With all the discourse surrounding Sekiro’s recent release and the contentious Forbes article that suggested the game needed an easy mode, I figured I’d chip in too, because why not?
Our own Khayl Adam has already provided a succinct argument as to why Sekiro does not, in fact, need an easy difficulty setting, stating that FromSoft games are specifically designed around a level of challenge. Half the fun of playing From games comes from actually overcoming tough bosses and enemies after all, and having an easier setting would undermine the developer’s original vision.
That’s a good case to make, and it’s certainly hard to argue against that, but it’s interesting to see the idea of implementing an easy mode being such a hotly debated topic with Sekiro in particular, in comparison to past From games like Souls and Bloodborne.
And do you know why that is? I’ll let you in on a little secret: it’s because those games already had an easy mode built into them.
Ever since the days of Demon’s Souls, co-op and multiplayer have always been a key part of the Soulsborne games. If you ever got stuck at a boss, you had the option of joining someone else’s game to help them out with that particular boss, and learn the fight that way. And if you ever felt like you needed an extra helping hand yourself, you could summon another player into your world instead.
Playing those games in co-op would make bosses slightly tougher, giving them a larger HP pool. However, just the benefit of having another player fighting alongside you made the game exponentially easier. It ensured that players would still be able to beat the game by their own merit, even if they had someone else along for the ride.
This was a great way to preserve the “intended vision,” so to speak, as players still got to check out the boss fight in all its glory. While an easier setting would probably nerf a boss’ damage output and HP pool, the implementation of co-op keeps everything intact and gives the player an advantage instead. Not to mention the fact that it’s actually pretty fun playing Dark Souls III with a friend.
With Sekiro, the game’s difficulty curve feels especially pronounced because it’s been built specifically for the single player. Without any co-op support, players are literally forced to either get good at the game or go home. By no means am I knocking FromSoft for choosing to design the game this way, but I suspect this might be a key part of why the push for an easy mode seems particularly aggressive this time around.
There really isn’t any reason for Sekiro not to have co-op either, unless you’re a real stickler for lore and immersion. But even if you are, it’s also worth keeping in mind that the ‘lore’ reasons for Dark Souls and Bloodborne having co-op were tenuous at best. “The flow of time is convoluted” has always been a flimsy excuse for why the Chosen Undeads could cross universes and help each other out, but that certainly didn’t stop FromSoft from putting co-op and PvP into Dark Souls.
So with that in mind, even though it’s likely never gonna happen, I would propose that Sekiro gets some sort of co-op mode instead, should FromSoft ever decide to make the game a little more accessible to players who don’t have the time to die to a boss a hundred times before finally getting it down.
The developers have been toying with co-op in their games for years, so why not Sekiro as well?