Elden Ring director Hidetaka Miyazaki recently met with Japanese game magazine Famitsu to discuss the new adventure they’re preparing. One of the things he commented on was the difficulty of the game and how the development team is dealing with this issue.
Since the release of Demon’s Souls for PlayStation 3 in 2009, From Software has built a well-deserved reputation for making extremely challenging games. Soul-like games, as they and their imitators have known, play on the idea of making combat extremely difficult, but at the same time offer a greater sense of achievement among players who take the time to persist and master the mechanics.
Of course, this sparked a heated debate about whether or not From Software should provide options to make its games easier. One side of this debate advocates the need to improve accessibility, and the other justifies the current difficulty as part of the company’s DNA and reasons why it’s easier would betray the gaming experience.
In the case of the Elden Ring, Miyazaki has already submitted to Famitsu The game will not have difficulty levels, but it is also confident that the new game mechanics offer a more intuitive experience than previous games such as Bloodborne or Shekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
Miyazaki balances the difficulty of the Elden Ring with that of Dark Souls III thanks to the open world mechanics and features like stealth and the ability to summon spirits to make combat less stressful.
Elden Ring will be less linear than previous games (something that has always been a constant in Souls). It will be freely explorable, and From Software is confident that this will prevent players from getting stuck in a particular match.
Multiplayer is also a factor. Details on how it works are still scarce. Miyazaki mentioned that the online system would make it easier to ask for help from other players. Again, messages can be left all over the world, which seems trivial, but title players are well aware of the importance of early warning or advice before a potentially fatal fight (and they all are).
It doesn’t seem likely that Elden Ring will end the debate over the excessive difficulty of From Software titles, but it’s good that its developers are working to make their next epic adventure a lot easier. Elden Ring will be available January 21, 2022 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Steam.