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Returnal director says Housemarque could ‘do more’ to make games more accessible but making them too easy may lessen the impact of the narrative

Returnal director Harry Krueger has said that developers can always “do more” to make games more accessible, but that the gameplay challenge and narrative of Returnal are “inseparable”.
“I think we can always do more and could always add more support for different ways to play the game and different control methods. I think when it comes to the difficulty I think it is a question of what kind of experience you are having with Returnal.”
“[For example], the character, Celine, she is talking about dying over and over and how these are insurmountable odds, and she can’t keep going on, and there’s this descent into madness that is happening purely because of the challenges she’s facing, and her challenges are the player’s challenges as well in many ways.”

“It feels like if you were allowed to just power through a boss without any challenge, or just go from A to B to C through the narrative points, it almost feels like it would create a bit of dissonance.

“The game is telling you this is really challenging, and that you’re overcoming these obstacles but you wouldn’t have had to experience that friction. So that’s always a line to walk, but it’s something we’re going to keep in mind.”
Source: VGC

I feel like we need to separate the concepts of accessibility and difficulty. These concepts don't always go hand in hand. Games like Returnal or Souls aren't supposed to be easy...

We need to realize not all games are for everyone and that's okay.

People nowadays wouldn't survive gaming in the 90's...
 

Kokoloko85

Member
Eh, I loved the difficulty. I only disiked and found the 3rd boss too hard without a Lob or electro gun.
Doesn’t really effect the narrative overall
 

peter42O

Member
Sounds like bullshit. Narrative doesn't have anything to do with the game being a pain in the ass. For example, each world should be like Alienation's maps where if you die, you start that world over but if you go to world 3 and die, you should not have to start over at world 1. Also, I shouldn't lose my weapons. Had an awesome assault rifle which didn't last long as I died shortly thereafter. The RNG doesn't help either. A total and complete waste of $70 for me. If Housemarque's next game is another roguelike bullshit, it will be a skip for me.

P.S. - Where the hell is my DinoNation??? Let's go Housemarque!!! I get zombies and aliens but can't get dinosaurs which is rarely done. UGH. :(
 

skit_data

Member
I think it struck a good balance. Challenging enough to make it feel like an accomplishment and addictive enough to go for one more round.

I hope they fix glitches and bugs before launch the next time though. Had a cipher glitch on my save close to launch and it didn’t add to the total cipher count. Playing though the whole game again just to collect ciphers in Crimson Wastes to get the platinum doesn’t appeal to me at all.
 

Kokoloko85

Member
Multiple difficulties has been around for ages.
Make the game you want. Then later release an easy/harder mode etc or even on launch
 

Wildebeest

Member
What impact does your narrative have if people just give in and maybe look a youtube video of the ending if they care at all. Make a game frustrating or waste player time if you like, but do that for its own sake, don't use narrative as a fig leaf.
 

Ogbert

Member
How can you look at that bullet storm and call it boring? Like really explaim that process of thought
I think the problem with the game is it is caught between two design philosophies. On the one hand, pure arcade. On the other, roguelike.

I feel it compromises on both. As it is procedurally generated, Housemarque (top five developer for me) were not able to craft perfectly tuned levels, outside of the boss fights (which are awesome). And the roguelike element is abysmal. No build variation of note, nothing to work towards. The game feels out of balance.

I also am not a fan of the ‘Prometheus’ Alien aesthetic, but that’s on me; I can imagine others love it.
 
I think the problem with the game is it is caught between two design philosophies. On the one hand, pure arcade. On the other, roguelike.

I feel it compromises on both. As it is procedurally generated, Housemarque (top five developer for me) were not able to craft perfectly tuned levels, outside of the boss fights (which are awesome). And the roguelike element is abysmal. No build variation of note, nothing to work towards. The game feels out of balance.

I also am not a fan of the ‘Prometheus’ Alien aesthetic, but that’s on me; I can imagine others love it.

There really is no problem, the game is fine. Its just not your cup of tea
 

Ogbert

Member
There really is no problem, the game is fine. Its just not your cup of tea
Sure. Game is fine.

But that’s why it frustrated me, it should be my *perfect* game. I just found the roguelike elements so, so boring. And the malignancy mechanic is one of the worst design features I’ve seen implemented. Completely pointless gamble as the rewards are so minimal.

I think it’s a pity the difficulty issue gets raised (which I have zero problem with), as it gets in the way of some of the other areas being discussed.
 

BPX

Gold Member
Sure. Game is fine.

But that’s why it frustrated me, it should be my *perfect* game. I just found the roguelike elements so, so boring. And the malignancy mechanic is one of the worst design features I’ve seen implemented. Completely pointless gamble as the rewards are so minimal.

I think it’s a pity the difficulty issue gets raised (which I have zero problem with), as it gets in the way of some of the other areas being discussed.

Is it the most boring game you ever play it? Because I still need to check it out.
 

SlimySnake

Member
It took me 20 hours to beat the first half of Returnal and 2 hours to beat the second half. The game is manageable if you dont die and carry on your builds from one boss to the next. Starting over can fuck up your build due to RNG and the game does a piss poor job of offering upgrades making every run matter.

Hades took me longer to beat, but it was far more rewarding by letting me level up my health, my damage, my weapons, and add almost 20 different skills to my repertoire while I kept dying over and over again.

I actually went back recently and played the crap out of it for another month leveling up weapons and once you unlock the most powerful traits the game does get easier, but it is IMPOSSIBLE to unlock them in the first half runs and even in the second half, they take forever to level up unless you cheese them by skipping to the final area with respawning enemies. Even then it takes 5 minutes of killing things to level up one trait at a time. This is not a good leveling up system.

Dark Souls is brutal but fair. You gain experience, level up, gain new weapons, rings, items, gear, and simply learn the level design. In a procedurally generated game like Returnal, you dont learn the levels like you do in Souls and you dont get anything permenant aside from some weapon traits that take forever to level up.

They are very close to mastering the formula. They just need to look at other games in the genre and learn from it. Games HAVE to be rewarding ESPECIALLY if they are punishing.
 

SLB1904

Member
I think the problem with the game is it is caught between two design philosophies. On the one hand, pure arcade. On the other, roguelike.

I feel it compromises on both. As it is procedurally generated, Housemarque (top five developer for me) were not able to craft perfectly tuned levels, outside of the boss fights (which are awesome). And the roguelike element is abysmal. No build variation of note, nothing to work towards. The game feels out of balance.

I also am not a fan of the ‘Prometheus’ Alien aesthetic, but that’s on me; I can imagine others love it.
What a bunch of nonsense, the procedural generated levels aren't that different in fact makes the game look fresh and at the end of the there isn't much of randomness. If you play the game enough you'll be familiar with the levels, because they repeat itself. Secondly you have the advantage of having enemies rotating which is awesome. Avoiding repeating the combat everytime making each run fresh. Also if you die enough the weapons upgrade keeps increasing eventually you'll mealt everything and get more power ups. A weapons that was boring now opens a portal that shoots beams.

"No build variety" what build variety you want? Redtrict the player with a single weapon like hades? Hey look you can only pick shield, or a sword or fist cuffs? And make you fight the same bosses over and over?
malignancy mechanic is one of the worst design features I’ve seen implemented. Completely pointless gamble as the rewards are so minimal.

Another nonsense. There is nothing to gamble about the malignancy nechanic, you weren't paying attention.

There are items that remove the malfunction from the malignancy items from your character, you have a chance to get a malfunction or not, if you get it you still have the ability to accumulate 3 malfunctions, before you lose an artifact. Once you have 3 malfunction use the item, and you keep the benefits.

I bet my ass you did not gave the game a chance at all. Because you clearly didn't get it how it works
 
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He's not taking into account that people have different skill levels. As long as the intended difficulty is clearly marked I think having more options is good.
 

fart town usa

Gold Member
gear up arnold schwarzenegger GIF


"Accessibility in gaming"
has nothing to do with difficulty options.

People are coopting a word in order to push an incredibly lame agenda; "this game is too hard, dumb it down for me please"

Being able to consistently beat a game isn't something we encountered until the 6th generation of gaming. Even then, it was mostly the 7th gen that really started the hand holding.

We get a handful of brutally difficult (AAA) games every few years and some people lose their minds like it's actually an issue. It's all so dumb. It is totally FOMO too because it's only ever the massive releases that get these arguments going. No one cares about the indie roguelike that kicks your ass and doesn't have difficulty options. People don't even know the name of such a game because no one gives a shit, it's not an issue.

I feel like people have grown accustomed with plowing through a game over the course of a weekend while gorging on the endless supply of releases like their binging Netflix. Everything is disposable, just give me what I want so I can move on to the next thing. You fuckin' gluttons have no shame. Sometimes games are tough and require a bit of time and skill. I honestly tend to avoid those games but as a random nobody, I'll take it upon to myself to argue with people about the merits of these games being able to exist w/o an easy mode being included.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Reaction GIF
 
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Arthimura

Member
Honestly I thought it was already silly to enable co-op for the main campaign.

The game was planned for single player. You should either git gud or don't finish the game.

It's like if From Software released co-op for Sekiro after one year.
 
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Withnail

Member
When you die and go back to the start and Selene says "I must try harder", you realise that her struggle is your struggle and the whole thing is amazingly coherent. And you're nearly always making progress even if it's just the knowledge gained along the way. I absolutely love the game and I think it's genius. I'm not even particularly good at shooters so if I can get through it anybody can.
 

SLB1904

Member
When you die and go back to the start and Selene says "I must try harder", you realise that her struggle is your struggle and the whole thing is amazingly coherent. And you're nearly always making progress even if it's just the knowledge gained along the way. I absolutely love the game and I think it's genius. I'm not even particularly good at shooters so if I can get through it anybody can.
Also the new tower is pure arcade. Even if the main story isn't your cup of tea, you could just do the tower like proper old school arcade game.

God bless Housemarque. I hope they keep doing their thing instead of trying to please everyone. I bet all these I want easy mode people would still not play the game
 

Ogbert

Member
"No build variety" what build variety you want?
I think a good roguelike allows you to choose a style of play and then, on top of that, allows luck to throw enjoyable and interesting variations on top of that.

Returnal could do with a few more weapons, dual wield, significantly more movement options, melee builds, maybe even fun powers (double, triple jump, aerial guns, ground slam etc). The thing about build variation is it doesn’t have to be a viable way of beating the game; simply fun and different.

I beat the game, uninstalled it and haven’t once gone back to it. Alienation, in contrast, is one of my top ten games of all time.

Hopefully they nail it with Returnal 2. Re-returnal.
 

fart town usa

Gold Member
When you die and go back to the start and Selene says "I must try harder", you realise that her struggle is your struggle and the whole thing is amazingly coherent. And you're nearly always making progress even if it's just the knowledge gained along the way. I absolutely love the game and I think it's genius. I'm not even particularly good at shooters so if I can get through it anybody can.
That actually makes me want to play the game now, lol. I can see myself yelling "I MUST TRY HARDER" while shaking my first in the air.

Thanks!
 

Tripolygon

Member
That's all well and good but add the option. I can assure you for those who need it, they won't complain about lessened narrative impact. Sometimes i just wanna play a game not die 200 times, i will still enjoy the game and its narrative.
 

arvfab

Member
I don't understand why every game should appeal to every gamer. I'm not crying around because some games are too easy or too hard. I'm not crying around because I suck at fighting games or racing games.

If I know I won't enjoy a game, I simply don't play it. It's not like there aren't tons of alternatives.

P.S. - Where the hell is my DinoNation??? Let's go Housemarque!!! I get zombies and aliens but can't get dinosaurs which is rarely done. UGH. :(

Well there is that "Cloudy with a chance of Dinosaurs" game from Capcom you could look forward to.
 

SLB1904

Member
I think a good roguelike allows you to choose a style of play and then, on top of that, allows luck to throw enjoyable and interesting variations on top of that.

Returnal could do with a few more weapons, dual wield, significantly more movement options, melee builds, maybe even fun powers (double, triple jump, aerial guns, ground slam etc). The thing about build variation is it doesn’t have to be a viable way of beating the game; simply fun and different.

I beat the game, uninstalled it and haven’t once gone back to it. Alienation, in contrast, is one of my top ten games of all time.

Hopefully they nail it with Returnal 2. Re-returnal.
Seriously returnal has so many guns, even the same guns have different power ups. Have you even see how crazy they get?
About movement options, you dash, you double jump, you grappling hook across the map.
What do you mean triple jump 🤣 wtf?
Might as well fly.

There is something so satisfying when you are in the mid air, melee some enemies than grappling hook to gain momentum and melee another enemy and you still have your dash.
Come on the movement isn't the least of these game problems

And you said you don't like the Prometheus look which is fair enough, but to me is the most beatiful thing. The levels are gorgeous the enemies are relentless. The game is visual porn to me. There is nothing like it. The red desert, that fucking squid thing. The bullet hell good lord.
 

Billbofet

Member
I don't have a PS5 yet, but I can't wait to try this game. They need to make more games like this.
I just nabbed Quake for my switch as it's on sale for a pittance. It feels so fast, brutal, and fun I want more!!! This seems in that vein.
 

Ogbert

Member
Seriously returnal has so many guns, even the same guns have different power ups. Have you even see how crazy they get?
About movement options, you dash, you double jump, you grappling hook across the map.
What do you mean triple jump 🤣 wtf?
Might as well fly.

There is something so satisfying when you are in the mid air, melee some enemies than grappling hook to gain momentum and melee another enemy and you still have your dash.
Come on the movement isn't the least of these game problems

And you said you don't like the Prometheus look which is fair enough, but to me is the most beatiful thing. The levels are gorgeous the enemies are relentless. The game is visual porn to me. There is nothing like it. The red desert, that fucking squid thing. The bullet hell good lord.
I’ll maybe give it another go.

I used hollowseeker and the rocket gun thing with the automatic trait.

I just never once got the itch to really play another round. It was more, ‘meh, ok, world three again’, at least for the first few hours. Good bosses though.
 
Sounds like bullshit. Narrative doesn't have anything to do with the game being a pain in the ass. For example, each world should be like Alienation's maps where if you die, you start that world over but if you go to world 3 and die, you should not have to start over at world 1. Also, I shouldn't lose my weapons. Had an awesome assault rifle which didn't last long as I died shortly thereafter. The RNG doesn't help either. A total and complete waste of $70 for me. If Housemarque's next game is another roguelike bullshit, it will be a skip for me.

P.S. - Where the hell is my DinoNation??? Let's go Housemarque!!! I get zombies and aliens but can't get dinosaurs which is rarely done. UGH. :(
Git gud
 

SLB1904

Member
I’ll maybe give it another go.

I used hollowseeker and the rocket gun thing with the automatic trait.

I just never once got the itch to really play another round. It was more, ‘meh, ok, world three again’, at least for the first few hours. Good bosses though.
I have to admit tgat One of the problem with the game, they barely teach you the things you can keep or explain the weapons upgrade. That's why most of the people feel they aren't progressing in the game. Some weapons just get nuts. I was using the acid gun because I like the way it does damaged over time, than suddenly a portal opened and these black beam came out melting all the fuckers, really open up for me to try new weapons and see what other upgrades they have.
 

Edgelord79

Gold Member
Once they added the ability to save your run, it was fine for difficulty.

Increasing accessibility for those with disabilities is a good idea.
 

nikolino840

Gold Member
Seems like they're the only ones who makes rogue likes games... OC that if they make returnal more easy the narratives goes away .. but like hades or west of dead...the narrative Is built around the gameplay
 
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