get all the end game gear for free? Running mythic raids is too hard for some, So should Blizzard add an easy mode that gives the exact same gear?

    Soulsborne games too hard? Tough luck. You are not entitled to finishing the game. The developers have a vision for what the game is. If you don’t like a hard game don’t buy it.

    Stop lumping in disabled gamers as a justification for your cry for an easy mode. A dude with cerebal palsy was able to complete Sekiro. Whats stopping you?

  • The ability to like, hellpoint increase and literally decrease the difficulty with effegys actually is a hard and easy mode. By altering the entire game words difficulty.

    You would know that if you played the game.
    I just played the og so what would I know.

    Sometimes I don’t think people in the video game article or review process know anything.

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