Posted By Yousif A. about 8 months, 1 week ago
Some people should just not speak, to anyone, ever. Alex Hutchinson, the man who a couple of weeks ago said who said “many Japanese games are released where their stories are literally gibberish,” has given another interview. This time he claims that varying difficulty levels can ruin games.
“A lot of games have been ruined by easy modes,” Hutchinson told Edge, “If you have a cover shooter and you switch it to easy and you don’t have to use cover, you kind of broke your game. You made a game that is essentially the worst possible version of your game.”
Unfortunately, the interviewer does not ask him if he realizes that easy options are usually used by players who aren’t as skilled or experienced as other players and want to enjoy the game, not in fact by people that will exploit easy mode to avoid in-game mechanics. Perhaps Alex is also unaware that Hard Mode does not mean killing the player before they can get to cover, as that would be artificially creating a tougher experience.
He then goes on to complain that the gaming industry is the only media industry that needs to provide difficulty levels, saying, “It’s like if I picked up a book and it said, ’Do you want the easy version or the complicated version?’ [Game designers] can simplify the language, you know; we can make it two syllables.”
Alex does not go onto complain about being a part of the only industry where they have to provide control schemes, save files, online multiplayer, or online anti-piracy measures on PC in the form of horrific DRM, but I am sure he will be making a statement shortly. Thankfully, Steven Masters stepped in to swing the focus and talk about how the game goes through rigorous testing.
“I can reach in and pull a video of any moment in a playtest; I can sort different events and say, ‘Okay, I want to see when this guy got detected and then failed within 30 seconds’, and watch that.”
Masters (who is not related to Ken), goes onto explain that the team is doing quite a lot of fine tuning, and thanks to advancements in technology, the team can actually see what playtesters are coming across rather than relying upon the old written report system. Having done some playtesting myself, I can tell you that the old system sucked.
The interview wraps up with Hutchinson talking about the optional objectives which have been in the series since Brotherhood. The objectives are making a return, so that if players do want a harder challenge, they can attempt to complete these bonus missions. He doesn’t go mention if there are bonus objectives for those finding the mission too hard, which is a shame.
Now that all that joking is done with, I get what Alex is trying to say, much like I got what he was “trying” to say about some Japanese releases. Unfortunately, his way with words is not his strongest point. Judging from the gameplay trailers, I would have to say his strongest point is obviously game development, as Assassin’s Creed 3 looks awesome. Alex is trying to point out that it can be difficult to create a level of difficulty that changes from one player to the next. Simply lowering or heightening health/damage can result in game-breaking abilities. However, altering difficulty in this way is incredibly basic and a sign of a good developer is knowing how to appeal to a wider audience through varying challenge levels without sacrificing gameplay. Trying to create a game that caters to everyone is more often than not going to ostracize the higher and lower levels, creating a game that is too easy for some and to difficult for others, which, looking back, is a problem Assassin’s Creed has as a series.
What Alex Hutchinson was trying to get across is a fantastic item for debate and a wider discussion. However, it is not a statement that should be made public. I know several people who play games for fun and without a high skill level that need to play the games through on an easy setting. They get just as much out of the game as I do, and perhaps I feel, more. Alex is right–this is the only industry where difficulty levels have to be provided, but that is because it’s the only media industry that focuses on “games,” and a game unto itself requires a challenge level that changes, be it from changing rules or varying opponents and styles. Difficulty is an entry level and by not creating one for as many as you can, you limit the enjoyment of the experience for many. I would hope that after the art team, sound team, story team, and design team have worked so hard to bring a world to life, they would not be let down by the gameplay team, who see their work being overlooked.
Source: Edge Online