In gaming, there’s something in the word “easy” that somehow considered offensive to some players, except that it’s not. For example, in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (FromSoftware), people are putting up a debate whether there should be an easy mode for it or not.

Sekiro Shadows Die Twice
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, an action-adventure game by FromSoftware & Activision.

Despite that Sekiro has let go of many elements from Bloodborne and Dark Souls that make them ridiculously difficult, many players still have a similar takeaway after playing the game: it’s incredibly hard. In fact, people are demanding an easy mode in Sekiro to stop their ongoing frustration. FromSoftware has made a name for themselves to craft games without an easy mode in the last 10 years. Now, it might seem reasonable to make a change.

Club Sekiro isn't for everyone

Just like pledging some kind of a brotherhood, anyone that completed a From game has been through an absurd amount of challenges. They then belong to a special club with only the people like them. Moreover, Sekiro doesn’t let players to summon help from the others, making it harder than ever. Therefore, a conversation about Sekiro will easily become a conversation about you, about how you beat all the challenges and earn your rightful spot here in the Sekiro Club.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice - to beat the game is to join a special Club Sekiro.

On one hand, to some people, difficulty is necessary to experience games from From Software. It simply makes the company’ design philosophy works out. From has a unique style to tell stories, from item descriptions as well as subtle environmental clues. Thus, players get to understand thoroughly about such messages when they try to pass a particular level. Failures let you grasp the hidden story, either about decay or humanity losses and engage with it altogether.

An easy mode never ruins a game

However, it’s somehow troublesome when “difficulty” can have different meanings for different occasions. In Devil May Cry 5, the devs wants you to play with your own style with “Devil Hunter” as the recommended difficulty. Nonetheless, lowering the difficulty and progress using clumsy combos doesn’t lower your game experience, either. “Adding an easy mode to a game has never ruined it.”

On the other hand, for a group of people, adding an easy mode in Sekiro won’t encourage players to adjust their play habits and adapt. According to GB Burford (“Doc), players with chronic pain or physical disability will find it impossible to surmount the skill threshold that From games require. To smash buttons in God of War or Bayonetta can drastically drain anyone’s energy and even cause tremendous pain. This further supports the point that “Hard” can have different meanings for different people.

The accomplishment to bring upon

From a different angle, Sekiro and the other games of From Software aren’t about how “hard” they are, not necessarily. In fact, as the director Hidetaka Miyazaki has stated, it’s about bringing a sense of accomplishment for players after overcoming insane difficulties. According to Ian Hamilton on Twitter as an accessibility expert, there are plenty of ways to make the accomplishment possible.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
It's not about how hard it is. It's the accomplishment you earn after overcoming the hardest challenges.

All in all, does that mean some players would probably miss the point that From Software want to make? Of course. Take any movie with closed captioning as an example. It was there for people with hearing difficulty and they implicitly accept to miss out on a significant part of the experience.

Games, just like the other forms of art, don’t explain the intentions of its creators in the clearest way. We have to experience and find them out ourselves. There’s absolutely nothing wrong in trying harder and harder, which might be the right way to approach it.