Gaming

Elden Ring Director Says Lowering Difficulty Would ‘Break the Game’ as Shadow of the Erdtree Sparks Debate

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree expansion is now out on PC, PlayStation and Xbox platforms, driving players back into the perilous world of the acclaimed action-RPG. The DLC, which was released June 21, is now testing Elden Ring players, many of whom have complained about its difficulty. However, according to game director Hidetaka Miyazaki, tuning Elden Ring to make it easier would “break the game itself.”

Elden Ring difficulty

Miyazaki, in an interview with The Guardian published on the day of the release of the Shadow of the Erdtree expansion, said that lowering the difficulty wouldn’t be the right step for games like Elden Ring, even as players complain about the gruelling nature of the title.

“If we really wanted the whole world to play the game, we could just crank the difficulty down more and more. But that wasn’t the right approach,” Miyazaki told The Guardian.

“Had we taken that approach, I don’t think the game would have done what it did, because the sense of achievement that players gain from overcoming these hurdles is such a fundamental part of the experience. Turning down difficulty would strip the game of that joy – which, in my eyes, would break the game itself,” he added.

All FromSoftware games are infamous for their steep learning curve and lack of a difficulty setting that gives players the option for an easier experience. Tittles like the Dark Souls trilogy, Bloodborne and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice have given even hardened players a run for their money with tough-as-nails boss fights.

Elden Ring is no different. The game, which released in 2022, is the developer’s first attempt at an open-world title but retains the gruelling difficulty FromSoftware is known for. The newly launched expansion, Shadow of the Erdtree, too, features some of the most difficult boss encounters the studio has ever designed. In fact, Miyazaki, ahead of the DLC’s launch, said in a separate interview that FromSoftware had “pushed the envelope” when it came to what the player could withstand in a game.

Is Shadow of the Erdtree too difficult?

That approach, however, doesn’t seem to be going down entirely well with Elden Ring players. Some have been complaining about the punishing difficulty of the latest DLC and others have even underlined inconsistent performance on PC. On Steam, Shadow of the Erdtree is currently staring at overall Mixed user reviews. At the time of writing, out of a total 34,181 user reviews on Valve’s platform, 27,581 are positive while 15,137 are negative.

Publisher Bandai Namco, too, has weighed in on the difficulty debate by giving struggling players a tip to take on Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree’s toughest challenges. In an X post Sunday, the publisher suggested players to “level up your Scadutree Blessing.”

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree was released June 21 on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series S/X. The expansion debuted to widespread acclaim, bagging an overall review score of 95 on Metacritic, and in the process becoming the highest rated DLC of all time


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