Elden Ring, the latest game from famed FromSoftware developer Hidetaka Miyazaki, is said to be the most accessible game in the Souls series so far. And yet, if you’re playing it, you’ll already know: brutal, punishing death abounds around every corner. It’s true that the release’s sandbox structure gives you more opportunity to explore and find something you can manage, but the underlying reality is that you’re going to face some pretty stiff challenges persistently – there’s no way around it, and the only thing that can help are resources like our Elden Ring guide.
In fact, the game’s later bosses have already been crowned as among some of the most difficult the developer’s ever designed. For many, despite the addition of spirits you can summon and co-operative multiplayer, the game will prove too difficult to finish. “I do feel apologetic toward anyone who feels there’s just too much to overcome in my games,” Miyazaki admitted in an interview with the New Yorker. “I just want as many players as possible to experience the joy that comes from overcoming hardship.”
The difficulty, according to Miyazaki, is the secret to these games. But with more and more games including a deep suite of options to allow players to tailor the experience to their tastes, is FromSoftware just being stubborn by not incorporating a difficulty option? “We are always looking to improve, but, in our games specifically, hardship is what gives meaning to the experience,” he said. “So, it's not something we're willing to abandon at the moment. It's our identity.”
We’re torn. There’s no question that Souls’ success hinges on the impossible odds you come up against, but that means many never have the opportunity to experience them. We suppose it begs the question: should a game appeal to everyone? It seems FromSoftware has accepted that its titles are for a very specific audience, and while that ultimately means their appeal is limited, this is the path that Miyazaki and his team has taken.