We spotted Epic's Cliff Bleszinski proposing a new method of scaling difficulty for returning gamers last night. The basic idea is that a game lowers the challenge if someone hasn't played a title in a while, allowing them to ease back into the game.
"Games should detect if you haven't played for a bit and then soften the difficulty a smidge upon return," he said. "Then ramp it back up slightly. Most games assume you're resuming moments later when your skills might not be as 'warm.' I've fired up a few games that I'm late in after not playing for a while and gotten creamed.
"And no we don't have this in [Gears 3]. But I want to experiment with it in the future."
It's an interesting idea, especially for those games where you cannot switch the difficulty halfway through a campaign. So long as such "dynamic difficulty" can be switched off in the options, I think it's a pretty neat plan. The concept of dynamically scaling difficulty is nothing new (see: Rise of the Robots), but this is a fresh way of implementing it. Can anyone think of a game that did this?
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