Elden Ring Director On Game’s Difficulty: ‘More Players Will Finish It’

Elden Ring Director On Game’s Difficulty: ‘More Players Will Finish It’
Image: FromSoftware

We are less than a month out from the release of Elden Ring. Some are already planning to take off from work to play it. Others are planning to take off from the internet to avoid what will likely be another round of game difficulty discourse. Director Hidetaka Miyazaki has broached the subject in a new interview, saying that while he didn’t set out to make Elden Ring easier as some might have hoped, he thinks more people will finish it than past FromSoftware games.

Asked about game difficulty and accessibility over on the PlayStation Blog, Miyazaki tried to set the record straight on what the Dark Souls games are really about before diving into why he hopes Elden Ring won’t stress players out as much as his past games.

“I feel like our approach to these games, not just Elden Ring, is to design them to encourage the player to overcome adversity,” he said. “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, memorise what’s happening, and learn from their mistakes.”

The game director went on:

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.

Image: FromSoftwareImage: FromSoftware

Those new options, as hinted at in previous interviews, include more opportunities for stealthily sneaking around and bypassing enemies and bosses, as well as going and exploring a different part of the open world after getting stuck somewhere. Miyazaki also reiterated that multiplayer summonings will be much more accessible this time around, giving players more chances to call for backup to help them through particularly difficult moments.

“In Elden Ring, we have not intentionally tried to lower the game’s difficulty, but I think more players will finish it this time,” Miyazaki said.

He continued elsewhere in the interview:

In general, I’d like new players to feel unpressured and that they can approach the game at their pace. I don’t want to enforce any playstyle or particular route because I’d like them to experience that sense of freedom. And I realise that while we offer games with a high level of challenge, we design them in a way that feels fulfilling to overcome. But I don’t want new players to worry or stress about that difficulty too much.

Players have been debating whether the Souls games should have difficulty settings for years, and while the games industry overall has started trending toward making games more accessible in all sorts of ways, FromSoftware has lagged behind. While it’s not clear exactly yet what the full suite of Elden Rings accessibility and customisation options will be, it sounds like the open world nature of the game itself might go a long way toward meeting different kinds of players where they are, even if it still occasionally finds ways to kill them en masse.


  • The challenge in a from soft game is a big part of the appeal.

    The voices constantly crying out for an easy mode just need to git gud and stop trying to wreck it for the rest of us

    • No one will put a gun to your head and make you play in story mode if you don’t want to, but not everyone is so enamoured of loading screens that they want to memorise a fight by playing it a gazillion times so they can beat it.

      You do you, obviously, pump the difficulty up to “masochist” and let your freak flag fly. But if GRRM is writing a game, I want to play it and experience the story, and still have time to run a household, look after my family, work, eat and sleep, at the very minimum. And I suspect there are more people like me with the requisite disposable income than people like you.

      • Ah now you see what you fail to realise is that the difficulty of the souls games and the persevering through the failures is part and parcel of the story and experience.

        I was once like you. Foolish. Naïve. Just wanting a quick finish / easy mode to get the the ending of the Souls games. It took me maybe 3 years of off and on again attempts to finally have Dark Souls 1 “click” and for me to understand the way the game is meant to be played and enjoyed.

        Now every other game I find myself comparing to the FROM Software games. Wishing they could capture the same experience and satisfaction one gets from overcoming what once felt like an impassable impasse. You will find with time that the joy and pleasure you feel from the game, is to overcome the challenges. If there was an easy mode or an easier version of the game, then the experiences and journey wouldn’t have the same impact when you have success. In fact one could even say they’d be lesser games and boring. But, I feel with maturity perhaps you will one day realise this.

        Also wtf is up with your demeaning remark about “people having a disposable income”. Did you just assume that you some how have more disposable income then the original poster because they don’t suck at video games like you do?

        I’m on triple digit salary, have a full time career I’ve built over 2 decades, and I would never think to make such a arrogant remark like that. Pull your head out and get over yourself mate. Also, git gud or go back to COD seriously kid. These games are either for you, or they ain’t. Watch a youtube play through then maybe, cos I hate to tell you, this game is still gonna be hard.

        • No, my disposable income crack was more about how many people would buy the game. There are a lot more middling-able gamers, like me, who have constraints upon their time and won’t bother with a game where you have to memorise a fight in order to progress. That’s all. If I anticipate that I’m going to have to give up because I’ve got better things to do with my time, the GRRM or not, I’m likely decide to not buy it and, as you say, watch a let’s play or similar. It’s a commercial concern.

          There’s a lot of us out here, ‘s’all I’m saying.

          Also, you don’t have to be an arse about it. I’m sure there’ll still be a Master Masochist level for you and yours.

          • Oh well ignore the last paragraph then. I thought you were insinuating that because of your income you were better than the OP.

            The rest still stands. The games aren’t actually that hard. I’m telling you from my own personal experience that if I can (post 40) do the hardest bosses in this game, so can you.

            Apologies for misunderstanding what you were saying in the original reply.

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