When the brutally difficult action game “Demon’s Souls” was reborn on the PS5, it rekindled a familiar, divisive debate: Should the game have an easy mode? Bluepoint, which took the reins for the remake from the game’s original creators, Japanese studio FromSoftware, contemplated adding an easy mode and ultimately decided against it, revealed creative director Gavin Moore in an email to The Washington Post.
“This project remakes the work of another development team," wrote Moore. “While we’ve made some changes, our core driving mantra has always been to preserve the spirit and intent of the original creators. While we considered and discussed an easy mode, we ultimately decided it wasn’t our place — merely being custodians for this amazing game — to add something that would fundamentally alter its balance.”
The topic’s endurance and fervor in video game discourse has shown how arriving at an answer is difficult at best, with any outcome likely to provoke criticism. At the root of the debate is a question about reconciling the challenge of a game with its accessibility, something that has prompted opinion pieces in outlets such as Game Informer and Kotaku, particularly about “Souls” games. Some argue that “easy modes” aren’t an adequate enough answer for accessibility to begin with; others have noted that difficulty and accessibility are separate issues.
Moore had made it clear that “Demon’s Souls” would have no easy mode in late October, stating in an interview with Game Informer, “There are no difficulty options, and there shouldn’t be,” adding that he felt the game’s challenge was “fair.” What Bluepoint and Sony did, however, was introduce a number of accessibility features to allow more people to play the game while also utilizing the PlayStation 5′s new user interface to offer help for the game’s grind.
Though the difficulty is unchanged, Bluepoint and Sony didn’t want to leave players without help, especially for those playing the game for the first time. As such, PlayStation Plus members can access 180 tip videos without exiting the game, as part of PlayStation 5’s new UI. You can view them by clicking on an activity card in the control menu of the PS5.
“I think a lot of new users hear ‘Demon’s Souls’ and they go ‘Oh that’s game’s really difficult.’ But it’s not. It’s actually very fair. It’s challenging, but very fair,” said Moore in an earlier conversation with The Post. “But we do understand that people get stuck. ... And we’ve got 180 plus help videos that actually sit inside the game, so if you do get stuck, you can bring up, as you’re still playing, one of those help videos and it will tell you, ‘In this area, you need to do this,’ or ‘This is the best tactic against this boss.’ The way the system works is it will show you a video if you ask for some help, which is just enough to give you a hint. And then if you still haven’t got it, you can look at the next one.”
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