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December 25th, 2012, 02:41
From time to time, I enjoy easy entertainment. I enjoy watching or reading something that takes little to no investment to get into.

However, when I read a challenging book or watch a challenging film, I never think to myself, "Boy, they should make an easier version so that others can get a watered down version of this."

Now, of course, some video games, like some movies/TV shows/books, aren't mean to be challenging. A game like Amalur requires virtually no investment or commitment, and you can still get some joy out of it.. for a time. You get the joy from the exploration, from the visceral visuals, and from the tight/polished interface and gameplay.

However, some games -are- designed with a very specific difficulty in mind. Each scene, if you would, or set piece or encounter is designed to do something in particular. They put a bad guy here and an archer here because they know how gamers will tend to respond. Creating multiple difficulty options will necessarily water this down. The more difficulty options there, the less designers can specifically tailor each section to be what they want, and the more designers end up creating a game that's just meant to appeal in a different way, a la Amalur.

Sure, an easy mode might start out as just a bit different. The 'real' mode may even stay untouched for a release. But how long until 'Normal' becomes Easy, Easy becomes Braindead, and Hard becomes an overly masochist afterthought? Dark Souls III? IV?

When you open up the box of difficulty, you seek a different core audience, and you -necessarily- focus less on what the original audience loved so much. I don't really see how it could be otherwise. If a movie like 'Eraserhead' was 're-touched' to be easier to enjoy, then it would be a different product. The same is true of Souls.

Edit: Let me put my thought another way. Not all games should try to be all things to all people. Games should focus on something narrow, on something that only they can provide. Mario shouldn't be dark and edgy. Final Fantasy shouldn't be a linear action-fest through a series of tunnels. Dark Souls shouldn't be easy.
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