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Dark Souls II's New Director Talks Accessibility And Broken Controllers

Dark Souls II has a new director in Yui Tanimura. We were only able to spend a few minutes Tanimura after seeing Dark Souls II in action at E3, and decided to ask him broad questions about difficulty in games. We also wanted to know what kind of games he's playing outside of Dark Souls II, and why we won't be seeing Dark Souls II on next-gen systems.

What’s the difference between a hard game, and an unnecessarily frustrating game that you just want to abandon?

It’s a tough question to answer. Obviously, we implement the difficulty and challenge for that sense of satisfaction when you overcome the hurdles. When designing a game – when you start to take away all of the reasons for not playing, so if people say this is too hard, so I’m going to take away the difficulty, or this is a nuisance to do, or a pain to do, so I am going to take away that aspect of the game so that you don’t have to face that nuisance – you no longer really have a game anymore. I think the important part to do, is to implement the difficulty and implement the challenges so you have that added amount of satisfaction when you overcome it. Hopefully, when you implement difficulty to a game, when you overcome it, you can feel the sense of difficulty was worth it. I think that type of reward is important.

Something like Dark Souls, though, we try to implement this difficulty for that added level of satisfaction and happiness when you are able to overcome. But there will be aspects of the game where there are some areas that will be more of a pain to get through than others. I think that balance is something important. It’s hard to answer directly, but we took a lot of care in terms of tuning each instance of the so-called challenges so that we reached an overall good balance throughout the game.

Do you think the word “accessible” automatically translates to “easy”?

No, we don’t actually. The reason why we used the word accessible was not to say that the game is going to be easier by any means. We’re maintaining the difficulty and we think the challenges are required. What we meant was, there are certain aspects of the game where it didn’t really have a direct connection to the sense of satisfaction of overcoming. There were things that were a little bit time consuming or a little bit tedious that we wanted to streamline – sort of carve away all the fat so we could really deliver the lean pure expression of what Dark Souls tries to communicate, which is the sense of satisfaction of overcoming. In terms of accessibility, what we meant was a more streamlined experience to deliver the more pure essence of Dark Souls.

What are some of your favorite current games?

A couple of the games I really was hooked on was Diablo, and recently Skyrim.

Are you playing any mobile games or have any mobile recommendations?

I play mobile games more for, I guess research. I’m not sure if it’s available in North America, but we often play a Japanese game called Puzzle & Dragons.

Have you ever broken a controller in frustration?

I have been frustrated a lot, but I haven’t really broken a controller yet.

You’re a new director for Dark Souls. What are you going to do to make it your game? What will define Dark Souls II as a Yui Tanimura game?

Throughout the game, there are going to be a lot of different small things that I will direct and will be implemented due to my personality or direction, but the biggest part I feel that will characterize this game as the game that I directed will probably be the game balancing. I take care of a lot of the balancing of the game – with the difficulty, the trickiness, of the frustration that you feel. I intend to spend a lot of my time trying to balance placements of the enemies, the parameters of the enemies so that players can face that difficulty, face those challenges, but also conquer enough to sense that satisfaction. Balance is probably the most important part of this game and I feel responsible in balancing the game, and tuning it to the finest details so that Dark Souls II will be the best experience so far in the series that we’ve created.

Any Xbox One or PlayStation 4 plans?

Currently we’re only planning for Dark Souls II to be on the current consoles. At the very initial stages, there were discussions about bringing it on next-gen, but we felt that the current consoles still had a lot of potential to deliver Dark Souls II, and we wanted to get Dark Souls II out as soon as possible to the fans.

For more on Dark Souls II, be sure to check out our E3 preview. Dark Souls II is coming to PlayStation 3, PC, and Xbox 360 early next year.

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  • I'll keep buying Dark Souls as long as it continues to be challenging, rewarding, and makes you feel that sense of accomplishment that hasn't existed since the PS2/Gamecube/Xbox era.
  • Why not just port it over to next gen consoles? By the time this comes out, the current gen consoles will be a thing of the past. They could show off their game to a whole new set of consumers if they brought it over to next gen as well as current gen consoles. It isn't just for the money guys! You will have a better looking game, and you will be present right there at the start of the next gen consoles' lifespan. It would be good if they did actually port it over.
  • Sounds like a balanced game is what they're promising along with difficulty.

  • Kinda funny because I remember when he used the word "accessible" everyone overreacted.

    It's hilarious to see how much the community (in any sense) blows what developers/producers/writers say out of proportion.
  • Well, this is one more game to look forward to playing on current gen while I wait for my wife to grant me permission to buy a PS4! Stupid financial responsibility....
  • I really dislike when developers create a game and intend for it to be hard as if that's the main focus of the game. Like, they want people to yell at the game until they get it right. Instead of crafting a challenging game with a well designed learning curve. That doesn't imply it's easy. A good example is Super Meat Boy. It's challenging, but fair. Then don't get me started on the terribleness of the Dark Souls PC port. Not only did you have to cope with the difficulty of the game, but also the sloppy keyboard/mouse inputs.
  • I can't wait for this game!!!! Great interview I hope they balance the multiplayer aswell, there's a big amount of cheaters in the game.
  • Sounds to me like they're making some good decisions in terms of 'accessibility.' One thing that annoyed me about Dark Souls (and a lot of Japanese games in general) was how opaque certain game mechanics like humanity were. Having a short tutorial or a few more NPCs to help clarify some game concepts could only help imo.
  • The only time I have ever broken a controller out of frustration is when I thought I was finally about to beat sephiroth in KH 2, then I miss timed my block.... Well you know what he does to you if you make a mistake. I remember just sitting there in disbelief, after about 5 mins of thinking about how close I was, I chucked my controller across the room. I immediately regretted it because I realized that was my only one.
  • A game that gives you no reward for an easy task is more frustrating then a game that rewards you for a difficult task.
  • We'll see Tanimura. You've got big shoes to fill, and I am still really bothered by Mikazaki's departure. Especially since, the Souls series is his hard fought for baby, it's very strange he was removed at the series peak.

    But, I've been impressed with the game's showing so far, so looking optimistic.

    Any body else hope that PS4 miyazaki game rumor is real? That is might be Demon's Souls 2?www.google.com/url

  • I've come to the edge of breaking a controller but I've never actually done it. I don't think it's worth the money or the reason to be angry.

  • still not buying..didn't make it more accessible...demon soul's was a great game, but man was it brutal...no thanks...
  • I bet there will be many broken controllers indeed. Even if it is "easier".

  • From what I've seen and from what I've heard from people who were able to test the E3 demo this year, sounds like it will be just as good as it's predecessors if not better. Especially from what I heard about the Mirror Knight battle that was part of that demo. Epic that they are going to have a boss similar to the Old Monk from Demon's Souls but can summon a player to help it fight you.

  • It's coming to 360? Hmmm...
  • Shame its not coming out until next year if its only for current gen. I've got a console preordered. ITs going to be disappointing to have to go back and play this on the old one. I hear the new controllers a just so much nicer.

  • March is soooo far away....
  • Whoever posts the articles on Twitter is *** idiot.

  • I still really want a Wii U version, but I don't think that will happen....
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