Dark Souls II Director Doesn’t Understand Why People Think It’ll Be Easier

By Matt Hawkins . June 13, 2013 . 1:15pm

At E3 2013, Namco Bandai showed off the latest iteration of their highly anticipated Dark Souls II behind doors to select members of the press.


Before the presentation began, a rep reminded everyone that, despite what some still might believe (possibly due to this interview), the second Dark Souls is just as grueling and unforgiving as the first one. Just like they’ve done countless times over the past number of weeks and months.


Afterwards, I asked co-director Yui Tanimura if people still believe that Dark Souls II has been made easier, even after all the assurances to the contrary. As well as if it continues to be a challenge to assure those who have been upset by such assumptions that such concerns are simply unfounded. He replied:


“Coming from Japan, it’s hard to fully comprehend why and how much the North American and European audience keeps thinking it’s going to be easier. With that being said, if you take a look at the demo, and also played the demo, it’s going to be pretty clear that the difficulty will be just as high as necessary as before.


We have been constantly repeating this, because we did start off with a misleading comment earlier on. But at the same time, I’m not too worried about expressing the difficulty of the game. I’m sure players will see the footage, see the b-roll, and start to understand that it’s going to be just as challenging or even more so.”


This isn’t the first time Tanimura has said to us that he has no intention of making Dark Souls II easier. He said the exact same thing when I asked him about the game’s level of challenge back in April.


Dark Souls II is slated for release in March 2014 for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. You can read our recent hands-on impressions of the game here.

Read more stories about & & & & on Siliconera.

  • Flandre Scarlet

    There will always be concerns from fans that the a sequel will dramatically alter the game. Whether they’re unfounded or not is another story.

    This game is a bit too far out to determine if the difficulty is truly the same. I hope they actually make it harder, though. Dark Souls itself wasn’t so much difficult as it was just trial and error.

    • MrSirFeatherFang

      >I hope they actually make it harder
      >Dark Souls itself wasn’t so difficult
      >Flandre Scarlet
      Sooo, is Touhou harder than DeS and DS? :D

      • Trevor Nicolaysen

        They fast forwarded through non boss parts.

        • MrSirFeatherFang

          Well even though it looks like I can’t play that, I still like the music.
          Although one shoot’em up I want to beat one day is Ikaruga.

          • Trevor Nicolaysen

            I like some of the genre. But this subgenre…

            It looks past the point of fun. But when you find a genre you love, you just end up getting better and better until these are what’s left for any challenge I guess? :l

          • TrevHead

            The funny thing is that many bullet hells are easier that oldschool shmups once you get past the initial learning curve (especially doujin bullet hells which tend to be easier than arcade examples).

            In many ways bullet hells are like dark souls, it will mercilessly kick your arse when you first start out but once you practice abit and understand the systems in play you will find them much more manageable.

    • Trevor Nicolaysen

      I think that’s what people actually like about it. It’s a shout out to the form of difficulty used in the NES era and unlike most current games it actually punishes you if you fail to dodge/guard and brutalizes you for dying. Its one of the same reasons Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia was so well received. The save system and save point frequency is much more forgiving in that one, though.

      Honestly, the difficulty/combat punishment is awesome, but the severity of dying is a little bit much for me.

      • Flandre Scarlet

        OoE is one of my favorite Castlevania titles because of it’s difficulty. The original NES Castlevania is also one of my favorite titles, and is pretty difficult.

        I wouldn’t dare compare Dark Souls to Castlevania(NES), at least in regards to difficulty, though. I think the only time I ever really felt like I truly accomplished something in Dark Souls was after Ornstein and Smough, and that was only because I didn’t cheap out and bring friends/summoned Solaire. Everything else was just failing because I didn’t know what to expect and going back to try again. Rather tedious, but not exactly difficult.

        • Trevor Nicolaysen

          Yeah. I bet if you look at the age demographic it’s way up there by comparison. It’s a modern take on nostalgia. OoE is my favorite castlevania by gameplay. I would argue that they function on similar forms of difficulty. But Castlevania 1 definitely has less wiggle room for surviving.

          People said LoS was hard. It was a joke. Fun and awesome though. But when the enemies just do more damage for higher difficulties and you don’t really get hit by any of their attacks anyway it doesn’t actually change the difficulty. It’s carries a similar format to Dark Souls (for bosses) but with much easier bum rushed or evaded. It ends up not really being much of a challenge.

          I tend to be drawn to the medium between fairly difficult but not evil (Devil May Cry 3).

        • Asura

          Wow, I have the exact reverse experience from you. Castlevania felt like I failed because I didn’t know what to expect, whereas Dark Souls mostly everything felt like an accomplishment.

        • meiam

          Well you missed what was the most fun of the soul game, not relying on trial and error. That’s what the game is all about, knowing how to react when something happens that you couldn’t know about. Trial and error is demon’s souls easy mode.

          • Flandre Scarlet

            It’s a game where not knowing how to react generally results in you dying very quickly. Then you know how to react and what to expect, walk back into the room and beat it rather easily.

            You can’t ‘not rely’ on trial and error. Even going in cautiously, an unexpected attack or ability will result in losing a very large portion of your health if not all of it depending on your build. You can die very quickly.

            The other side is that while you die very quickly, all the deaths are very avoidable and once you know how to avoid them it becomes a cake walk.

          • Zeik56

            Most games have trial and error, that’s just how you learn, However I have to assume that his point is that eventually you should reach the point where you can undergo the process of trial and error in a single encounter. Sometimes you screw up and die and have to try again, that’s just how it is, but that shouldn’t be the process every time.

      • Zeik56

        The game is actually pretty lenient on the death penalty, all things considered. There is no gameover screen at all. You don’t lose equipment or items. Any shortcuts you open stay open. You lose your current Souls, but they let you get them all back if you make it back to your bloodstain, and as long as you don’t hoard them you usually don’t lose too many.

        I think if anything it punishes incompetence. (There’s probably a nicer way to put that, but…) If you made it through something the first time you should be able to do it again, unless it was luck. It promotes skillful play over just running in and hoping for the best.

        • Trevor Nicolaysen

          It punishes inexperience as much or more than it punishes incompetence. It’s slow enough that it’s pretty damn hard to actually be incompetent in. Not that it’s a bad thing.

          • Zeik56

            I think all the people that complain about it being overly difficult or “hard for the sake of hard” is plenty proof that it’s very easy to be incompetent.

            But you’re right, it does punish inexperience. The first handful of hours with your first Souls game is arguably the hardest time you’ll have with the game. Once you get past that initial hump and understand how to play the game you can get through most situations on the first attempt.

        • KnifeAndFork

          That’s how all the games were. They never awarded you for being impatient and trying to hack n slash your way through like Dynasty Warriors

    • Zeik56

      That’s the biggest misunderstanding people have about the Souls series. They aren’t difficult games, they’re just unforgiving and require some trial and error until you get a grasp on it, at which point you can drastically cut down the amount of trial and error necessary.

      • KnifeAndFork

        like Contra

  • Tincho D

    Because Bamco has a neverending romance with money (As seen in The [email protected]), and it’s not unreasonable to think they might be tempted to command From Software to make the game more accessible in order to reach a broader audiencie.

  • TiredOfMyOldUsername

    Maybe because Namco said they were trying to reach a bigger audience ?
    Usually when a compagny say that the next game in a serie end up being much easier.

    • Flandre Scarlet

      Eh. You can make a game reach a bigger audience without making it easier. Provide short term rewards, add in a second, optional difficulty, provide exclusive content that’s harder to reach/obtain, market it better, alter the artstyle some, etc. Lowering the difficulty is just one option and is often a bad one (Looking at you, Fable)

      • TiredOfMyOldUsername

        True, but the biggest complain about Dark Soul was that it was too difficult, so if they say they are trying to reach a bigger audience, i think it’s normal for most peoples to jump to the conclusion that it mean the difficulty will be lowered.

    • Xerain

      Basically what they’re doing is same game play, but more traditional mainstream storytelling. Yeah, I an others complain about the story being more accessible.

      I personally loved the thematic consistency where in addition to a challenging game, everything about the entire world was stacked against you, including the NPCs, the world’s lore, and even the game’s ending. You were constantly being bombarded with false and / or conflicting information about what is actually going on. Not only did the game play troll you, but so did everything else as well.

      It’s that everything else they’re easing up on. But as far as I’m concerned its’ that everything else that made the games brilliant.

      • Major Dr. Ghastly

        Maybe I’m misunderstanding, but I’m curious as to why you say they’re making the story line more “mainstream”/”accessible”. As far as I know, there hasn’t been any conclusive information about the plot, setting, or characters, just speculation from fans. Again, I could just be misreading your comment or something, but I don’t think the fans should be worrying about things the creators haven’t said themselves and/or things that we can’t actually show any proof of (other than the speculation mentioned before).

        • supervamp

          The persons means they are actually going to make a plot this time around so it’s not all fan speculation.

        • Quix

          “I personally am the sort of person who likes to be more direct than subtle. [Dark Souls 2] will be more straightforward and more understandable.”
          -Co-director Tomohiro Shibuya

          • Major Dr. Ghastly

            I’m not going to ignore the fact that Miyazaki didn’t even want a Dark Souls sequel to begin with, for reasons that I understand, but Miyazaki also said that he trusts Shibuya’s judgment and that they both want the same things for Dark Souls 2.

            Don’t get me wrong, I love Dark Souls; I enjoy the difficulty and I enjoy the subtle story elements, I love the confusing game elements and I loved helping my friends through these things until they got their barrings, but I’m not about ready to shoot down Shibuya before I’ve even seen his work.

            Maybe I have more closure because I’ve played King’s Field, Shadow Tower, and Evergrace (Armored Core, Kuon, Lost Kingdoms, and Echo Night to, but I find those a different genre than the aforementioned games) which were all developed by From Software. Under different staff I assume, but From Software has a distinct style and seeing as how this style has been going on since 1995/94, I’m just going to go out on a limb here and say that I trust that they can keep that style while introducing new ideas and techniques.

            Nowhere that I can find does anyone OFFICIALLY say that Dark Souls 2 story line will be a generic fantasy where all information is handed to you.

            Ah…I have so much more I can say and I probably missed the point I was trying to make in the first place, but I don’t want to ramble on like a doofus. So have a fantastic day/evening relative to where you live or when you see this message.

          • Quix

            Thanks, and point taken. My slight fear that Dark Souls 2 will end up as a generic fantasy title is probably completely irrational, but from a business perspective, it would be very tempting to try to get a piece of that tasty mass market pie that Skyrim tapped into, especially since Dark Souls has been fairly successful in the west. That said, it’s probably physically impossible for From Soft to write a generic plot line, so I’m not *that* worried. You have a nice day/night too, bro.

  • MyBodyIsReady

    Keep the Japanese roots. Keep the weird shit. It’s all I ask.

    • Capcom forgot that for Dead Rising 3 :( . But for DS2 i don´t think we will have something like that :)

      • Tyler Beale

        And for most of their other franchises, for that matter.
        Same goes for Square Enix, at least when it comes to their games released here in the west.

  • The difficulty of this series is why I don’t play. I tried Demon Souls and had enough

    • StarWarudo

      It’s really not that difficult, especially if you play with a little bit of caution instead of rushing into everything.

    • MrTyrant

      Just die a couple of times, memorize enemies behaviour and just fight lol of course, collect souls to level and such. If it is for time, yeah It can be tedious.

    • Testsubject909

      The game isn’t difficult so much so as it is simply challenging and fair.

      The enemy is just as strong as you for the most part. So really it’s mostly about you outsmarting or outlasting the enemy.

      And in that area, the enemy is at a big disadvantage…. especially in Demon’s Souls.

      Grab yourself a bow and arrows. A shield with any close range weapon for emergency, and you’ve got the slow and easy way…

      Or grab a huge two handed gigantic weapon. And abuse the hell out of the enemy’s recovery from being sent prone to kill them asap.


      Burn nearly everything to death. My bad.

    • Kelohmello

      The things is, this isn’t even a difficult series. All it asks is that you learn and adapt with the new information you’re provided with every time you die. It’s never even come close to being truly hard, as it’s incredibly fair to the player.

  • SirRichard

    Simply put, that one worrying comment early on, along with Namco Bandai hyping it up as an AAA title they’re throwing it all behind, wanting a bit of Skyrim’s audience and all that; it’s all rhetoric we’ve heard before, and I can’t think of a single occasion where it didn’t result in a poorer game.

    I think it’s telling that this sort of thinking comes so easily on this end of the world but not over there, or at least not as prevalently.

  • KnifeAndFork

    They said Dark Souls would be harder than Demon’s Souls but I actually found it easier than Demon’s Souls…and yes I started playing both games side by side

    • MrTyrant

      Specially new game+

    • Howl

      I thought that Demon souls was a lot easier then dark souls.

    • Lightthrower

      They’re both equally “hard”, but not too hard.

    • Testsubject909

      The ease at which to replenish the health potion equivalent and the frequency of save points certainly eased up many worries, plus the experience carried over from Demon’s Souls made the start of Dark Soul’s quite easy in my personal experience…

  • The reason why people are still thinking Dark Souls 2 may be easier is because some of Namco Bandai’s bad PR is making them think it should. NB wants it to be a AAA title broadening to nearly everyone. It’s beyond Yui’s control. And even if it’s not a Namco Bandai case, it’s simply people getting too accustomed to third-companies also trying to broaden the audience (and by that, it means making it a “little” easier for newcomers) with only a few games ever succeeding in that department while the rest, whether they’re good or not, don’t reach a company’s high sales expectations.


    • Carabutifarra

      From Software owns the IP, Namco-Bandai only is a publisher in West, From Software self-publish his game in Japan. Namco-Bandai has nothing to do with the game.

  • Ferrick

    if he says so, then i sure do hope that they will go through with it, because an easy dark souls isn’t exactly fun… and i want to see kano suffer more MUAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA >D

    • Poor Kano. =)

      • Ferrick

        how to know that there is a death trap in an area… wait for krilli…kano to go and test it out XD

  • heartless141

    i don’t think it’d be easier, but if i did, it’d be because dark souls was much easier to swallow than demon’s souls

  • Mar Mar

    Too easy? Then what if you played it without equipment or leveling up?

    • Kelohmello

      This mindset is problematic. The thing is, the game’s base difficulty should be hard, while allowing you to also enjoy all the resources and system mechanics the game has to offer. The logic of “well just sacrifice one aspect of the game to enjoy another” is sincerely flawed.

      I’m not saying this game is going to be easy or anything, just saying that that mindset doesn’t help anyone.

  • CirnoLakes

    Because they made talk of it becoming like another Skyrim.

    wRPGs like Skyrim have challenge if you turn the settings all the way up. But the challenge in the game part of the gameplay isn’t strong at all like Dark Souls and doesn’t have the kind of battle system that makes the combat in Dark Souls rewarding. Simply put, the combat in Skyrim isn’t that good.

    That’s because combat and furthermore challenging combat, isn’t what Skyrim aimed for.

    So, when you compare Dark Souls to Skyrim and becoming more like Skyrim, it sounds to fans like a degradation of the combat and challenge in Dark Souls.

  • HPN

    EZ mode sells. Look at Fire Emblem Awakening and Shin Megami Tensei IV. It’s the end-of-its-ropes direction the shrinking RPG market is going, pathetically…

    • I wish idiots like you would stop using the cloning machine to respawn.

  • realist

    No, no. Keep saying it will be easier until they make it even harder. I would love the extra challenge. Let us get 8-bit Tanimura.

  • ChiffonCake

    I have faith in From Soft.

  • “When this comes out, you will know true fear and loathing.”
    -Yui Tanimura

  • grevlinghore

    Dark Souls 1 is easier now than it used to be though. In the early days you`d consider yourself lucky if you got to level 60 in your first playthrough – nowadays you are pretty much guaranteed 80-90. Good thing you can regulate the difficulty manually though, by choosing challenging builds or not leveling at all :)

  • badmoogle

    Hmm i don’t know.From Gametrailer’s demo report a guy who played it said that there was a bonfire very close to the boss area.This can really make the game much more forgiving and also change the way you play the game.

  • TrevHead

    Because western gamers have been burned so many times by devs and publishers taking the fans for granted and watering down the gameplay to attact a wider audience and just about everything coming from the PR suggests that DS2 will go down the same route.

    My own fears for DS2 is that while the combat and death penalty will be the same punishing difficulty, the more subtle aspects of what made DS1 great like the minimalistic tutorials and signposting which allows the player to learn the game themselves through trial and error will removed since there were alot of gamers who didn’t like that aspect of DS1.

    I personally loved that you could get lost at the start of DS1 when you first get to firelink and you are faced with 3 routes, and even though the npc tells you which route to take you could find yourself cursed by ghosts or stuck in the crypt.

  • Khoko

    I still don’t get the hub bub over the difficulty. I’ve played both. Neither of them were all that difficult. Now I know difficulty is subjective but these games fan base seem to all consider them hard games. I just don’t get it. What is so hard about fighting bosses that telegraph every single one of their attacks?

  • Guest

    If Dark Souls II doesn’t have an easy difficulty then I’ll take Namco Bandai to court

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