Elden Ring Will Be Easier, Dev Says, But No Difficulty Options

Elden Ring Will Be Easier, Dev Says, But No Difficulty Options
Screenshot: From Software / Bandai Namco

Elden Ring director Hidetaka Miyazaki recently sat down with Japanese gaming outlet Famitsu to discuss the upcoming From Software adventure following its stunning reintroduction at E3 2021. While their conversation treads similar ground to other interviews, Miyazaki also got into the ways his team is hoping to make the game more welcoming to newcomers.

Since releasing 2009’s Demon’s Souls on the PlayStation 3, From Software has carved out a niche in the gaming world for its unique brand of unforgiving combat. A Souls-like, as these games and their imitators have come to be known, can often feel overwhelmingly difficult, but they also provide a great sense of accomplishment to those players who take the time to persevere and master the mechanics.

This has led to some heated conversations about whether or not From Software should add easier difficulty options to future games, with one side arguing for increased accessibility and the other suggesting that decreasing difficulty would amount to the studio not remaining true to its ethos or, in more hyperbolic appeals, cheating oneself out of a fulfilling experience.

Elden Ring won’t feature traditional difficulty levels, Miyazaki reportedly told Famitsu, but he believes its new systems make the game a more forgiving experience than previous From Software releases like Bloodborne and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.

According to translations by Frontline Gaming Japan, Miyazaki puts Elden Ring’s difficulty on par with Dark Souls III due to its open-world nature as well as mechanics like stealth and the customisable spirit summons that should make combat less overwhelming.

Since Elden Ring is less linear than previous games, bosses — a historically important part of the Souls-like experience — can be avoided in favour of exploring a new area. From Software hopes this leads to fewer instances of players getting stuck on a boss battle and not being able to advance the story. The game can even be completed without defeating some bosses, Miyazaki said, a side effect of the freedom of choice for which the developers are striving.

Multiplayer is also a factor, and while details are scarce, Miyazaki mentioned that the online system makes it easier to call in backup this time around. And if all else fails, Elden Ring players can still leave messages scattered around the world, providing tips and words of encouragement or simply commiserating at tough points in the game. Don’t give up, skeleton!

I don’t expect Elden Ring to end the difficulty arguments, but it’s nice to hear what From Software is doing to make its wonderful, epic adventures more accessible. Its long-awaited game finally launches on January 21, 2022 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Steam.

Comments

  • Easier than Seikiro I can get behind but Bloodborne wasn’t exactly a hard game in comparison.

  • Dark Souls 3 wasn’t exactly a cake walk.

    I reckon there’s plenty they could do with optional telegraphing, like the red symbols in Sekiro or the different enemy attack types in the Batman Arkham games, without having to actually change the design of battles.

  • what it sounds like is the core experience is being made more accessible but, the focus on freedom and player choice also means that there is more obvious side content. side content that is free to be as difficult as it likes because the core path of the game is completable without it.

    In true souls fashion though I expect the side content to have a load of lore implications that give an entirely different perspective to the core path.

  • Hard to tell what the combat is like from all the “gameplay” leaks. Be curious if the character move like their Dark Souls counter parts, or if they’re a bit more fluidy/actiony.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!