Demon’s Souls has a reputation as one of the most brutal, hardcore and challenging games of the year, if not this generation, and those who bought it have often done so under a cloud of fear. According to game director Hidetaka Miyazaki, however, the game was never designed with difficulty in mind. Demon’s Souls is all about triumph, not defeat.
“Having the game be ‘difficult’ was never the goal,” explains Miyazaki. “We understood that ‘difficulty’ is just one way to offer an intense sense of accomplishment through forming strategies, overcoming obstacles, and discovering new things. Our goal of a sense of accomplishment was the basis of the game since the early stages of development, and we never strayed from that.”
Miyazaki also explained the “Bloodstain” death mechanic that some gamers have found very frustrating: “We do understand the frustration that players have experienced, but the main reason we settled on this system is that if the Souls could be recovered anytime, there would be no suspense or sense of accomplishment. [We want players to feel] like, ‘I can’t die until I get all those souls back,’ or ‘I did it! I made it to my bloodstain!'”
I personally think that From Software totally succeeded with its design goals. Demon’s Souls can indeed be very frustrating at times, but the sense of elation that comes with each success cannot be measured. Hopefully Demon’s Souls 2 will arrive and continue this tradition. Miyazuki says a sequel is out of his hands, but that he’d “welcome the chance to create and even better game in the same style.”
Yeah, I think we’d all welcome that too!