Cory Barlog and Other Developers Comment on Difficulty and Accessibility in Video Games

Fromsoftware is infamously known for making games that are very challenging. The Dark Souls series is a good example as well as the latest game from the studio, “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” which is so challenging that it has started an internet debate whether or not Sekiro should have an easy mode. God of War director Cory Barlog recently presented his opinion on easy mode and accessibility when he replied to a Tweet.

An easy mode essentially makes the game less challenging, enemies and bosses are easier to defeat, the player loses less health, and things such as weapons are easily acquired. On one side of the spectrum, we have people who argue that everyone should be able to play the game and should have a unified experience. Everyone should have an equal chance.

On the other side, we have an argument that adding an easy mode also dilutes the vision game developers have. Game developers intend that each player has a different experience with the game. Each choice should have a reward or a consequence.

Steve Spohn, COO of Able Gamers, an organization that dedicates itself to making video games more accessible to people with disabilities, shared his opinion in a series of Tweets.

Spohn says that everyone should be able to enjoy the same game on the same level. He says that games should have accessibility options where the player can control how challenging it should be.

God of War director Cory Barlog chimed in to present his opinion as well.

What Barlog is basically saying is that accessibility options should never stop the game from succeeding, it is a design decision that the game developer makes. It shouldn’t be used as a separate component or a selling point. The original God of War trilogy was basically a hack n’ slash game but it was Cory’s vision that made the new God of War a massive success. He clearly knows what he’s talking about.

Rami Ismail, who is another notable game developer, agreed with what Barlog said and followed up with a Tweet reply:

Recently, Sekiro received an unofficial easy mode thanks to modders. So if you haven’t played Sekiro yet in fear of its difficult, you may want to give it a spin with the easy mode.

It seems that Easy Mode is a topic of debate that will continue on because, at the end of the day, everyone has their own stance on it.