• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.

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
    202

K' Dash

Member
I'm 37, married and a month away from having a daughter, I've become really picky about how I spend my time with videogames, if developers choose to make their games unforgiving, I'll just buy something else.
 

Bakkus

Member
Completely depends on what type of game it is. Games like Super Mario World and Yoshi's Island are better games imo because of them being pretty easy, while games like Mega Man or all the character action games are better games because of them being harder and having a nice learning curve.
 
Outside of games that are specifically designed to be difficult, there’s really no reason not to include an easy mode. I think a lot of people believe that this particular ”genre” of game is more abundant than it really is. I’ve seen a lot of gamers preach option one, but throw a hissy fit when developers make games easier to be more inclusive.
 

teezzy

Banned
I just play everything on normal so idgaf

I ain't a wuss but I ain't skilled enough to be hard-core either
 
Given the abilities of real time metrics, AI and dev pipelines heading into this generation, and future generations, there really shouldn't be a just one difficulty setting for all. If you widen your perspective a little you'll see younger games, older gamers, accessibility gamers and more all highlight the importance of varied difficulty levels. I'd like to see a "developer recommended" sweet spot specifically for how they curate their exact game experience but optional to that a real time system or gamer selection that enables higher skilled players or accessible gamers access to play games how they want too.
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
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.
But maybe sales zoom up if they have easier options. The core gamers play them at the standard default difficulty which is harder than most games, but for others there's an easy option.
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
Should just be a dynamic difficultly which gets harder or easier depending on the player.
That would be a good option. Problem is it's easier to make 3 or 4 canned difficulty levels than making an algorithm analyzing player skill.

Most games increasing difficulty isn't even better AI. It's just the AI has better damage, hit point buffs or cheats. Or it's the reverse and you get shittier starting resources like in strategy games.
 

Danjin44

The nicest person on this forum
But maybe sales zoom up if they have easier options. The core gamers play them at the standard default difficulty which is harder than most games, but for others there's an easy option.
Based on games they released so far they clearly don’t want to and in fact it how they design their game what makes them well known.
 
Last edited:
Games should have multiple difficulty settings.

If that triggers you because you are so hArDcOrE and everyone else should GET GUD, you don't have to play them. Simple. Everybody wins. You get your penis compensator and the rest of the population with a healthy sex life gets to enjoy games.
 

ZywyPL

Banned
The more the better. If I want to blast through the story let me do so on the easiest difficulty. If I want a challenge let me challenge myself as well.
 

AJBungah

Neo Member
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.

Haha reminds me of Witcher 2 on release. Game was the stuff of nightmares and then several patches later the same sections esp in Act 2 were incredibly easy.
 

TheSweeper

Member
I hate the idea of hiding content or better endings behind a higher difficulty level. I like to play games on easy, it's more relaxing for me. I probably wouldn't buy a game that does stuff like this.
 

JimmyRustler

Gold Member
I was never a big fan of difficulties in general and hence was always a big fan of it when games only have one difficulty to start with (no matter if the base difficulty is easy or hard) and then, upon completion, higher difficulties are unlocked.
 

GymWolf

Gold Member
If you make an hard mode, make sure it is really hard and not piss easy cakewalk, the fact that most devs don't understand this simple thing is mindblowing.

Probably related with the pussyfication of modern gamers who want just to button mash their way to victory on normal mode.

Also don't lock your hardest mode behind bullshit requisites...no, i'm not gonna play your 100 hours open world game again, just gimme the fucking super hard mode right away.
 
Last edited:

ZywyPL

Banned
[...] and then, upon completion, higher difficulties are unlocked.

I hate this kind of approach - you want to get trophies/achievement for beating teh game on highest difficulty? You need to finish the game twice, while you could get them on the very first playthrough. Or some games are simply way too easy on the default difficulty level, completely killing the enjoyment, and you want to crank that up from the get-go, not on the second playthrough, which most likely won't happen after the bad reception the first run gave you.
 

Orta

console wars 2020 - participant
If you make an hard mode, make sure it is really hard and not piss easy cakewalk, the fact that most devs don't understand this simple thing is mindblowing.

Probably related with the pussyfication of modern gamers who want just to button mash their way to victory on normal mode.

Also don't lock your hardest mode behind bullshit requisites...no, i'm not gonna play your 100 hours open world game again, just gimme the fucking super hard mode right away.

 

cormack12

Gold Member
Ask yourself, have you ever not beaten a game because it was above you as a skill, or because you coudlnt put the time in getting to the skill level required. If games require skill to beat then you need to learn that skill. There's no game that has beaten me if I've been arsed to persevere with it.
 

sublimit

Banned
No difficulty levels. Difficulty levels are the lazy,safe solution.

Just put in the extra work and balance your game properly while having a clear solid vision. Doesn't matter if it gets too hard as long as it feels fair. Not every game should be for everyone.
 
Last edited:

Daymos

Member
Personally I think there should be NO CHOICES at the start, the game should be fairly difficult but if you practice and/or level up for a reasonable amount of time you can beat the game. After beating the game there's an optional harder difficulty. The end.

If you can't beat the game then too bad. You suck. The world needs more people who are willing to overcome challenges instead of whining about how unfair life is.
 
Last edited:

GymWolf

Gold Member
No difficulty levels. Difficulty levels are the lazy,safe solution.

Just put in the extra work and balance your game properly while having a clear solid vision. Doesn't matter if it gets too hard as long as it feels fair. Not every game should be for everyone.
During these modern times?! Devs would just make ultra easy games most of the times...

Even if different difficulty mode are shit and often unbalanced, it is still better than making only one difficulty level, devs are not all miyazaki, most devs want their games being played by most people possible and gives 2 fucks about people who want some challenge.

You can't balance a single mode for casuals and ultra skilled people.
 
Last edited:

ZywyPL

Banned
Ask yourself, have you ever not beaten a game because it was above you as a skill, or because you coudlnt put the time in getting to the skill level required. If games require skill to beat then you need to learn that skill. There's no game that has beaten me if I've been arsed to persevere with it.

Games are for people, not the other way around. What you say can work only once, because people will simply say "fuck it" and just quit the game, and probably won't buy any game from that dev ever again.
 

Zannegan

Member
Devs should make whatever they A. want and B. think will be commercially viable.

I'll buy whatever looks to be A. fun and B. challenging without crossing into time-wasting BS territory (and where I draw the line on that is purely subjective, lol).
 

Con-Z-epT

Gold Member
It should always be the developers choice.

The older i get and the more a play the harder i like my games, so i'm always up for a challenge. Difficulty is also highly subjective.

It depends on the game and what it sets out to accomplish.
As long as the game is balanced in a good way and provides a fair challenge then there is nothing wrong with a difficult game.
It can render a game inaccessible to a wider audience so those decisions are sure not easy for developers and i appreciate them.
Some of my most memorable gaming experiences came from hard games and what it meant to me to overcome those hurdles on my way.

Not every game needs to be hard and not every game should be easy.
There is a lot of room in the industry in making games with adjustable difficulty settings, without just raising or lowering some numbers.
I really liked the approach in TLOU2 with it's highly customizable difficulty.
 
Last edited:

sublimit

Banned
During these modern times?! Devs would just make ultra easy games most of the times...

Even if different difficulty mode are shit and often unbalanced, it is still better than making only one difficulty level, devs are not all miyazaki, most devs want their games being played by most people possible and gives 2 fucks about people who want some challenge.

You can't balance a single mode for casuals and ultra skilled people.
I think this is a very big discussion and it involves many aspects of both game design and production costs.The balance needs to be found not only in the game itself but also between publisher/developer as well as between budget,sales expectations and the developer's own vision.

Personally i believe there will be always room for fairly balanced games with no difficulty options as long as the publisher is not a greedy fuck and the developers can actually make a game that can stand its ground purely on its gameplay without having to spend insane amounts of money on marketing and graphics in order to sell it.
 
Being 37 myself and having a job, fitness goals, fiancé and kids. It took me a whole year to beat Doom Eternal on Nightmare with all the secrets, but I loved it.
 
Last edited:

GymWolf

Gold Member
I think this is a very big discussion and it involves many aspects of both game design and production costs.The balance needs to be found not only in the game itself but also between publisher/developer as well as between budget,sales expectations and the developer's own vision.

Personally i believe there will be always room for fairly balanced games with no difficulty options as long as the publisher is not a greedy fuck and the developers can actually make a game that can stand its ground purely on its gameplay without having to spend insane amounts of money on marketing and graphics in order to sell it.
Yeah but i ask you this once again, how can you please both the super skilled player and the casual with just one difficulty mode? the difference in skill sometimes is just too much...

How do you make a dmc game easy enough for the casual but hard enough for a veteran player? and this pretty much apply to every genre really.

Imo is just too much to ask to devs.
 
Last edited:

Ultra Donny

Member
Now a days I'm playing on casual mode across the board. Games have become mor of a way to experience the world and take part in a narrative. When I was younger I prided Myself in playing on the hardest difficulty. I don't see the walue in that for myself anymore. But I don't think my way of gaming suite everyone so I like the idea of choice when it comes to select difficulty. The last game I beat that I thought was hard was dark souls 3. Have been interested in Sekiro buy I won't go there.
 

Kev Kev

Gold Member
I don’t need a video game to challenge me. I can find plenty of that out in the real world, and do so everyday. When I come home I just want to relax, not get sweaty and frustrated with a toy. That doesn’t make any sense to me

Just include an easy mode you stinky, Cheeto finger nerds
 

NeoIkaruGAF

Gold Member
Today's hardest difficulty was the 90's normal.

I said what I said. 🙂
Aye, but there were few games in the 90s except for RPGs and some adventures that couldn’t be finished in 15 minutes to an hour when you knew their ins and outs like the palm of your hand. Their difficulty was intrinsic to their longevity. You can!t do that today unless you use glitches or a strategy that allows you to cheese the game royally. There’s no speedrun of Souls games that doesn’t include that. A game today is hours long even at the base difficulty, which in most cases poses no difficulty at all to a veteran gamer.
 

sublimit

Banned
Yeah but i ask you this once again, how can you please both the super skilled player and the casual with just one difficulty mode? the difference in skill sometimes is just too much...

How do you make a dmc game easy enough for the casual but hard enough for a veteran player? and this pretty much apply to every genre really.

Imo is just too much to ask to devs.
You can't.
Therefore you plan your game and your budget accordingly in order to catter to a specific target group. I'm a strong believer that not every game should be for everyone in order to make a profit. But when making a "sacrifice" like that it's much more easier to design a solid and bold game
 
Hard enough, but not so much it detracts from any enjoyment. A game needs to allow for some form of progression as it isn't fun when it feels like you're standing still for long periods. Bit like a curry - too hot and it aint enjoyable at all , however with a little less spice and it becomes far more palatable.

I.e., a game should sit somewhere between a korma and a vindaloo.

...IMO, of course :<
 
I hated in Dark Souls how everyone could get the best or one of the best armor the Havel armor just by walking into a room disgusting.Only the most dedicated the best should get greater best gear.Or ßthey make it luck dependent like Diablo with random drops.I play if possible games with a hardcore mode like in path of exile or diablo it’s more fun for me that way.Else if you can load in front of the boss door and have infinite continuous the games becomes cheap and not rewarding it’s not fun on an easy difficulty.
 

tommib

Member
The first option is the only correct one.

If that ends up limiting it's audience then so be it, it's not like there aren't plenty of other games out there for people to play.
Totally this. I believe in the auteur approach applied to videogames. If the vision from the dev team is to not have difficulty levels then so be it. Playing Returnal would not be the same community experience with different difficulty levels.
 
This recent Ghosts and Goblins thread got me thinking about difficulty levels.

Ghosts ‘n Goblins producer explains why ‘easy mode’ was added to one of gaming’s hardest series | NeoGAF

For me, I don't even really think about it anymore as I just play on default normal most of the time. But when I gamed on Genesis and SNES I definitely pumped up the difficulty as games were pretty easy back then.

But what's your call?
I think a good developer knows how to get the difficulty just right and doesn't need options.

Maybe a proper "children's mode" for games targeting a much younger audience to allow family friendly games to remain family friendly.

If someone is wanting easy difficulty modes for their violent, demon killing and dragon slaying game then thats just laughable.

A good dev knows their vision and trusts their audience and shouldn't really need to do too much more than offer a new game+ (++, +++, ++++ etc) for their hardcore audience.

You know a game is doing it right when as a player you find yourself NEEDING to engage with a games systems to actually beat the game. Exp, builds, items, game mechanics.

Its a bit strange that so many people are quite happy to chuck all that away because they just want to enjoy the story or whatever. Like ordering a nice steak at a restaurant and then just eating the salad and the table condiments because you are just there for the atmosphere while the steak goes untouched.

To appreciate a game properly I feel like there has to be a very strong connection between the developers vision and the player. Would be annoying to complete an entire game and then learn about some vital gameplay aspect that you missed because the game was too easy and you didn't need to engage with that at all.
 
Last edited:
Games should have multiple difficulty settings.

If that triggers you because you are so hArDcOrE and everyone else should GET GUD, you don't have to play them. Simple. Everybody wins. You get your penis compensator and the rest of the population with a healthy sex life gets to enjoy games.

"I'm not insecure, YOU'RE insecure!"

I don't know if this was supposed to come off as edgy but it's like you are compensating while thinking you are actually showing that others are compensating.

Did a mean old gamer tell you to "get good"? Why so angry?
 
"Soulsborne" games should have an easy mode.








I know you are joking but really those games usually have a lot of options for making the game much easier.

Theres always some overpowered build or weapon.

In the case of Demons Souls every boss battle is essentially just a puzzle. Once you've "got it" then there isn't really any difficulty. Even Sekiro is like that to some extent.

The argument for those games really ought to be "should a game encourage players to make difficulty easier through gameplay (levelling up, finding good gear, doing specific builds) or just forget all that and make it an option in a system menu".
 

PanzerAzel

Member
I’m not one to demand a developer waver on their creative vision in concession to the lesser skilled. That said, I don’t find it to be a concession to a creative vision to accommodate those of lesser skill by including difficulty options, and I’ve never understood that argument. There’s nothing that blemishes a game’s design or the achievements of the greater by accommodating the lesser. Options are never a bad thing because they’re optional.

Put a pink ribbon around my ankle if you must....I’ll swallow my pride, and guess what? Ninja Gaiden stands tall regardless, and is thought no lesser of. The vision remains strong, the skill required at the highest level is respected all the same. Bloodborne, the Souls games, Sekiro. The only thing FROM is accomplishing of any real consequence is smaller market penetration, a lesser bank account, and enabling bragging rights at such cost. They deem that worth it? That’s their prerogative, it’s their craft.

Perhaps if I thought video game braggadocio held any actual merit I’d feel different, but I don’t. Make your games prohibitively difficult....I’ll keep my money.
 

Knightime_X

Member
Normal difficulty should be based on the average player taking all skills into account from the beginners to professionals.
Some companies forget that not everyone plays games excessively at unhealthy levels.
It's just as ok for a game to have very easy and easy to hard and very hard.

At the end of the day if you gate who can enjoy your game then what was it all for?
Let someone enjoy it at stupid easy levels while also offering a difficulty that'll stuff their shit lube free.
 
Normal difficulty should be based on the average player taking all skills into account from the beginners to professionals.
Some companies forget that not everyone plays games excessively at unhealthy levels.
It's just as ok for a game to have very easy and easy to hard and very hard.

At the end of the day if you gate who can enjoy your game then what was it all for?
Let someone enjoy it at stupid easy levels while also offering a difficulty that'll stuff their shit lube free.
Something that is weird though is that these conversations always seem to circle back to "soulsborne" games when actually those games do allow for a range of difficulty.

If a player is struggling on a part of the game its usually pretty easy to farm souls to level up HP or damage or whatever. Pretty easy to look up the best weapons or strategies etc. Generally the difficulty does seem to be on a sliding scale, that is player controlled to an extent.

What you mostly see in the community is, in fact, people doing stuff to make it harder. No hit runs etc. New game plus 10 using only a shield or whatever.

I wouldnt even say there's anything that's too mechanically complicated compared to other games and Dark Souls is a bit slow actually so it's not like the game is frantic (like Returnal for example).

Not to say the games are easy but really there is a lot of scope within the games themselves to make things deliberately easier or more difficult depending on the player.

Isn't that better than just having a menu option?
 
The only thing FROM is accomplishing of any real consequence is smaller market penetration, a lesser bank account, and enabling bragging rights at such cost. They deem that worth it? That’s their prerogative, it’s their craft.

Perhaps if I thought video game braggadocio held any actual merit I’d feel different, but I don’t. Make your games prohibitively difficult....I’ll keep my money.

That's a different argument in some ways.

The question would be should developers make their game with the intent of having mass appeal and therfore shifting as many units as possible?

I feel like that would stifle creativity as devs and publishers just chase the newest trend and anyone not doing so is looked at like "Well I guess those guys dont want to make tons of money."

Are games art or just a consumer product? I think probably there is room for both?
 

Knightime_X

Member
Something that is weird though is that these conversations always seem to circle back to "soulsborne" games when actually those games do allow for a range of difficulty.

If a player is struggling on a part of the game its usually pretty easy to farm souls to level up HP or damage or whatever. Pretty easy to look up the best weapons or strategies etc. Generally the difficulty does seem to be on a sliding scale, that is player controlled to an extent.

What you mostly see in the community is, in fact, people doing stuff to make it harder. No hit runs etc. New game plus 10 using only a shield or whatever.

I wouldnt even say there's anything that's too mechanically complicated compared to other games and Dark Souls is a bit slow actually so it's not like the game is frantic (like Returnal for example).

Not to say the games are easy but really there is a lot of scope within the games themselves to make things deliberately easier or more difficult depending on the player.

Isn't that better than just having a menu option?
Unfortunately souls games are widely known for not utilizing the full range of the leveling system.
Each level after 25 is reduced to a less effective gain. And after 50 or so its even less with some "levels" offering no gain what so ever.

I don't think anyone would mind dark souls "difficulty" if leveling up wasn't capped at an early point.
If someone didn't want to be overpowered then don't level up. It can't be any more simple than that.

Sure someone would argue that the early caps forced them to rethink how they play the game to overcome challenges and that's fine. Personal goals are always welcomed.

The bottom line is play how you want and let others enjoy how they see fit.
Normal will always be the default and always available.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom