Tell GR | Should all games have an easy mode?

The discussion surrounding Sekiro Shadows Die Twice has largely revolved around its high difficulty level. As with most From Software games, Sekiro is a punishing experience, requiring players to think on their feet if they want to overcome its unrelenting enemies. But would it be improved by the addition of an easy mode? Would every game be improved by an easy mode?

The GameRevolution editorial team discussed whether they felt like an easy mode should be introduced to every game below. As always, leave your own responses in the comments section, and we’ll feature our favorite in tomorrow’s Tell GR.

Paul Tamburro, executive editor: “Improving accessibility in games should be a priority if we want to see the medium continue to grow, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that every game should have an easy mode. Even though I don’t really have the time to invest in these super challenging games, I think that if the developer feels a high level of difficulty is necessary to the experience they want to create, then an easy mode shouldn’t be forced in.”

Jason Faulkner, senior editor: “I’d love for all games to appeal to all people, but that’s not ever going to be the case. Sure, I wish games like Sekiro and Dark Souls would have a mode that makes them a bit more relaxing to go through, but that’s not what the majority of the fanbase wants.

There’s no real incentive for the developers to make an easier difficulty because those games are designed for people who enjoy a challenge. Asking developers to take the time out to balance a whole new difficulty setting that they never planned to add is like saying Cities: Skylines should have more action in it because some people don’t like simulation games. That would be awesome for the small group of people that would appeal to, but it would take away from improvements and added content the developers could be making for the people who already love the game for what it is.”

Mack Ashworth, lead editor: “I’m fine with every game having an easy mode. I think the key thing would be for the developer to emphasize which difficulty is the “proper” mode, Wolfenstein style. If having an easy mode means more players enjoy the other aspects of a game, which would otherwise go ignored, I really don’t see the problem. A game’s difficulty shouldn’t be its standout feature.”

Michael Leri, features editor: “I don’t want to make a blanket statement but it would be better if more games appealed to more people. There are ways in which the developer can express the “true” mode while also opening it up to more players. If a game is “supposed” to be hard, the developer should put up a warning explicitly telling players that an easier mode would go against the intended experience.

This way the player can go in knowing what they’re in for without potentially robbing themselves of the “true” experience. Capcom has been doing a wonderful job at accommodating all different audiences through difficulty despite not having that message. Difficulty and accessibility are not the same thing but they are related and these modes would be a good step in helping others play.”

Bradley Russell, news editor: “I’d like to preface this by saying disabled, handicapped, and otherwise impaired gamers should absolutely be given more accessibility options, but the idea of putting an easy mode in every game could get a bit too extreme. The logistics of it (extra dev time, QA, further testing) would outweigh the benefits and, sometimes, you just have to take the L and say this game isn’t for me and/or this game is too difficult for me.

Having said that, I’d love to experience something like Sekiro with proper checkpoints and not having to grind through mobs to reach the same area I keep dying at over and over. There’s much to be done when it comes to catering for everybody in gaming, but a catch-all easy mode isn’t the way to go about it. I’m glad it’s opened up a much-needed discussion, though.”

Yesterday’s best reader comment

Question: What game are you hopelessly addicted to?

Benjamin Toth: “XCOM II. I am convinced I cannot get the speedrun achievement (beat game by July 15 on WotC) without playing on ironman mode. I have been at it for weeks and no matter how many times I fail it never gets old.”