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partious

Would you ever play a "zero challenge mode" ?

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43 minutes ago, Alex W. said:

To be honest I think the thing you’re quoting isn’t about challenge at all but about volume. I put about 60-70 hours in to RDR2 and I think I saw the game over screen a dozen times, invariably due to bad scripting rather than challenge (ie I failed because I acted out with the mission expectations). Conversely a hellishly taxing shoot em up play-through or an expert run through a Metroid might take a fraction of the length of a modern game and is completely free of busy work but is by no means certain to succeed. So, yes, less drudgery please, but challenge is an orthogonal issue.

 

Perhaps I could have chosen a better word than challenge, one that applies equally to Souls games, AAA western open worlds and grind heavy JRPGS.

 

I agree that open worlds and jrpgs generally aren't challenging in the way that a shmup is. But there are systems in place to slow down/place roadblocks in front of the player's progress and pad out the game. Exchange x amount of your time in order to gain x amount of xp and be able to beat a boss, do fetch quests and side missions to collect enough money to do some story related thing etc etc. Padding comes in different forms.

 

So yeah, in the case of souls games it's about challenge/difficulty, in the case of some other games it's about the ability to skip sinking time into unfulfilling activities in order to progress the story.

I guess the common theme is allowing the player to play through the game on their own terms, if the standard mode isn't working out for them.

 

The old cheat cartridges had all the bases covered. They should bring those back or provide similar functionality on the system itself.

 

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This whole argument is similar to one in another thread, where I saw people posting about their mates skipping all the dialogue and cut-scenes in Assassin's Creed just to get back to the gameplay. 

 

What is and isn't a game is entirely subjective. Some people love a challenge, some people don't; some people love a good story, some people just want to stab motherfuckers in the face. I recently played two very contrasting games: Control, and Gears 5.

 

Control has no difficulty setting, and it is a relatively difficult game until you learn the game's systems, which ultimately is very rewarding if you do so. But some people are bouncing off the difficulty spikes that can catch you out.

 

Gears 5, on the other hand, has difficulty setting options. So what did I do? I whacked the difficulty down to beginner, and had an absolute blast enjoying the story. I died only once! :lol:

 

I love both games, but Control is by far my favourite. I went straight into a second playthrough of Control; I'm done with Gears 5 and have moved on to another game.

 

Sometimes a game will come along that, even on the lowest difficulty, has gameplay so good that you actually want more of a challenge. The Halo and Mass Effect games spring to mind here, specifically Halo Reach, and Mass Effect 2. And more recently, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Marvel's Spider-Man.

 

This is kind of a rambling post, but I'm going to sit on the fence here. Games like Bloodborne, and Control, which offer no difficulty option and therefore force some players (like myself) out of their comfort zone, are two of my all time favourite games this generation. On the flipside, if a game does have a genuinely good story to tell, I believe the player should have an option to play at whatever level they feel comfortable with to enjoy that story.

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Sometimes I enjoy watching videos of games being played, I enjoy documentaries about games, making-of features, 'boundary break' explorations of game worlds that show how they're put together. Modern games are wonders of craftmanship and artistry, so I can see the appeal of games that allow you do that 'built in' to them in some way. Much like movies come with special features, games could have special extras that let you just fuck about in their world or enable a 'god mode', or watch a pre-played walkthrough while listening to a commentary by the creator or something.

 

Realistically, this would be something I'd do in addition to a 'normal playthrough'. I can't imagine paying for a game and then only doing this with it. But it depends on the game and it depends on the person. To each their own, and all that.

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Even if you took out the grinding, something like Dragon Age inquisition would still be shite, because the story is terrible garbage. Without any systems to distract you from that, you’ve got David Cage games. A terrible story that wouldn’t make it in to the sci-fi channel that occasionally pauses itself and asks you to press a button to continue watching.

 

Obviously games like Alpha Protocol and Life is Strange make the game out of a choose your own adventure style structure, and they’re both excellent because they’re designed as interactive stories and effort has been put into the writing. But most games seem to have no respect whatsoever for storytelling structure or the job of a writer. They’re either written by lead designers who think they’re also talented movie writers, or given to someone incredibly cheap to save money. We’ve had games with celebrity likenesses for twenty years, and had numerous film directors involved in games, but I can’t think of any games made in collaboration with famous writers, except for Elden Ring.

 

Movies make up a disproportionate amount of the influence gaming draws from other media, when structurally it’s the least like it. Radio plays, TV shows, comics and novels would all make better inspirations than movies, and I’d argue that when technical limitations forced games to be more like novels than movies they generally had better stories. At the moment most triple A story based games are like GTA, they’re like a movie structure except it’s two hours till the inciting incident, then the first act is thirty hours long, the second is three hours and the last act is one mission. That’s a terrible balance, and I’d point to that as a reason so few people finish games long before I’d go to difficulty. The reason finishing games feels so good is because there’s usually a massive rush of actual story development at the end which feels far more satisfying after hours of nothing but posturing and maintaining the status quo.

 

Just fucking with the difficulty or amount of gameplay won’t fix the problems with storytelling in video games, it will just remove the dressing that hides them.

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I can see the benefit of this kind of mode in something like Bloodborne. There’s not really much story or padding in that game, but I’m not sure it’s fair to assume that story is all you would get out of a mode like this. Games are unique in that even if there’s no challenge in the conventional sense, you can still get a lot out of them just from the fact you’re interacting with a virtual world. That would cover stuff like tearing round the map in Need for Speed, or parkouring round the city in Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, where there’s a conventional game element in drifting round a motorway flyover at speed without crashing or skilfully negotiating a tricky ascent of a building without falling, but it would also cover stuff like just walking round the village in Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, or riding your horse, Neil Tennant, round the world in Red Dead 2, where there’s no real conventional game element of challenge.

 

Maybe it’s just me, but I periodically just load up games and just wander around the game world. I’ve even done it with games like Destiny and Halo, where I’ll play a custom game on a multiplayer map and just walk around on my own, taking in the detail and the worldbuilding. Even in less extreme cases like walking simulators, where the walking around is the whole point, the act of exploring the world is something fun that you couldn’t get in any other medium, and couldn’t get from watching somebody else play it on YouTube.

 

On the specifics of Bloodborne, one of the great things about that game is the incredible architecture and the sheer amount of thought that’s gone into crafting the world, and the way that the story and the history of that world is told through little fragments of text hidden in item descriptions. The player has to take all those assorted fragments, and put the story together themselves. I can totally see how someone would get a lot out of the game purely through those aspects in some kind of no-enemies / no death mode. Not me obviously, I finished the game on my first go using the Steel Battalion controller, with no deaths. I am the best at playing games.

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I personally think “fatigue”, “loss of interest” etc. is specifically down to lack of challenge.

 

Playing a modern day AAA, is 100 hours of “passing through” a game. You’re rarely pushed so your entertainment levels remain pretty constant. You can only do this so many times before it all becomes mundane.

 

Learning and achievement is what keeps interest/desire high IMO.

 

Modern games have made people podgy and lazy, and they demand instant gratification. You want some desire back, go and play something where it kicks you back to the start and says “Do it again! Better!”

 

And people who say the don’t have time to keep playing the same bit over and over, is rubbish. If you have 20 hours to “play through the story” of a modern game, you’ve got 20 hours to sit and learn a game you can complete in half an hour once you know how to do it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I spent a long time not realising that if you play a game on Easy mode, there's a chance that sections of the game will be missing.  I always assumed that the game was the same but with difficulty levels toned down, and never realised I was often missing entire sections of the game.

 

Recently, I've really enjoyed playing Bloodstained, and for me, the thing I liked is that you are free to take part in as much or as little of the challenge as you like.  I always enjoyed the exploration in Castlevania games and found the bosses to be annoying when it takes me ten attempts to beat them, or ended up levelling up by walking around the castle for an hour before going back to try again.  Bloodstained was great because one or two of the shards were overly powerful.  The Welcome Company is great for ploughing into an enemy and just twatting it over and over.  The majority of the bosses are beatable that way, and I found that to be a good thing, even though some would consider it broken.  In fact, the latest patch for Bloodstained in toning down the strength of Welcome Company significantly and I think that's a mistake.  

 

Having a challenge-free mode in Space Invaders would render the entire game pointless and dull.  If the aliens never come down there's nothing to do.  But I really appreciated the choice that Bloodstained offers, because if you want to use all the different weapons, craft new ones, explore the different endings etc, then you can do - it's up to you.  But if you don't like bossses, just plough straight through them and get back into playing the stuff you do like on the other side.

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2 hours ago, Broker said:

We’ve had games with celebrity likenesses for twenty years, and had numerous film directors involved in games, but I can’t think of any games made in collaboration with famous writers, except for Elden Ring.

 

Douglas Adams with the Hitchhiker's Guide game, Bureaucracy, and Starship Titanic.

 

David Brin on the Dreamcast Ecco the Dolphin game.

 

... And that's all I can think of.

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There’s a few, here and there. William Gibson worked on a game called MEG 9, which seemed to disappear without trace. Richard Morgan and Peter Watts worked on Crysis 2 (doing dialogue and working out the biology for the aliens, respectively). Alex Garland co-wrote Enslaved and consulted on DmC. Orson Scott Card wrote some of the dialogue for the Dig, Secret of Monkey Island, and did the backstory for Shadow Complex.

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4 hours ago, PeteBrant said:

I mean, do you want a 1 hour 30 version of "Once upon a time in Hollywood" to suit your schedule?

 

Probably not the best example, I think we’d all like a 1.5 hours version of that movie. 

 

2 hours ago, Sprite Machine said:

Much like movies come with special features, games could have special extras that let you just fuck about in their world or enable a 'god mode', or watch a pre-played walkthrough while listening to a commentary by the creator or something.

 

I remember the Tomb Raider remake had something like this - after completing once (I think) you could play through again with commentary from Toby Guard. It took the form of purple save crystals littered about the levels, and he would natter on about how they made the original game - it’s from where I found out the dinosaur valley was always supposed to be outdoors, but they couldn’t technically achieve the effect. Mind blown!

 

I think I would only like to play games without combat, etc. if they were games designed not to have it in the first place, like walking simulators. It can be frustrating when a game’s difficulty is pitched too high, but I like to experience the game as the creators intended. 

 

What i I would be in favour of, however, is a rewind function being hard-codes into every console. I’ve never been able to beat Super Mario World in my life, but thanks to the SNES virtual console in Switch I’ve managed to finally do just that. 

 

I like this compromise because a) you still have to beat the challenge as it’s presented but b) you don’t have to tear your eyes out in frustration, retreading miles of in-game terrain to get back to where you were. 

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8 hours ago, partious said:

Would you ever play through a game using a "just the story please" mode (not just an easy mode, one that actively strips out levelling systems and collectathons etc) that stripped out a lot/all of the "challenge" and just basically let you walk through and enjoy the story/spectacle? I guess I mainly have rpg games in mind since they usually have the closest thing you can get in videogames to a worthwhile story but also some of the least engaging/most repetitive and padded out gameplay and systems (in my opinion). The example I gave was how I (and others I knew in school) used cheat cartridges to play through ps1 era FF games, because even as kids random battles and grinding felt like a waste of time, but we still wanted to play the games and enjoy the adventure. Modern consoles are so locked down that you don't have that option anymore though.

No.

 

During the Amiga days 98% of my massive games collection was pirated and came default with a plethora cheat codes. I did not mind because I got to play a game, experience it (arguably in the worst way possible) and move on to the next. It was free, there was no investment or attachment.

Nowadays I buy all my games. I want a nice return for my so-called 60 dollar investment ok.

 

 

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I'd like to cross-post some stuff me and @robdood talked about in the Sekiro thread, because there are some interesting thoughts about challenge in there...

 

On 14/03/2018 at 15:39, Qazimod said:
On 14/03/2018 at 15:16, robdood said:

I'd agree Dark 3 has the best bosses. 

 

But here's more sacrilege from me: I'd prefer if there weren't any bosses at all.  Make it all about the exploration. Still give us big, tough enemies, but fuck having bosses with health bars that lock you in an area.  Fuck having stupid gimmick bosses like Seath or giant things which you fight hair physics as much and the boss (Vicar Amelia). 

 

Imagine if you could stumble on someone like Father Gascoigne and try and run away, only for him to relentlessly chase you through the streets of Yharnam! Especially in final form <3

Why stop there? Imagine if From did a new non-combat adventure game - no hulking bosses, no studying wind-up animations, no repeating the same encounter a dozen times. Everything is atmosphere, mood, and mystery. Maybe death could still come from environmental hazards, or traps set by key characters, but you could use your knowledge of the map to circumvent danger, or your knowledge of the in-game community to talk to the right people, gaining vital knowledge about how to safely get to another location. Or maybe there are "bosses", but you can gain a huge advantage by setting certain events in motion through earlier dialogue...and by the time you reach an adversary they're already on their knees. (You could argue this already happens in existing From games, but only for a few scenarios.)

 

As a fan of Bloodborne I kind of "get" why people enjoy games like that, and I hope people still experiment with the formula (as daft as the "x meets Dark Souls" trend is, I like seeing people put their own spin on things like this), but maybe From could take lessons from the less action-centric moments of those games, and create something with broader appeal without losing that sense of atmosphere or discovery?

 

Now, I've gone through a few Soulsbornekiro ( :hmm: ) titles myself so I'm not demanding that they stop making challenging games, but it's easy to see the appeal they hold to an outsider who feels intimidated by the challenge. You can get the player to think about succeeding in a situation without it being entirely about the combat - give us massively sprawling environments to explore, introduce us to complex characters and leave us wondering who is on our side and who will fuck us over. Bury important details in item lore and create dungeon crawls that are built around traps and puzzles rather than reflexes and stats (BB even hints at this kind of approach in the chalice dungeons, if it weren't for the enemies...) Again, I don't mind From's current design ethos as it is, but there's room for other kinds of games...

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It's something from a design point of view I have thought about for some years now. Especial when it comes to games that are just insanely hardly that are designed for the five people who have the time, patience and skill to finish them.

 

One such example is the last stage on Cloudberry Kingdom, it's designed for next to no one to finish and requires weeks of practice, this is not fun or good games design...

 

 

It's just poor design aimed at people who live in bedrooms so you can gloat and taunt other when you have done it, which said a lot about the game itself. This is one game I refuse to buy as it is just so unfun as a platformer.

 

Case and point, I'm working on the Godseeker DLC for Hollow Knight great game, but this DLC requires you to finish all bosses in the game in one go, to 112% the game. I'm really enjoying it, but it is tough very tough. I worked in the games industry as a professional tester, so I do enjoy the challenge in Hollow Knight as most of the bosses are well designed. However, doing it myself I know most gamers will not get to the final hidden boss at the end of Godseeker. As I get older the less time I have to play game, if you have a family even less and there is a serious point now about, allowing gamers to progress in the story by tuning down the difficulty. Many older games have the skill to finish games they just don't have the time to keep repeating boss battles or grinding levels to progress. Not least if you have young kids running around the house.

 

The old gameswipe interview with Dara Ó Briain (Jump to 2:33 in the video) makes a great point about this as well.

 

 

Would I play a zero challenge mode, if I didn't have the time to playthrough harder sections of the game "YES" would I want to if I didn't have to "NO". But I am no longer the kid I was in the 80s and 90s, I can't spend, all day playing video games and I don't want to spend hours learning how to beat one boss or level. Some games designers, need to keep this in mind.

 

Mind you if I ever did a game with a Zero Challenge Mode, I would call it Dara Ó Briain mode. ;)

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This is a very interesting topic and one that I'm torn on. 

 

I do think there should be (as there is) lower difficulties, as I know I certainly don't have the time or the skills that I did when I was 15. Also, as mentioned elsewhere, the nature of the console game buying public has fundamentally changed.  While games were a few times a year luxury in the 16 bit console days due to cost, the same is not true now. This is especially relevant in an era with Gamepass and the rise of cheaper indie games. 

 

However I don't see the point of a zero challenge mode, if it means literally stripping out most of the interactivity and essentially turning the player into a bystander. While you do get the "walking simulator" style of titles, I feel that you strip away what makes a lot of "a game" by taking away the element of danger/and or challenge. 

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No, I am rarely interested in the story.  I think RDR2 is the only game i have ever sat through every cutscene. Normally, no matter how good the game I skip them.

 

I am very short of time these days but I still completed RDR2, what's the rush, why the hurry to just get through the game.  I think I spent about 6 months playing it exclusively.

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2 hours ago, Cool Ben said:

No, I am rarely interested in the story.  I think RDR2 is the only game i have ever sat through every cutscene. Normally, no matter how good the game I skip them.

 

I am very short of time these days but I still completed RDR2, what's the rush, why the hurry to just get through the game.  I think I spent about 6 months playing it exclusively.

 

Thats fine for you but some of us have very hard to satisfy habits where we can only be happy when buying 3 or 4 games every month. ;)

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Regular reminder that zero challenge for most is still a challenge for some.

 

Also I would totally play a Space Invaders mode where they don't move down the screen if it involved some sort of time challenge.

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18 hours ago, Qazimod said:

Now, I've gone through a few Soulsbornekiro ( :hmm: ) titles myself so I'm not demanding that they stop making challenging games, but it's easy to see the appeal they hold to an outsider who feels intimidated by the challenge. You can get the player to think about succeeding in a situation without it being entirely about the combat - give us massively sprawling environments to explore, introduce us to complex characters and leave us wondering who is on our side and who will fuck us over. Bury important details in item lore and create dungeon crawls that are built around traps and puzzles rather than reflexes and stats (BB even hints at this kind of approach in the chalice dungeons, if it weren't for the enemies...) Again, I don't mind From's current design ethos as it is, but there's room for other kinds of games...

 

There definitely are, but it seems weird to me that a lot of people seem to be expecting FromSoftware to make them. They've gotten very successful making specific types of games for a specific audience, so what I always find weird about the Dark Souls easy mode debate is how much focus people seem to put on demanding that the people in the industry who are best at making these specific types of games should be allocating more of their budget, time and effort to adding modes and options that are counter to the the design ethos that has made them successful. Anybody could set about making an easier Dark Souls style game, or one with no combat, but tonnes of this discussion seems to focus around entitled demands that current franchises from visible publishers should adapt their game to be more generic and ordinary. If you add quest markers, and a map, and you reduce the difficulty of the combat so the player doesn't die very often, you're literally stripping out all the unique and exciting things that made Dark Souls stand out from other games. People go on about the architecture and atmosphere being something they'd like to experience, without realising that what makes that architecture meaningful and what builds that atmosphere are the choices made in every aspect of the design, especially the enemy encounters. Dragon Quest Inquisition has beautifully designed towns and buildings. You walk through them ignoring them because you're pushing towards a quest marker and looking at your map, and there's no challenge so you only visit them once and never really become familiar with them or appreciate their details. The way you play Dark Souls, from the progression, to the layout, to the dying again and again, is what creates the atmosphere and what breathes life into the locations, pull that out and you've got any other AAA game with lovely art direction that you never see as you're checking your map for the next quest marker and then leaving that place forever.

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23 hours ago, jonny_rat said:

To focus on just one thing here, I think something like a dynamic boss-skip in a SB game would be a problematic half-way house solution. They're all about teaching patience and how to approach bosses and situations, etc - enable a boss skip and you just end up ferrying them to the next challenge which they'll find even more difficult because they didn't build up the experience from the last one. So presumably you'd end up in a situation where players were dying continually to bosses until they enabled the skip.

 

Just to derail slightly, I don't know that I think this is very true in Bloodborne (the only Souls game I really got into.) I don't think I learned anything fighting Rom or Vicar Amelia or the Blood Stained Beast that helped me through later levels.  Working my way through the intricate levels, taking out the level enemies and so on, yes I'm learning and getting better (and having a great, exacting, rewarding time.) Taking on those bosses? Not something I felt I was getting anything out of at all, other than them being in the way of me getting to the next level. And eventually, I got to a point where all my options had bosses that were insurmountable to me, despite my skills being more than sufficient to clear the levels themselves.

 

Which obviously is fine. People love these games. But it does mean I'm unlikely to ever buy another one.

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1 hour ago, Broker said:

 

There definitely are, but it seems weird to me that a lot of people seem to be expecting FromSoftware to make them. They've gotten very successful making specific types of games for a specific audience, so what I always find weird about the Dark Souls easy mode debate is how much focus people seem to put on demanding that the people in the industry who are best at making these specific types of games should be allocating more of their budget, time and effort to adding modes and options that are counter to the the design ethos that has made them successful. Anybody could set about making an easier Dark Souls style game, or one with no combat, but tonnes of this discussion seems to focus around entitled demands that current franchises from visible publishers should adapt their game to be more generic and ordinary. If you add quest markers, and a map, and you reduce the difficulty of the combat so the player doesn't die very often, you're literally stripping out all the unique and exciting things that made Dark Souls stand out from other games. People go on about the architecture and atmosphere being something they'd like to experience, without realising that what makes that architecture meaningful and what builds that atmosphere are the choices made in every aspect of the design, especially the enemy encounters. Dragon Quest Inquisition has beautifully designed towns and buildings. You walk through them ignoring them because you're pushing towards a quest marker and looking at your map, and there's no challenge so you only visit them once and never really become familiar with them or appreciate their details. The way you play Dark Souls, from the progression, to the layout, to the dying again and again, is what creates the atmosphere and what breathes life into the locations, pull that out and you've got any other AAA game with lovely art direction that you never see as you're checking your map for the next quest marker and then leaving that place forever.

 

The highlighted part is the only bit they really need to change to make their games more accessible really. Has anybody asked for the rest?

 

Difficulty is totally subjective and some people struggle to press two buttons simultaneously. A ridiculously easy mode would allow some people to actually play these games. Everyone else can ignore that option. 

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55 minutes ago, Uncle Mike said:

 

Just to derail slightly, I don't know that I think this is very true in Bloodborne (the only Souls game I really got into.) I don't think I learned anything fighting Rom or Vicar Amelia or the Blood Stained Beast that helped me through later levels.  Working my way through the intricate levels, taking out the level enemies and so on, yes I'm learning and getting better (and having a great, exacting, rewarding time.) Taking on those bosses? Not something I felt I was getting anything out of at all, other than them being in the way of me getting to the next level. And eventually, I got to a point where all my options had bosses that were insurmountable to me, despite my skills being more than sufficient to clear the levels themselves.

 

Which obviously is fine. People love these games. But it does mean I'm unlikely to ever buy another one.

Yeah, I don't agree either. I've played and finished Dark Souls 1, 2 and Bloodborne. Got to the last but one boss in Dark Souls 3 before getting bored. Up to the Corrupted Monk in Sekiro.

 

The bosses can be good setpieces but they aren't that well designed in general. People are going to hate that but I just find them unreadable and frustrating in general. The best part of those games is the tentative exploration and soaking in the world design. The bosses are the worst part of the games. However, in Sekiro, this is actually reversed from what I've played. The exploration is still good but the good bosses are incredible. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Camel said:

 

The highlighted part is the only bit they really need to change to make their games more accessible really. Has anybody asked for the rest?

 

Difficulty is totally subjective and some people struggle to press two buttons simultaneously. A ridiculously easy mode would allow some people to actually play these games. Everyone else can ignore that option. 

 

Options don’t get added to games for free, adding an easy mode is more coding and more balancing and more testing. The budget for that would come from somewhere. If everything had infinite time and budget I’m sure we’d see more options, but as it is the resources to do that come from somewhere. FromSoftware are successful in part because they took their limited budget and used it in unusual ways. It’s perfectly feasible that if it had needed to provide, balance and test three difficulty levels they might not have had enough money to even finish Demon’s Souls. I’m betting if they were a normal triple A game their weird, innovative online stuff would’ve been cut a long time before difficulty modes. 

 

Nobody has has ever suggested that it’s not ok to make an easier Dark Souls game. What seems weird is people feeling entitled to demand FromSoftware restructure the entire development and budget of their next project to suit their personal tastes. Not only is it the opposite of what has made them successful and recognisable, it’s just not ever going to happen. Dark Souls has an extremely modern and diverse set of tools to moderate the difficulty, all of which are more intelligent and more in keeping with the design goals of the game than making your character invincible because people want to wander around the environment without actually having to play the game and don’t seem to have heard of the PC version.

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On ‎12‎/‎09‎/‎2019 at 08:40, gossi the dog said:

Some games already have auto combat modes, which I think is what you’re suggesting? Hellblade and I think Judgment have such modes. I personally don’t see the appeal, but it’s there if you want it.

Hellblade has an auto combat mode? Christ, why didn't I know this. I hate the combat in it

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13 hours ago, Broker said:

There definitely are, but it seems weird to me that a lot of people seem to be expecting FromSoftware to make them. They've gotten very successful making specific types of games for a specific audience, so what I always find weird about the Dark Souls easy mode debate is how much focus people seem to put on demanding that the people in the industry who are best at making these specific types of games should be allocating more of their budget, time and effort to adding modes and options that are counter to the the design ethos that has made them successful.

 

Going on a slight tangent, I'd argue that From already make games with lots of variety between them - I roll my eyes whenever a seemingly new and innovative IP is slapped with an "Eldritch/Samurai/Norse Souls" label by fans because it's like saying that they only know how to make one game. BB and Sekiro in particular have lots of stuff in them that made them easier for me to enjoy (even if they weren't necessarily always easier to play) than DS - I always found that BB's counters and viscerals felt less ambiguous than DS' parries, I like the way Sekiro doesn't tether you to a stamina bar, I think medieval fantasy isn't as interesting as cosmic horror or Motherfucking Samurai, I think Rally changes the pacing of BB entirely, I like the movement options and verticality of Sekiro, I appreciate the absence (or, at the very least, the diminished relevance) of equip loads in BB and Sekiro, I think it's neat that Sekiro has a few locked arenas but other minibosses you can just run away from. And so on.

 

I've mentioned before how I bounced off DS1 entirely but platinumed BB, even though they're apparently the same game if you're to believe some people. Sure, some players might not get on with any of From's games, but other players may just be too quick to dismiss them as being identical...

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3 hours ago, Broker said:

 

Options don’t get added to games for free, adding an easy mode is more coding and more balancing and more testing. The budget for that would come from somewhere. If everything had infinite time and budget I’m sure we’d see more options, but as it is the resources to do that come from somewhere. FromSoftware are successful in part because they took their limited budget and used it in unusual ways. It’s perfectly feasible that if it had needed to provide, balance and test three difficulty levels they might not have had enough money to even finish Demon’s Souls. I’m betting if they were a normal triple A game their weird, innovative online stuff would’ve been cut a long time before difficulty modes. 

 

Nobody has has ever suggested that it’s not ok to make an easier Dark Souls game. What seems weird is people feeling entitled to demand FromSoftware restructure the entire development and budget of their next project to suit their personal tastes. Not only is it the opposite of what has made them successful and recognisable, it’s just not ever going to happen. Dark Souls has an extremely modern and diverse set of tools to moderate the difficulty, all of which are more intelligent and more in keeping with the design goals of the game than making your character invincible because people want to wander around the environment without actually having to play the game and don’t seem to have heard of the PC version.

 

Well you kind of did actually the last time this topic came up:

 

 

As for your post above - yes, there are costs involved in plumbing in accessibility. As a developer, I'm well aware of that. I thought this thread was about whether we'd like to see these things though? My answer is yes, I'd very much like games to be more accessible to more people.

 

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I don't know if determining how much "work" an easy mode would be is that straightforward if everyone has their own idea of what that easy mode could be. I brought it up in the "Should all games have an easy mode" thread but Persona 4 Golden has some excellent difficulty options - you can choose presets of easy, normal, hard etc but you can also independently specify the damage the party receives from attacks (low to high), the damage the enemy receives from attacks (low to high), the EXP and money gained from victories (low to high) and what happens after a game over (restart a battle, restart the dungeon, reload your save.) I'm not about to say "If Atlus can do something like this why can't everyone else" but surely a lot of the difficulty adjustment can be handled with maths - applying multipliers or divisors to damage dealt, damage taken, health restored from healing, EXP gained. The "work" comes from striking the right balance in multiple variants of game stats.

 

Even then, the maths exists without a solution like P4G's. If you want bigger damage numbers in a From game, make your attack power better by taking on foes you're confident in dealing with and cashing in your experience. The issue isn't necessarily the challenge, it's the time investment, because nobody wants to do the Central Yharnam run dozens of times to gain another level or 20 more blood vials. ;) 

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I think what I have in mind is more extreme than what some others are thinking of. I mean removing all obstacles so that a game can basically be walked through. I haven’t played Persona(I’ll use this example as it was mentioned above) but I assume I’d want something similar to what I could do in FF7 on ps1 with the action replay device. Massively overleveled characters so that you can just wreck the bosses in 3 seconds, random battles completely removed etc. Basically just walking from one section of the game to the next.

 

I can see that there’s a sort of common theme among people who think the idea is dumb, which is that they just believe that video game stories are uniformly worthless. Maybe most are forgettable, but when you combine it with the soundtracks, artistry and game worlds, combined with the fact that moving a character from scene to scene provides a level of connection to the experience that is unique to games, there can be a fulfilling experience in there. As mentioned watching someone else play on YouTube is a completely different thing that I have zero interest in.

 

I wasn’t really thinking of souls when I made this thread, because even though I don’t have the willpower to git good at them, I do respect that they’re all about finely tuned gameplay and level design. I still think easy modes would be nice.

My issue is more with games where I love the idea of the setting and the art etc, games that cost hundreds of millions of dollars and took thousands of people to make, but then have boring waste of time gameplay bolted on. Assassin’s Creed, big jrpgs, anything that has rpg elements or fetch quests or just mind numbingly boring gameplay. 

 

 I love arcade games and they’re 90% of my gaming time. If a game’s loop and mechanics are actually fun, there’s nothing better in gaming than sticking to it and improving your skills.

 

I played Alan Wake a year or so ago. I like Stephen King novels etc so I thought it would be right up my alley, and it was, until I realized that there was about one enemy type, and just some of the actual worst gameplay I’ve ever experienced. Run to next area, same enemy spawns, shine torch on enemy, then shoot with gun. But you also had to collect ammo etc. I can’t respect that as gameplay and if it isn’t remotely enjoyable or satisfying, I feel like my experience of the game I bought would be improved by not having to deal with it. It’s just a waste of time. But I wanted to play the game to experience the story/setting. Luckily I was on PC so I pulled up the console and made myself invincible\respawned all my inventory whenever it ran low. I finished the game and quite enjoyed the experience. I wouldn’t have been able to stomach actually dealing with the “challenge” all the way to the end because I realized an hour into the game that I hated that part of the game. Do I feel bad that I didn’t play Alan Wake the way the devs intended? Eh..no,

 

I can play through Outrun 2, Metal Slug or Layer Section repeatedly because I enjoy every moment I’m playing them. What’s to enjoy in the repetitive drudgery of the gameplay of something like Alan Wake? Would I be satisfied if I became a great Alan Wake player? I don’t think so. It feels like padding and shallow garbage gameplay, that exists just to introduce fake roadblocking into a game where the money and effort clearly went into everything other than the gameplay. I’d rather just skip it and enjoy the parts of the product that actually appeal to me.

Some PC games make it easy enough. All modern console games make it impossible, on old consoles it was easy thanks to cards like the action replay and game shark.

 

I’m not “demanding” that every dev include a mode made just for me (people like to come into threads like this and complain about some strawman poster who’s demanding this and that). I’m just lamenting that it used to be rather easy to do this in console games, but nowadays it’s impossible as far as I know. Also, it wasn’t as much an “all devs should do this because I want it” thing, as it was an “I wonder how many others would be interested in this or am I just weird to enjoy playing certain games without engaging with their idea of challenges” thing.

 

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I still think your ask feels a little confused (and apologies if it feels like I'm overly- going on about it.)

 

You talk about having a mode where you're massively over-powered and can smash through everything, but then it seems you're imagining that in Assassin's Creed, which isn't at all a hard game in the first place (and does have an easy mode on top of that) where it somehow avoids you having to play loads of fetch quests (which don't really exist as mandatory elements.)

 

What those games are is massive by design, not difficult. The story and questing is essentially a framework to get you to go to the places on the map, and engage with the systems they've built (for Assassin's Creed, that's some combo of stealth and combat, obviously.) Making it even easier wouldn't change anything about how much game there was. You could already buy that game and wander around its whole area without playing much of the content past the tutorial section in any case.

 

I sort of wonder if you've got cause and solution confused.

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