When it comes to upcoming single player experiences nothing looks more intense and creepy than From Software’s Bloodborne for Playstation 4. It looks almost like Nightmare Creatures reborn.

From Software is of course known best for Demon’s Souls and the two Dark Souls games. Those games were hard, like really hard. They were rage quit, rage sell, rage rage hard. Well, in my opinion they were. I know the fans like to defend them by attacking other gamers’ skills, explaining that they are about timing and memory and not really that hard etc and so forth. Fair enough, but the general gaming community as well as critics agree that they are highly difficult games not meant for non-masochists.

dark-souls-2

Director Hidetaka Miyazaki has made a few things clear. He believes that games should be challenging, that overcoming odds is what makes players connect, and that he has no intention of making games that are for casual players. Every great director should be allowed their personal doctrines (and Miyazaki is quickly gaining the kind if cache it takes to be called “great” in this industry) so when I say that Bloodborne should be easier I’m not suggesting he add a casual difficulty or make it even remotely survivable through button mashing.

No, the reality of the situation is that Bloodborne needs to accomplish some things that the previous games didn’t or couldn’t. For one thing it is going to have to be a PS4 exclusive that Sony can point to as a reason to own the console because exclusives are so important this early in the console game. Making that pitch to a niche audience is not productive. I doubt this kind of thing matters to a man like Miyazaki but he might want to keep it in mind in conjunction with the fact that, as an exclusive, it will need to have a level of playability that drives sales.

It’s true, Demon’s Souls was an exclusive that sold a lot more copies than expected, but clearly that wasn’t enough because the franchise was forced to change names and become Dark Souls to go multiplatform. If the game turns off 75% of the people who play it then it won’t be a successful exclusive.

More important than sales and console boosting, in my opinion, is the ability to simply not be a one trick pony. If you enjoy making Dark Souls then just keep making it, don’t do anything else. Creating what is basically the same game and giving it a different name and a facelift is disingenuous at best, extortionate at worst.

Bloodborne

If you are going to go to the trouble of creating such a uniquely dark world then it might be best to let a few more people in to see it. I’m the first person to call foul when a franchise sacrifices everything in order to be more “accessible” to a wider audience but this is not Demon’s or Dark Souls. It is a new game, there is no reason to be unreasonable this time around, it simply is not possible to sell out by making the game playable for the average gamer.

Impressions of the game so far indicate that it will function similarly to those other games but won’t be quite as unforgiving. On the other hand, Miyazaki has declared that his doctrine on difficulty stands. Somewhere in the middle I’m hoping to find a game that doesn’t use hundreds of deaths and dozens of hours of precious time wasted just to begin to enjoy it. I say go ahead and be dark, be different from the button mashers, be difficult if you want but don’t be Dark Souls. That franchise already exists.

David D. Nelson
David D. Nelson is a polymath with a BA in English working as an independent writing and editing professional. He enjoys gaming, literature, and a good hat.

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24 Comments

  1. I really really disagree. It’s called a learning curve. Also demon souls wasn’t forced to change names to go multiplatform its a different universe as is bloodborne to dark souls. Not a sequel. A spiritual successor. Miyazaki knows who his fans are. You are just a noob.

    1. Miyazaki is also worried about making money, and a game that’s more accessible means more money.

      1. Worried about making money?

        Why the fuck would they be worried about making money? Kadokawa bought them and Sony is funding Bloodoborne.

        What could possibly make them “worried” about making sales? People fucking know that the game will be good. Millions will buy it.

  2. no, not easier han dark souls – it was just perfect and rewarding, but seriously less difficult than dark souls 2 which replaced challenge with cheap – swarming, enemies with endless stamina or tepegraphing different attacks the same way… was just unfair.

  3. Honestly im hoping for something fresh. Im a huge souls fans and while i disagree with you on the fact that these games are inaccessible or too difficult or whatever. I do absolutely agree that i dont want another dark souls. I especially dont want another dark souls 2. I want miyazaki to blow me away with something different. Something still in his range and still a fantastic action rpg, but definitely something different than souls. I have all the faith in him and his team at From. Now pardon me while i go enjoy the 50 games that are coming out between now and then.

  4. What a shit article. Clearly you don’t fully comprehend the meaning of these games. “Unreasonable” lol GTFO

  5. Got to agree with Sol Malus here, this game is a money no concern system seller. As for making it more accessible I certainly agree with making a more coherent story over the extremely ambiguous Souls games but in terms of gameplay difficulty then in no way should they make it easier.

    If I want to get good at Chess I have to get good at Chess, no quarter given. Same here. Learn the mechanics and get good, sick of games pandering to the ‘I bought it so want to see the end’ train of thought.

  6. Well, if you considering the history of games that have all lead upto / influenced Demon’s and Dark Souls (Kings Field, Shadow Tower, etc) – each iteration has in some ways been ‘easier and more accessible than the previous’.

    I think Dark Souls 2 did a good job at being ‘more accessible’ than Dark Souls 1 – but at the same time keeping true to many of the things that make the series great.

    Yes, I can get all geeky and nitpicky about how some of the lore / level / enemy design and atmosphere that made Demon’s and Dark Souls so great isn’t as strong as Dark Souls 2 – but when it comes to the overall combat mechanics, difficulty of encounters, etc – it does a good job at still remaining challenging, especially to people approaching it for the first time.

    If anything, you could argue “Why Bloodborne should be HARDER Than Dark Souls 2” – even though the game is not a direct sequel to any of the Souls games, it has exploded in popularity – and there that ‘niche’ market that it appeals to is much larger than it used to be.

    It is now a chance to switch up mechanics in Bloodborne that veterns of the other games have come to expect and rely on to make it ‘easy’ – and force a shift in how they approach playing the game.

    Much like how many people initially find the Souls games to be so hard at first is because it challenges how they normally play video games. But, once you learn the rules – how to play by those rules, and then exploit them the difficulty curve drastically comes off. Simply being good at Demon’s and Dark Souls makes your first run at Dark Souls 2 easier – not because the game is easier, but because you are a better gamer and many of the mechanics/systems are the same.

    By dropping the ‘Souls’ from it – it gives From more freedom to tweak certain elements of the combat and mechanics, and it could very much be “If you want to approach playing Bloodborne like a turtling-havel havel and playing highly defensively – then your going to have a hard time”. The removal of shield mechanics is going to be something that many Souls players will have an issue adapting to (except those guys that easily run the game power-stancing weapons and never blocking anyways).

    I trust that From can strike the balance of ‘more accessible/some elements easier – but leaving the core mechanics and combat challenging and rewarding. I actually think they did a pretty decent job with that in Dark Souls 2 – and the DLC content is excellent in terms of the challenge level and level design (wish some of the original game was more like that).

    If From releases a cake-walk easy casual-friendly game to appeal to the masses – they will alienate a large part of the fanbase that has helped the series take off and launch their recent ‘mainstream’ success.

  7. the author didn’t understand the point of the “souls”
    it’s all about challenge. you don’t go on to discover the plot. or to get “this” or “that” weapon. you keep on playing because overcoming the seemingly impossible challenges the game offers is the most satisfactory thing in the gaming industry!

    making it “accessible to everyone” would be like taking dragon age origins, which was cool for his old school strategic approach, and remove all the need of strategy…. oh wait. they did it with da2. look at what shit came out.

    1. Trust me, I get the point of the challenge.

  8. It’s clearly very easy to upset Souls fans, I’m asking them to slow down and think logically. You are not a supergamer because you “get” the learning curve and exalt in overcoming the challenge. There are other factors at play.

  9. “Souls” gamers do not think they are a “super gamer”, they are persistent and dedicated to overcoming a challenge. They are sick of the brainless button mashing that goes into games these days. And you are the idiot that is not getting it, go play your 10,000 other easy games and leave the ONE studio that brings intelligent games to the market alone. You lazy gamers have ruined games consistently since the golden age when all games were a challenge. The more idiots like you, the more Candy Crush Saga clones we’ll see. You’re a tool… go play pokemon!!

  10. As gamers, challenge is something we should hold near and dear, and cherish, unfortunately for those of us who love a challenge though, in the triple A development space there is only From Software, we depend on them, the concept of the ‘challenging game’ rests entirely on From Soft’s shoulders, nobody else is developing games with these values in mind.
    So you ‘easy going’ players can pick up **any** other game from store shelves that was built to be beaten by everybody, whereas us players who like a challenge do not have the wealth of options that you have. It seems that not even a fraction of a percent of the big games that release now days are built to challenge you, so WHY in the hell would you want to try and change the *one single developer* that builds games with the challenge level firmly in mind?
    If its too challenging for you, then play something else, entertainment is exclusionary by design, not every single game/movie/book/song can appeal to every single person on earth at the same time, this is why we have genre distinctions. There’s different types of entertainment for different types of people.
    So us ”Souls Players” are a different type of gamer to you, why would you try and change/or rob us of what we love so much when every other game on the market can give you the lesser challenge you desire? As I said, for those of us who love a challenge, we don’t have the wealth of options that you have.

  11. Please, people need to stop writing these articles. Leave Miyazaki, his games and us, his fans alone. There are hundreds of “accessible” games. Why do you want to take the last one standing, away from us? Imagine that all games are too challenging for you, but there is only one non-challenging franchise that you enjoy. And then I come, write an article where I suggest that the franchise you love should be made more challenging, like all the other games. Since I’ve played Demon Souls, no other game could hold my interest enough to finish it. Now I don’t even try. I just play Souls games and a couple of indies. None of the other games are immersable for me. Now, Bloodborne is coming, but no, people can’t leave it alone, you want EVERYTHING for yourselves. Greedy, selfish b******s! Go play your handholding GodOfWars and AssassinsCreeds and let diversity exist. Challenging games are facing the extinction and you should respect and cherish what’s left even if you don’t understand it.

  12. Bloodborne doesn’t need to change one bit. Because Dark Souls went multiplatform, Miyazaki is now a well known director across all platform. Sony will get more sales from this exclusive without changing a thing because now the Xbox owners and PC owners will have to buy a PS4 to play bloodborne. Smart move for Sony to allow From Soft to make a new title to cross platform and make itself a name

  13. I very much agree with this article, but I also totally get that it’s a selfish thing on my part, and if they don’t want to make these games any “easier,” they should make them as they see fit. Here’s my issue, though: I LOVED “Demon Souls,” and I beat the game. It was tons of fun, BUT … when I looked back on the time spent playing it, I realized that I had sunk MANY hours into simply trying to figure out how to beat certain bosses, etc. Yeah, it was “rewarding,” but when I compared that reward to the hours I’d spent in my real life trying to get that “reward,” it just seemed to be too much. Maybe that’s because I’m not a teenage kid. I have jobs and responsibilities and other things I want to do in life, even though I do LOVE games and playing them when I can. What would’ve totally solved this issue for me would’ve been some sort of save system or checkpoint system that was less unforgiving. My biggest problem with Demon’s Souls wasn’t the difficulty of the fights, but the frustration felt when you had to go BACK and fight the same lesser creatures over and over again just to get BACK to that boss fight. That to me is not as much challenging as it is needlessly frustrating. But again, if that’s the way the guy wants to make a game, more power to him.

    In fact, it’s a compliment to the game that people like me would LIKE an option for things like more forgiving checkpoints, etc. The games are clearly AMAZINGLY designed. That was the best combat I’ve ever experienced, and the mood set was fantastic. This one looks to have all those things as well. But I’m at a point in my life where I simply can’t justify spending hour upon hour replaying huge portions of a game just to get back to a boss fight that will ALSO take hours to figure out. Why can’t there be alternatives that will appease everyone? Play on the typical difficulty you want if you’re a hard core fan of this gameplay, or give someone like me the opportunity to save more frequently at LEAST so I can take breaks and come back to it later. As it stands now, I won’t be buying this if it’s in the same mold of “difficulty” as the other games. I just can’t justify spending that kind of time on something at this point in my life. But like I said, if that’s how it has to be, than so be it. If that’s the kind of game he wants to make, he should be able to without worrying about business models, etc. I’ll just have to sadly say it’s not for me. A shame, because I love the look and feel of these games.

  14. From Software is the hardcore gamers developer, but you stupid casuals want to take them away from us by trying to convince them their games should be more “accessible” Go play your f**king Skyrim on medium or your Assassins Creed, this is OUR game. How would you like it if we lived in a opposite world were everyone loved hard games and there was one developer making easier games for the small group of people that you wold be included in and then all the sudden we came in and started convincing them that they should make their game hard so the majority can enjoy it? You probably would not like that very much, would you? Fuck off with your stupid articles about ruining OUR franchise, people like you have RUINED gaming, you simpleton casuals have RUINED gaming, fucking tools. I don’t give a rats ass if this is just “you opinion”, it is a fucking stupid one because in an age were the gaming community is filled with halfwit dumb ass simpletons who need their hands held to whip their ass, comes ONE developer to make games for the people WHO LIKES GAMES AS THEY SHOULD BE, yet you halfwits and simpletons have to take that away. Go play your fucking Call of Duty and leave the real games to the real gamers. Asshole.

    1. Demons Souls and the Dark Souls games were easy. I don’t understand what all the fuss is all about with how difficult they were. I hope Bloodborne will be 100x more difficult than any of those games.

      I have yet to find a game to give me even a tiny bit of challenge, so please let this be the one!

    2. No they are not a hardcore games developer.
      They have said this so many times.

  15. Also, idiot, DYING IN DARK SOULS IS APART OF THE STORY. There is a REASON why you keep dying and returning to the bonfires, it is not only for difficulties sake BUT A INTRAGLE PART OF THE STORY AND LORE OF WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE WORLD. Obviously you were one of the idiots who got to pissy about losing that you did not unfold the CLEAR story of the game if you listen. The story of Dark Souls is very clear if you look for it, and dying is apart of it,

  16. David Nelson hasn’t even beat Dark Souls. So, everyone can continue to ignore him.

  17. Alright so first when I saw this I was like, “Maybe they have a few good points.” then I started to read. This is exactly what was going on before Dark Souls II came into effect. Just go to other games because the whole thing about these games are the complexity. You said, “I’m hoping to find a game that doesn’t use hundreds of deaths and dozens of hours of precious time wasted just to begin to enjoy it.” Just go find another game. Like one of my most humorous part of DSII was that it gave you a worldwide death count. There is another point I would like you to know. Dark Souls went multi-platform because there were people over on the Xbox who wanted not a game similar to Demon’s Souls but they wanted Demon’s Souls. Now Sony was the owner of that title and was not going to give it up so From went and made a new and not connected at all title which is the master piece of Dark Souls.

  18. But Miyazaki had already created an easy solution for both games in his own little quirky not so in your face way. Dark Souls gave the player a 200 damage weapon in a time in the game that 200 damage from other weapons was pretty much impossible and made it accessible one hour into the game.

    Of course the natural progression of getting the weapon probably came from the Gargoyles and how you can slice the tail off of it and a player who can understand that you could slice the tail of enemies that blow fire at you and it was at least worth a try to do this to the hellkite drake. That or how most people found it from the PEOPLE or the OTHER PLAYERS and not the game saying “Hey you should cut this dragon’s tail off”, you learned it yourself or had other players tell you about it. As well as being able to grind souls by being summoned for bosses and easily level yourself to use better equipment or just make you a little more durable. Do I even need to mention the ring you get from Lautrec?

    Dark Souls 2 had an even better way to make the game easier for new or more average players as well as giving you, the player, the option to make the game harder for yourself. Ring of Life Protection essentially makes it so you only have to pay a small fee for getting to keep your souls and humanity upon death. Not to mention having early accessibility to a great weapon, the mace (or fire long sword for mages). As well as having pretty early access to strong hexes no equipment for just leveling up intelligence and faith to 20 which can be done after playing the game for two hours.

    Given that you don’t seem to have a shield, just a gun and weapon, in Bloodborne you have to change the way you played the game. Sword and Board, which ruled over the first two games, does not exist anymore. That along with changeable weapons and the reward for aggressively attacking the enemy that hit you to regain health changes the game far beyond the original Dark and Demon’s Soul’s defensive play style.

    Of course the game will be as or even more difficult than it’s predecessors given it’s change to offensive over defensive gameplay. So you, David Nelson, will not have to worry about the game being a carbon copy. However, people will still sink hundreds of hours into the game, people will find a way to make the game easier, and people will rage over the Internet to see who is better at video games.

    On a side note, despite the annoyance of having to shift from Xbox to PS4 to play the game I can see the reasoning that they had for doing this on Sony’s side. That and please do not bring up lowering the overall difficulty of a From Soft video game to the Internet, it just so happens to be a lot of people like challenge and video games now and days do not seem to supply said challenge. Miyazaki will probably introduce something to make the game a bit easier like he did for the last two games.

  19. Talking about the difficulty level for the Bloodborne and its more aggressive/offense-oriented gameplay, Mr. Yamagiwa said that “their team’s intention is not to raise the difficulty level, because if it’s more difficult than Dark Souls, it’s going to be pretty much unplayable for anyone. Instead, by introducing an aggressive fighting combat style, they want to maintain the difficulty level of Dark Souls but make the player feel like they’ve achieved victory because they made moves. Sometimes we’re worried that the game’s publicized as a difficult game to play, that it’s for hardcore gamers. But the team’s intention is not that. They’re not creating games for hardcore gamers.” He continued by saying that their team’s intention is to create accessible games that also have varying challenges and varying solutions: “we want to make sure that our message gets across that when you play the game, it’ doesn’t require super reflexes or super finger movements. As long as you study the situation and learn the AIs, you can overcome the enemies.”

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