Exclusion and difficulty is a valid design choice in Sekiro


This seems to be a recurring theme being punted by video game journalists, the very same people who had trouble playing a tutorial level of a video game and want games to be made easier. And then going as far as to call gamers toxic for not agreeing with them and having some sort of skill-based fetish for wanting to play and complete difficult video games. So, it comes as no surprise when they would punt the idea of all video games having an easy setting. So, I have to ask: Why is there suddenly this expectation that all games should be equally accessible to everyone? Yes, video games are for everyone. But games like Sekiro: Shadows Dies Twice need not be, if the games boss fights and challenges frighten you or puts you off from playing the game, then go find another video game to play. Simple as that. Not every game out there has to be for everyone.

Simply put video game accessibility is not a right for gamers or a developer’s obligation to deliver that accessibility. If a developer decides that they want a certain baseline difficulty in a video game so be it if that puts you off, then clearly the game is not for you. And really what is the point of adding an easy mode in a game developed by a company known for its challenging gameplay. If you remove the challenge from video games, then the reward you get for completing these challenges becomes meaningless. And being as arrogant as to suggest that video games would be better off having an easy mode, is just as arrogant as demanding a version of action movies where there is no blood and violence so that you can “experience the story” without having to deal with aforementioned blood and violence.

So, what is next can’t get past a puzzle? Let’s skip that! Having trouble in a certain section of a game? Let’s skip that! Why not just have the ability to skip all the playable parts and view the cutscenes? You might as well just watch a Let’s Play on YouTube at that point, for free. Not to mention what a complete waste of time and money it would be to buy something and then arbitrarily decide to avoid some or all of its core experience and mechanics which makes the game so interesting. What these video game journalists are calling for is adding an easy mode and by doing so removing any and all skill needed to play video games, when the entire medium’s foundation is built on overcoming difficulty and getting rewarded for it at the end. The whole point of video games is that they are unlike any other media form.

They require interaction to play and a certain level of understanding on how the mechanics of the game work and overcoming the challenges that it throws at you. Everyone has different tastes and interests when it comes to video games. I am never going to buy any sports games, simply because I do not find them interesting at all. I am not going to start demanding that the developers change these games to appeal to me. I will just go play a game I know I will enjoy. If games like Cuphead or Dark Souls are too difficult for you to enjoy or play, then move on there are literally millions of games out there and I am pretty sure you will find something that does cater specifically to your skill level.

“Git Gud” isn’t gatekeeping. It’s “get better to the level the game expects you to be on so you can enjoy the challenge it offers and feel the satisfaction when beating it.” It’s ok to be bad at certain video games, it is okay to realize that maybe the game you are trying to play is not for you. Love how these journalists bring up disabilities to try to shield the fact that the people complaining about the games being too hard aren’t disabled at all. Well unless being a games journalist is finally being counted as having a physical disability. Difficult video games are one of the few ways disabled people can challenge themselves while being bedridden. Removing the difficulty curve would degrade the experience and lessen the story Sekiro wants to tell. Death is part of the games experience, same with the Dark Souls franchise.

Death is the game’s consequence for failure, and it is the best teacher. The story being told revolves around death and learning from mistakes, and this is a recurring theme in FromSoftware’s games. I thought I would never ever have to say this, but if you are playing a video game that’s meant to be challenging and difficult and you are demanding the developers implement an easy mode because you cannot adapt to the game’s mechanics, then you are the entitled one in this discussion. There’s a difference between accessibility and difficulty. Having said that I am not against having accessibility options in video games, you can have subtitles, colour-blind modes, ect. And I say that as someone who just could not get into the Dark Souls franchise.

Difficulty in video games can be regulated, but once you have an easy mode it is almost impossible to regulate. Not every book is going to be for you. Not every movie is either, and yes not every video game is for you. I know my regular readers already know this, but it seems like certain critics and journalists need to figure out. But there are times when you just have to realize that: “Maybe this isn’t to my tastes and there is something else that is.” And there is simply is no shame in admitting that. Think of it this way: If anyone can climb Mount Everest then climbing it would not be a challenge and an accomplishment. That is why there is no accomplishment in walking down to the store and buy a loaf of bread…

About larch

I am a cucumber in a fruit bowl.
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