Assassin's Creed III Dev Says Easy Mode Ruins Games

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Assassin's Creed III Dev Says Easy Mode Ruins Games

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Lead designer Alex Hutchinson thinks easy modes represent the "worst possible version" of a game.

Recently, the director of Dark Souls was thinking of preparing an easier version of the game to avoid alienating players who were turned off by its extreme difficulty. On the other hand, some team members from Assassin's Creed III are voicing an alternative opinion; they believe that the inclusion of an easy mode often ruins the game entirely.

Lead designer Alex Hutchinson claimed in a recent interview that it represents the worst possible version of a finished product. "A lot of games have been ruined by easy modes," he says. "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."

He goes on to state that it is a problem unique to videogames, and he believes that it is the only creative industry to provide difficulty options for its content. He uses literature as an example: "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."

Lead gameplay designer Steven Masters later clarified that, in light of these comments, Assassin's Creed III was not going to be too challenging, revealing that the game was undergoing rigorous playtesting to "fine tune" its difficulty balancing.

"We're not trying to make a brutally difficult game, so we go through all the playtest data and make sure it works," he says.

Yes, it is true that a game's easy mode can potentially allow players to disregard certain gameplay elements, like taking cover and countering attacks, but giving players the choice to do so is a good thing. After all, not everyone necessarily prefers to suffer numerous defeats before finally feeling a sense of accomplishment.

Source: Edge Online

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I think I get it

But assasins creed (the later ones) felt too "easy" in that if I screwed up I could jsut hack and slash my way out...or use a smoke bomb or whatever...not much sense of acheivment there

Funny, considering that the Assassin's Creed games have been stuck in "easy mode" since from about halfway through the first game.

"Here, have three different weapons that all basically do the same thing, insta-kills, disarm insta kills, chain-insta-kills, four different ways to kill silently -three of them from range, get-out-of-fuck-up-free smoke bombs, NPC support, an insta-kill-everything-in-sight button, more health upgrades then you can shake a stick at, ten full health potions and, finally, twenty different kinds of grenade."

"Oh, and easy mode ruins games."

That from the dev of AC, a game series where combat can be summed up as "block-counter-repeat". Also, a game series where the main characters are unstoppable juggernauts, so much that stealth is only worth it for self-satisfaction.

DISCLAIMER: I played all of the games and loved them. With a possible exception of Revelations.

That is one of the more pants on head retarded things that I've read today.

The comparison to books was absolutely ridiculous. It's like the man has never read a book in his life.

Add to that the fact that the Assassin's Creed series is one of the easiest series of games I've ever played, and I half think that the developers are simply trolling.

Yeah, basically what everyone else has been saying. They may not have an "easy mode" in AssCreed, but the game it's self is so fucking easy that it doesn't matter!

Easy mode only ruins the game if you choose to play it; the majority of gamers make their first play on normal mode as it is. His analogy is also kinda stupid. Other mediums don't have difficulty settings because there's no need for them. Story progression in a book or movie doesn't stop because the viewer/reader isn't skilled enough to get passed a word or perform an action sequence.

Some people play games for just the story and see the gameplay as extra immersion in that story, other play games for purely the challenge regardless of story. An easy setting doesn't devalue the rest of the game if your goal is to tell a story with gameplay used as an immersion tool (like the AC games do); you're letting less skilled players get the story while increasing their skill with games as a whole. An easy mode can only devalue your game if your goal was to make a game centered solely on the challenge because that would be taking away the entire point of the game.

By the way they do make easier versions of "hard books" it's called the abridged version, and that is devaluing the work because they've actually removed large chunks of the complete book. Easy modes still deliver the same game, it's just tuned to be more forgiving to crappy players and children.

I'd say it's none of your business how I prefer to play my games, thank you very much, Mr. Hutchinson.

I usually play most games on the easiest difficulty setting - with two exceptions coming to mind:

1st, if any content is sacrificed for a lower difficulty, I will select the lowest difficulty setting that allows me to experience the full game, for example the "hard mode" of the Monkey Island games.

2nd, if the "hard" difficulty setting is actually better suited to my playstyle and makes the game actually easier - I'm thinking of Deus Ex: Human Recolution here, where a higher difficulty did nothing to the enemies' awareness and perception but drastically increased XP rewards thus making a stealth run a piece of cake.

The reason? I get a feeling of accomplishment from playing a video game as much as I get that from watching a movie or reading a book. I play video games to kick back and relax after an 8-10 hour work day and two 2 hour train rides, and I really don't enjoy restarting from the last checkpoint over and over again. This is especially grating when the developer doesn't believe in saving the game and checkpoints are few and far apart. And always right before an unskippable cutscene.

I'll add this to the list of many things that irk me about AssCreed III. Shame, I loved each and every game of the series, up to and including Revelations.

Wait, dont certain books (more classical ones I think, I dont read much) have a more "aproachable" version with a more modern style of writting?

The key is to offer substantial rewards, objectives, and area unlocks only acessible in higher difficulty settings. It's not enough to just make it harder to get through- the player has to actively want to go through on a harder setting, to get to the juicy goodies unlocked within.

Now more than ever, games need that carrot on a stick to get today's lazy ass, 5 second attention span player base to get though their games. Such a shame this has manifested in the form of multiplayer unlocks...

Aren't cliff notes books on easy mode?

lol. AC2, brotherhood and revelations are pretty easy, wile in part one you actually had a challenge, that running away from a small army was the only way to survive.
but i still enjoy all AC games and im eager for part 3.

having different modes is always a good thing to add in to games. if someone wants to play it in easy, so what. not everyone is an experience player.
let the people decide how they want to play the game. we dont need anyone telling the others they cant play it in easy mode. getting stuck at one place for 50x is no fun either.

oh ubisoft. you sure make good games, but your logic is absolutely retarded.

Huh.
Well, both devs are wrong so...yeah.

Hasn't Assassin's creed always been extremely easy?

I'm going to be unique and say that even though he has a point, Assassins Creed is one of the easiest games that exist. Even if they are very fun to play, they're still ridiculously easy. Easier than... let say... YO MOMMA !!!!!! OH NO I DI-ENT

Sorry, i was dropped when I was a baby

I think Assassin's Creed needs a hard mode to be honest. I like it when games are challenging and I agree with him there. If this had been said by someone working on the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games I would have understood why they despise easy mode seeing as easy in those games still kill me.

=/ what is he smoking about?

Maybe those consumers don't want to use your cover system and a certain mode grants them that ideal? What's wrong giving them options? You need to force feed your hard work at them to "appreciate" the amount of effort you put into the more complex mechanics?

No, their restrictive DRM and bad ports ruin games.

The entitlement and insularity in his entire thesis is nauseating, honestly - this is one of the #1 things wrong with this industry: Development teams run by people who've been playing games their whole lives, making games EXCLUSIVELY for people with the same experience. Newcomers? Novices? Different skill-levels and learning-curves? "Bah! Who cares!? OUR game is teh hardcorez!"

Oh, and Mr. Hutchinson? They DO make "easy versions" of books - they're called books on tape, and they exist for the precise reason that someone thought making an artistic/narrative experience as accessible as possible to the widest audience possible was a good thing. Imaigne that.

I like easy modes in games! I don't get frustrated that way.

Timothy Chang:

"A lot of games have been ruined by easy modes," he says. "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."

Correct me if I'm wrong but if this happens, isn't it most usually because:

A. The game mechanics (in this case cover shooting) are not well-implemented/useful to begin with or
B. The people in charge of balancing difficulty didn't do a good enough job

On the same topic, why cut off a part of your audience (those of us that due to lack of patience or time etc. can't or won't sit around playing the same level multiple times due to difficulty) by removing the difficulty select feature?

At any rate, UbiSoft really, *really* needs to start assigning publicists to their dev teams, lately their leads have been spouting all sorts of, uh, "unfortunate" opinions.

Timothy Chang:
He uses literature as an example: "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."

Maybe Hutchinson should try looking up the word "abridged" in his dictionary. That would be the abridged dictionary of course, I don't think I've ever met anyone who owned a full one.

Do I use easy mode? Not since the mislabeled difficulties in NA Devil May Cry 3, no. But at the same time, saying that easy mode ruins games is at best focusing on the wrong problem and at worse logically inconsistent.

AAA game design likes to talk about their focus on being cinematic and telling more compelling narratives than films. Saying "easy mode sux" is like a director refusing to let people use the fast forward button on their DVDs because you have to see the whole movie to understand. People want to skip the boring stuff, let them. It won't make the game any different for the people who avoid easy mode, and those that do use easy mode get to experience the story you're trying to impress us with in the first place.

Keep easy mode. Deal with it.

So true. Revelations was piss-easy and it was terrible.

To be fair, ACR was terrible for many reasons but see how easily I can link the two?

Zhukov:
Funny, considering that the Assassin's Creed games have been stuck in "easy mode" since from about halfway through the first game.

"Here, have three different weapons that all basically do the same thing, insta-kills, disarm insta kills, chain-insta-kills, four different ways to kill silently -three of them from range, get-out-of-fuck-up-free smoke bombs, NPC support, an insta-kill-everything-in-sight button, more health upgrades then you can shake a stick at, ten full health potions and, finally, twenty different kinds of grenade."

"Oh, and easy mode ruins games."

Just look at it from his perspective - if you'd made Assassin's Creed any easier it'd be a flashing message at the game's start "Congratulations, you have won the game!". Under that light, I can understand where he's coming from.

I'm not sure though whether he even played Dark Souls before spouting his opinion.

Absolutely agree on the content at hand. Easy modes ruin games. Games are interactive. Games need challenge to stay engaging.

However, AC: B&R kinda ruined things for me, I was just too damned good at counter-killing for them to pose any challenge.

No.

What ruins games is being on Normal mode and being constantly told you FAILED after completing missions because you didn't do it within some ridiculous parameter.

Just put a hard mode in AC3, enough of that 100% sync bullshit.

This is one of those 'if' things. It really depends how you make it easier.

Dang it, AC3 people, I want to buy the game and at least somewhat love/respect you! Stop saying things!

Coming from a guy making games where you can block+counter your way through the entire series I find this extremely amusing, bordering on hilarious.

I agree and see his point, but, hearing it from him just makes it

Im sorry... "easy mode ruins games?"

Ever since ACB, the only thing I found hard[1] wasthose sync ratios where you have to do the one objective to achieve the 100% sync rating. Thats was a bitch with the tank weapon in ACB, but beyond that...

*Edit*

MiracleOfSound:
No.

What ruins games is being on Normal mode and being constantly told you FAILED after completing missions because you didn't do it within some ridiculous parameter.

Just put a hard mode in AC3, enough of that 100% sync bullshit.

Yeah... this...

[1] Also, I think the other games were just as easy, its just noticable now

I think the problem is the title of the article, not what he says. And possibly that ruin is too strong a word. He never states easy mode ruins games, he says it ruins SOME games. Some games have an easy mode where gameplay elements the game was designed around are made invalid. I'd say any game that does that has failed in there application of difficulty levels. Hell, the way I interpret this is a statement on design, not difficulty.

I don't even like Assassin's Creed, and hate fucking Ubisoft. Honestly makes me feel a little dirty for being the guy to defend this, but I honestly think people are reading too much into this as an attack on easy modes.

That's funny considering AC1 and 2 are one of the easiest games I ever played thanks to their broken combat system (counter kill anyone?)...

With how easy Assasins creed is then I can only imagine that putting an "easy mode" into it really would ruin the game. It would probably just turn into one giant cutscene so you don't have to do anything.

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