Elden Ring isn’t Intentionally Easier, but More People Will Finish it – Miyazaki

"We want players to use their cunning, study the game, memorize what’s happening, and learn from their mistakes," says Hidetaka Miyazaki.

Posted By | On 28th, Jan. 2022

elden ring

Grueling difficulty has been a defining trait of FromSoftware games ever since Demon’s Souls first launched in 2009, and that’s something that has been abundant quality in each of the studio’s mainline releases in the years since then. Soon, the studio will be expanding into new horizons with the open world action RPG Elden Ring, but will still very much be building on what it excels at. So what does that mean for how Elden Ring will handle difficulty?

In an interview published recently on the PlayStation Blog, when the topic of difficulty in games and accessibility was brought up, FromSoftware president and Elden Ring director Hidetaka Miyazaki said that it’s “a valid discussion” and is something that the studio pays attention to. According to Miyazaki, FromSoftware games are challenging not just for the sake of it, but to “encourage the player to overcome adversity.”

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

Miyazaki went on to say – and not for the first time – that with the added progression and gameplay options that Elden Ring’s open world design enables, the game will automatically have a smoother curve of challenge than previous FromSoftware titles, before adding that though the game hasn’t been made “intentionally” easier, he still expects more people to finish it than is usually the case with the studio’s releases.

“In Elden Ring, we have not intentionally tried to lower the game’s difficulty, but I think more players will finish it this time,” he said. “As I mentioned, the player’s level of freedom to progress through the world or return to a challenge later are all elements that I feel will help people get through the game at a more leisurely pace. Also, there isn’t a focus on pure action. The player has more agency to dictate their approach against, for example, the field bosses in the overworld and how they utilize stealth in various situations. We’ve even reduced the number of hoops that you have to jump through to enjoy it in multiplayer. So we hope the players embrace that idea of receiving help from others. And we feel like the overall clear rate will go up this time because of these things.”

Of course, those who do finish the game are going to have to invest plenty of time, with it recently having been confirmed that its main story is around 30 hours long.

Elden Ring recently went gold, and will launch on February 25 for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, and PC.


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