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Ok masters and disasters, what's you view on game difficulty?

What should devs do about game difficulty?

  • Studio can make the overall game as easy or hard as they want. Their game, their choice

    Votes: 135 66.8%
  • Studio should make many difficulty levels. But harder ones get more content or "the good ending"

    Votes: 19 9.4%
  • Studio should make many difficulty levels. And all levels get the same content and endings

    Votes: 42 20.8%
  • Other

    Votes: 6 3.0%

  • Total voters

fart town usa

Gold Member
Options are good and I love that JRPGs are embracing a super easy mode. Not that JRPGs are inherently difficult, but it's nice to be able to play some of them and not have to grind as much.

Part of me wishes that Souls games had a casual mode but I also know that it's completely unnecessary and shouldn't be done. It really is a series where "get good" is totally warranted. I just hate missing out on the awesome art design because I'm terrible at the games, lol.


I just wished difficulty was better AI or something more than just enemies with more hit points or me with none. I like the way TLOU2 does it. On my second play through I went with survivor for everything except for resources, I want to enjoy the combat with all the options open to me but with difficult enemies.


"Soulsborne" games should have an easy mode.



Locking (important) content or endings behind higher difficulty levels (on NG+) is a horrible idea. If you want your game to be hard, then make all of it that way.


Gold Member
Depends on the game so I guess I'm going with "Other".

If we're gonna get deep with this, it depends on what kind of experience you want the end user to have. I'm sure Miyazaki didn't care so much how his game sold as was he creating something he would like to play himself. In his case, difficulty was a huge factor and something he wanted in the game.

Other developers may prioritize user accessibility and may make a game easier to achieve that goal.

Personally, I prefer hard games because I'm a very competitive gamer. Easy games bore me to tears and I often don't finish them because I just lose interest.

I enjoyed games like Sekiro because it was hard and had built in replayability with it's multiple endings. NG+ is not always done right though. I never felt inclined to play NG+ just to have all my weapons and skills at the beginning of the game. Souls adds more difficulty, more enemies, harder bosses and that keeps me hooked.


Gold Member
First option.

That said, unless the game is specifically tuned where the difficulty as a feature, I find myself more and more just putting the difficulty on easy. I don't have time to mess around with B.S. for the sake of it.
Why would someone care about someone else's preferred difficulty level?

You completed a game on Ultra Hard level..... Well done....now what? 🤔
Compare it to people's tastes in spicy food. Some people can't stand any amount of spice, or are allergic. Some can try a broad range and like or hate individual foods. Some can't live without levels of spiciness that would melt other people's taste buds. It doesn't mean some foods should be banned, and it doesn't mean that all foods should come in hot and mild varieties - it just means that people should be free to choose the foods they want, because there's plenty of cooks around.

Developers should be free to make their games as hard as they want, without being required to add difficulty levels. Players are not entitled to experience every game from the safety of their comfort zone. There are plenty of games being made, more than enough for everyone. There can be hard games, easy games, games with adjustable difficulty, games with "true" endings, everything should exist. The biggest strength of the medium is variety. Some people explicitly like having to challenge themselves, and knowing that you have to challenge yourself to reach something.

The Cockatrice

Gold Member
The harder the better especially if it makes the game better. Tons of hp to dumb enemies is not "harder" or hard which is the worst offender in all looter-based games like Diablo, Borderlands, etc. Let the enemy kill me in a few hits but let me kill them in the same manner. Doom 2016 and Eternal got this right and these 2 are one of those perfect examples where playing on Nightmare is the best way to play the game. Divinity OS2 also does this pretty good where enemies get new spells and force you to think a lot more in combat.


Gold Member
I'm not a fan of difficulty settings in general tbh, I think it's best if a dev puts the time in balancing to a single clear vision. That usually results in hard but fair.

Usually, the more I like the game the harder the setting I'm happy to pick, repetition is never an issue if the respawn is fast and I like getting my ass kicked to finally beat something I find challenging.

It seems most effort usually goes into developing games to be played on "normal" and hard is just trash, made by re-balancing some parameters like health or damage.

But if I see devs going the extra mile altering game mechanics according to the difficulty - always a BIG plus for me. I like the way that worked in RE3R for example.

Gotta admit I sometimes play shit garbageware games for lolz and there I've learned to appreciate the "easy" setting to help with their broken design


Currently playing Gears Tactics on Normal but it's way too hard.
I like difficulty in games but when it's overdone then it's frustrating.


Gold Member
It’s the developers choice what they want to do. If they want to make a game notorious to beat or a cake walk and easy platinum, their call.

Fun for me is not dying a lot and replaying areas, so I’ll go easy or normal and may give a harder mode a go in new game+. I skip hard games or find a way to mod, cheat or cheese them.


Option 1 but there are times when I think multiple difficulty settings are essential.

For example a game like guitar hero would have been totally inaccessible if it only had expert, you had to build the muscle memory and slowly work up through the levels to become expert.

Assists in sim type games are also useful as training wheels that you can switch off as you gain proficiency.


Yea,I mean it's up to the devs.Games are mainstream these days anyway so AAA games will continue to be less than challenging on their normal settings.As long as there are harder settings should I want them then I've no issues really......same goes for easier settings too of course.


For me, it’s simple. Dark Souls is popular because it’s difficult, but in a fair way. You can always win.

I don’t mind the classic “You got this far on easy, do it again on a proper difficulty kid” in games like Rocket Knight for Gen/MD. Ghouls and Ghosts and Goblins was NES hard and it can fuck right off. As a wise woman once said:
aint nobody got time for that GIF
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Gold Member
I think devs should make their games as easy or hard as they want. I actually think there's value in games being inherently easy or hard and not everything needs to appeal to everyone.


God of War 2018. I wanted to play it on an elevated difficulty so it would mean more to me... I didn't really realise that it was going to be their take on Soulsbourne. Came for the story, postponed my playthrough for the sake of my free time. Reload 4 lif3 is all well and good if you go looking for it, but it seems like the default difficulty setting for a lot of games coming out these days is the proverbial, very small but very real, gator bite.. I'd like normal to be a difficulty that can be completed through challenge without having to reload a save more than once or twice an "act".. leave the reloads on every fight to the series that brought them back.

But i chose first option. Let there be difficulty. I see it and it is good. I do believe that the 05-14 (or so) period was considered one of toning down games for the sake of plot development.
Devs can make whatever game with whatever difficulty they want. Not every game is for everyone nor should they be.

I usually play games on the default, normal, or equivalent setting. A balanced game makes everything better with most games being designed around their standard difficulty anyway, at least it seems that way. Getting into higher difficulty usually leads to chaos as the balance between things in the game goes away to make things more difficult. Some people like the chaos so more power to you and crank up that slider! If there is no difficulty setting, or not enough of them, then it should be viewed as part of the game design, not some sort of exclusion device.

This question feels like an extension of the dustup about not adding difficulty choice or an "easy mode" to the Demon's Souls remaster. Leaving it be was the right thing to do btw.


Difficulty today is basically broken. If you beat a game in the first week of release on the hardest difficulty, you earned some stripes. After patches and actual balance and when its been long and forgotten, its usually a cake walk. Not easy, but it will be less painful.


The nicest person on this forum
I think devs should make their games as easy or hard as they want. I actually think there's value in games being inherently easy or hard and not everything needs to appeal to everyone.
Basically this, best games comes from when devs trying make specific experience instead of trying to appeal to everyone.


I go back and forth. Some games I play on normal, others on easy. Two kids takes up a lot of my time so some games, easy makes things a bit smoother for making solid progress.

that said, I actually prefer when games don’t have a difficulty setting, and the devs just make the game they way they wanted. Case in point, souls is my favorite series and I have all the plats, hollow knight, Returnal, etc. these games are hard, which contradicts my preference for easy modes, but that’s the game they designed, and I respect it. And love it!

SF Kosmo

...please disperse...
Obviously it's their choice but I think it's good policy to make a range of difficulties and not judge the player for it. This is often really a matter of accessibility. People should be able to play your game regardless of their abilities.


First option obviously. I used to play on normal, then switched to a harder difficulty and found out I enjoy it more. It can get frustrating, but eventually more rewarding. Also, Sekiro was my GOTY in 2019 and I still haven’t finished it, but every time I kill a new boss, I truly feel like celebrating.

Kev Kev

Gold Member
give the game an easy, normal and hard. if you cant find one of those that works for you and helps oyu have fun, then that game just isnt for you. for me that game is doom eternal. first game in 25+ years of gaming that i couldnt beat even on the easiest mode. if thats how the devs want it then 🤷‍♂️ oh well, sucks for me, just gotta move on. but i wont be buying the next doom as a result, and thats a god damn shame
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Normal people who don't game 7/24 will find that the standard difficulty is very challenging because they do not develope the same muscle memory level of hardcore gamers.
If you game 24/7 and feel that games aren't challenging anymore, then no higher level of difficulty will ever satisfy you because you keep getting better and better at beating new challenges. It is like wanking 10 times a day for 10 years. You don't feel it anymore. 😂


"Soulsborne" games should have an easy mode.

I will take the bait :). From my experience an easy mode would totally ruin the gameplay in soulsborne games. It should never happen.

But Returnal does need an easier mode or at least a mode where items are permanent and rooms are not random and biome prograssion is saved so no retreading old areas once a biome has been completed.


Gold Member
I am not a fan of difficulty settings that don't change the game in some way.
if you only change how much damage enemies deal or how much damage you deal, then that's just boring and useless.

the best games out there have no difficulty settings however, and are just designed in a single way and all the attention of the devs went into balancing one single mode as best as possible. one such game is Dark Souls 3 (or the souls games in general) which is one of the best games ever made, an absolute gamedesign masterpiece. Nintendo usually also does this with most of their games, only 1 mode and that's it, that's where all the attention of the devs went towards

so if you have difficulty settings, they better actually change the game in some way, or you shouldn't even bother with them and just make 1 mode as best as possible.
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Gold Member
In polls, my choice is usually among the consensus, but I chose multiple difficulties at the same content/endings.

For sake of gaming being more popular, I think they should have multiple difficulties. I totally get what other people are saying like a Souls game isn't the same if made easy and there's tons of games, so pick another game that has more difficulty levels. But putting on my Hat of Personal Preference +3, I say give gamers some choice.

I didn't think my poll would be this decisive at studio's choice. But hey, the people have spoken!
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The nicest person on this forum
In polls, my choice is usually among the consensus, but I chose multiple difficulties at the same content/endings.

For sake of gaming being more popular, I think they should have multiple difficulties. I totally get what other people are saying like a Souls game isn't the same if made easy and there's tons of games, so pick another game that has more difficulty levels. But putting on my Hat of Personal Preference +3, I say give gamers some choice.
But games like Souls/Sekiro are popular and sell pretty well and still being true for their version, I think games become worst when they try chase popularity.
If I dont have time to invest into a game to beat it if the game is too hard, I'll either drop it for a while, or just go "eh fuck it, let me just turn on WeMod" and just cheese through it.

I generally do those for older games.

And if you play older games, and your time to play is short, you'll understand why.


I will never be able to get to the second loop that's required for the true last boss and ending in any of the Dodonpachi games, and I'm perfectly fine with that. I still play the shit out of those games.


Gold Member
I almost always play on the standard/medium/normal difficulty the first time through games. Other than that games having no difficulty options are fine with me.


I voted the first choice.

That being said, depending on the game I may just set the difficulty to easy. Especially games where I hate the combat or gameplay, but like the story such as FF7R.


Neo Member
What I look for is a Git Gud difficulty. Going in may be daunting or even torturous, but once you've gotten the flow, it should be a breeze.
Games difficulty should be balanced just well for my skill level, not too hard that I have to try a million times... but not so easy that the game feels like a pushover and there is no challenge at all.

That must be clear enough!
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