Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the games industry and the idea of an easy mode. Some people insist that they need to be in every game, in fact, every time FromSoftware puts out a game, the whole debate sparks up again with websites like Kotaku being at the forefront of those demanding an easy mode for disabled gamers and those who just want to enjoy the story. The thing is, people who need specialised technology to play games will have it, the game’s difficulty isn’t the issue, and I’d argue that no one wants to dull down a game’s experience, especially a title from FromSoftware. Those games are built to be challenging. And anyway, there’s no such thing as easy mode.
What I mean by this is that games like Elden Ring launch with a set difficulty. There’s no way to make it easier, but you can make it more challenging by completing the game and creating a new game + save file. Outside of that though, you’re stuck with the base difficulty. This is easy, medium, and hard mode all wrapped up into one. There’s nothing else out there for players to try. If they don’t like the difficulty level, they simply need to persevere or quit.
This is the crux of the easy mode argument. People don’t want to quit a game like Elden Ring because it has this level of prestige around it already. Since it’s from FromSoftware, people know it will be difficult and want to be able to say that they’ve completed it. That’s nothing to brag about though. You can complete a game and move on, that doesn’t prove anything. Anyone can learn how to beat the bosses in the game through sheer determination, and it’s nothing more than a personal triumph.
If, like Kotaku, you’re hankering for an easy mode in 2022, just think about all the games you’re great at. Some people out there are terrible at those games, even though you consider them easy. It’s the same thing. Difficulty is subjective, and just because you can’t beat a boss on the first go doesn’t mean that FromSoftware needs to add an easy mode.