Games have become easier - Gears of War designer

Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski says games have taken steps to grow audience, resulting in more linear experiences, claims GOW: Judgment will "make you sweat."

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Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski has commented on the current state of the industry, telling Xbox 360 Achievements he wishes games today would be more challenging.

Gears of War: Judgment will be challenging, says Bleszinski.

"It feels like in this current console generation that we've taken a lot of steps to grow the audience and what I think has happened is that the games have become more linear and easier, so it feels like a lot of quick-time events," he said.

The developer said the success of From Software's role-playing games Demon's Souls and Dark Souls is a result of gamers' interest in being challenged.

"The more I play games [that aren't challenging], the more I turned off to them and just want to get back to systems interacting with systems, and get back to a game that, you know, when was the last time a game really challenged you and asked something of you, right?" he said. "There's a reason why Demon's Souls and Dark Souls have taken off lately. It's because they really require you actually try."

Bleszinski also said Epic Games and co-developer People Can Fly are working to make sure advanced difficulty is implemented into next year's Gears of War: Judgment.

"Casual mode will still be casual, whatever, if you just want to see graphics and you don't want to die," he said. "But every other mode will be hard in this game and you will die…If this game doesn't make you sweat, we haven't done our jobs."

Gears of War: Judgment takes players back before the events of the original Gears of War trilogy to the immediate aftermath of Emergence Day. For more on this title, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

Discussion

586 comments
ChemicalReaper
ChemicalReaper

Games have become easier to develop because it seems that half of the time, they're just copy-paste jobs from the previous game in the series.

seeinbytes
seeinbytes

While it's probably true games have become too easy, how is this setup for the new Gears game any different than what currently exists.  You can crank the difficulty up to impossible on most games that exist today, but that doesn't make them better.  As my recent experience with Max Payne on the higher difficulties can contest, it usually just makes them a drag.

 

Demon's Souls and Dark Souls were successful because they were built around their difficulty.  There's no difficulty slider when you first start playing, it's just tough as nails, but it's designed that way and as a result can be fair, which limits frustration.  Any game can be difficult.  A successfully difficult games leaves you feeling responsible when you die, and therefore keeps you in a constant state of suspense.  The opposite form of difficulty is rote memorization.

 

The diagnosis is correct, it's just the treatment that seems wrong.

 

Simon

http://seeinbytes.wordpress.com/

Myke_Michail
Myke_Michail

I know what he means. I usually set the difficulty to maximum on every game I play. With the challenge the games just become boring.

Arda_Daghan212
Arda_Daghan212

I'm ok with how games are now, it's new, it's fresh, it keeps me occupied, and I have the same fun I had back 10 years ago. Don't see any problems with today's games.

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

Mehhhh..

 

I'm all for tough games, but to be honest most games these days just don't seem good enough to even play more than once through.

 

The last single-player story which I thoroughly enjoyed was Uncharted 3, I'm currently playing Max Payne but even that seems somewhat thin.

 

Put more effort into the actual story lines and i'll take interest, a campaign based on Baird's life though just isn't that.  Bring back Dom and I'll listen.

 

Farrr too much emphasis is placed on the Multiplier content nowadays, as a result the story itself ends up being piss poor.

theKSMM
theKSMM

I see a lot of comments here grousing about games not being hard enough or that completing a game only counts if you did it on Insane Super Ninja God Warrior mode, but let me offer a different perspective.

 

I'm not a good gamer. I really enjoy games, but the amount of time I have for them is limited. And since I play lots of games with little time, I don't have time to master many of them at all. So I mostly play games on normal difficulty.  If I get stuck on normal, I'll occasionally drop down to an easier difficulty setting, but since many games don't allow you to switch difficulty mid-game, it often means I just give up and move on to the next game in the list.

 

This may give better bragging rights to those of you who can / do finish your games, but it's not a great business strategy.  Am I going to buy any DLC for a game I didn't finish?  Am I going to pick up the sequels (which are equally hard) when I don't have the entire backstory?  Or have they lost my future dollars to a game more suited to my skill level?

 

The thing that differentiates games from books and movies is that with a game you have to "earn" the story.  I've never started a movie or book and feared that I wouldn't have the skill to finish it.  But that has happened to me on more games than I care to count, and I'm left with partial, unfinished stories, and questions about what happened next.  That seems a bit unfair to me when I paid just as much for my game as everyone else.

 

I certainly think there should be games for skilled gamers.  And not these games with "cheap kills" that require you to die enough times to memorize the pattern to avoid getting killed.  No, I think games should have enemies that can meet you at any skill level.  So I hope that while Bleszinski is trying to bring back the golden era of hardcore gaming, he doesn't forget that a lot of the riches we currently enjoy came from expanding into territory that allowed a lot of others to pick up and play too.

Krinnium
Krinnium

i just hope they dont resort to the same sort of "difficulty" that existed in gears of war 3 insane mode. dumping hundreds of rounds into a single enemy and occasionally dying instantly wasnt fun, or challenging. they need to improve the AI and make everyone prone to insta-death. if i can kill the AI instantly, they should have good enough AI to kill me instantly as well. imagine how much more fun gears 3 insane would be if everyone was able to kill and be killed instantly. similarly to multiplayer. if a grub shotguns me at close range i expect to die immediately. if i do the same to him on insane, however, it doesnt work. in fact you get countered so hard that its not even worth the effort ( i do it anyway cause im a hardcore gnasher fan). i feel like games would be legitimately difficult without being dumb.  if you and the bots had exactly the same odds in terms of killing each other, the game would be both challenging and fun. you have to be clever and good at the game to succeed. 

IndiePrower
IndiePrower

And this.. is why multiplayer based games flourish

Hortey
Hortey

I think the biggest issue is that designers don't hit both sides of the spectrum when making games.  It's pretty easy to take a notoriously easy game, and tweak the game mechanics a bit to make it insanely hard.

 

I don't understand how people are having issues on the easy variants of campaigns (people on the forums asking for help while playing easy/casual difficulty modes) while I'm just walking straight through the hardest mode in the game.  And I think that's why multiplayer is such a huge drawing point atm, because it's been a long time since a designer has made a game that was more challenging than multiplayer.  I grew up from the age of 11 playing games like UFO series (xcom), OFP series (the guys that now do ARMA), rainbow 6 original, TES Morrowind, and the original ghost recon games.  And now decades later, there are almost zero games giving that level of a challenge, not even the new versions of the same franchises.  AND I WAS PLAYING ALL OF THOSE ON MY CONSOLES (n64 for R6, ps2 for Xcom, Xbox1 for GR, morrowind, and OFP)

NARUtotheFISH
NARUtotheFISH

The Dead Space games in my opinion were one of the hardest games i've played especially in Zealot difficulty. yes sir! and my favorite 2 games !!

Arsyad00
Arsyad00

yeayea wutever, so where`s my GOW for MICRO$OFT WINDOWS 7 ULTIMATE?

angubaranar123
angubaranar123

I really don't understand who likes easy games... if you finish them it just means that maybe you don't have some big neurological problems.

Where's the thrill? Would you watch a Lakers Vs Midget Team match?

Opposable thumb and not being in coma are the only requirements many games have skillwise. How fun can be to play such games?

 

I understand that old arcade games (Legend of Hero Tonma imho is the best example) were too hard for almost all the players, but isn't it possible to set the difficulty to something between "killed while inserting coins" and "finished blindfolded"? Something like '90s games... Thief, Doom and such.

 

And about the article... it pretty much looks like advertising to me... "to all people fed up with uber ez games, BUY GOW:J!".

The funny part is that I'd really like to see a hard single player FPS, but I can't stand the "hide behind a wall, health auto regen, max 2 weapons at the same time" playstyle, so I won't buy GOW anyway.

 

speed45823
speed45823

Where has the good ol' days of doom's NIGHTMARE difficulty gone?

crevekm127
crevekm127

as much as i think that epic is a bad company and that cliffy b is an idiot, i'd have to say i agree with him on this one

med12
med12

i've started playing the game called 'velvet assassin' its a fairly old game but despite not getting the best reviews i really really like that game, and one of the things i really like about it is that its acutally not easy to play and i have loaded my game from last checkpoint several times, trying and trying and trying it sometimes get frustrating and you become kinda mad but i like that that means there is a challenge and now you are fighting to achieve something that was how it was done with every single game in the past and i really would love to see things go back to these times and offer us a proper challenge when i finished skyrim or many other newer games i didn't feel like i accomplished anything but with tough games you really feel that joyful and awesome feeling of fulfilment and you be proud by what you've accomplished.

Demonslayer017
Demonslayer017

I agree that games are often a lot more fun when they are challenging(though sometimes it's just more fun to unwind and shoot some guys).  The problem is that most "difficult" games are just frustrating.  Things like the second ninja gaiden and parts of dark souls were more cheap than clallenging.  I thought that these games really had fair but challenging gameplay: The Witcher 2, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow,or Demon's Souls.  I hate in games like assassin's creed where an even remotely skilled player could easily kill 30-some enemies without even using melee.

isshiah
isshiah

i play games for story, characters, exploration and customization. challenging gameplay that requires thought and tactics is fine when it suits the story. playing as a high level, end-game character that isn't able to wade through brain dead, bullet sponge AI that halter my progress? no, thank you. i want my next dialogue tree, please.

 

but some people thrive on the punishment and want to keep trying, again and again. me, i don't have enough windows to throw my controllers through. it's like purposely making a DVD not work, so that when you finally get to watch parts of the movie, it's more rewarding. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

Shantmaster_K
Shantmaster_K

For RPG's, I really care about the story more then anything. So whether the game is challenging or not, as long as the game has an interesting story I don't care how hard it is. For me, playing a game that is extremely difficult and I die countless times, makes me shut the game off. I do like a challenge, but when you have to restart too many times. 

Fandango_Letho
Fandango_Letho

Insane mode in Gears 3 was... extremely frustrating, so I sure as hell hope that they won't make it even more harder. That's actually odd, since Gears 1 and 2 were great and fun challenge even on Insane. There's a fine line between '' stupid '' and '' awesome '' in difficulty. I hope they know which to tread on.

criminalscum87
criminalscum87

Like Assassin's Creed, the only way I die in those games is if I accidentally fall off a building.  

IndestrucubleR
IndestrucubleR

i play gears 3 online and i can tell u that their arent that many rude people, and i have enjoyed every gears of war so i eagerly await Judgement with my wallet wide open

Sam-os_IMP
Sam-os_IMP

Still gotta finish boring GOW3 before this.

ciphfer
ciphfer

I think the solution would be to build an online mode into the game where it specifies for mature players only. This mode would have restrictions that would prevent the common bashing, trash talking and anti-competitive game play. In this mode you can vote out an annoying gamer forever from this particular mode. It would develop a different community and not alienate the other players who prefer to be disruptive.

 

If a game has this mode already than I have not found it.

Ninjiz
Ninjiz

I loved Ninja Gaidens Difficulty. It was exciting. Then I play games like Kingdoms of Amular... and im like... hacking through hordes for hrs before I even knew I had a black button...

DarthLod
DarthLod

This "competitive" gaming fad now days is frankly ruining gaming if you ask me. I play games for fun, not to gloat and boost my ego. Frankly, it ruined Gears for me because everything in Versus mode is full of egotistical, rude, immature people. The only fun I have in Gears is Beast and Horde. Tell you what, just put the game in and leave your ego out of it, please. Enjoy, have fun. That's what games are supposed to be.  Not a score card to brag about. "If this game doesn't make you sweat, we haven't done our jobs" Yes, tons of stress and upset is a good way to RELAX and play a game right? No. I think Gears 3 was just right as far as hardness.

Gomtor
Gomtor

A game isn't better because it is hard or not.  Todays games (Im in my 40s and playing since forever) are much better because it is (usually) not that frustating. Hard games can be good though, like demon or dark souls.  But it is still good and you know beforehand what youre getting yourself into.  But if all games were that hard, it would suck.

BSEE10
BSEE10

 @theKSMM It is true, we must invest time in gaming and it is a big factor. It is also the same reason why iOS is such a hit since games there can be played in small bursts. But I do think too that games are gone a little easier over the years. Run and gunning in shooter campaign is such an example and also button mashing in action adventures. A game that will make you pause and think a strategy or a game that won't hold your hand throughout the experience is becoming scarce. 

jeffkaos
jeffkaos

@Krinnium I was going to post something like this until I scrolled down and saw your comment. For a long time now developers have made games "harder" by making enemies harder to kill and players easier to kill. How about amping AI on harder difficulty settings?

angubaranar123
angubaranar123

 @speed45823 Those were times! Even Ultra-Violence would be enought imho. Now most of ""Hard Mode"" is between "I don't want to die" and "Hey, not too rough" Doomwise.

isshiah
isshiah

 @Shantmaster_K i also play games for story...plus characters, exploration and customization. challenging gameplay that requires thought and tactics is fine when it suits the story. playing as a high level, nigh-invincible character that isn't able to wade throw brain dead, bullet sponge AI that halter my progress? no, thank you. i want my next dialogue tree, please.

 

some people thrive on the punishment and want to keep trying, again and again. me, i don't have enough windows to throw my controllers through. it's like purposely making a dvd not work, so that when you finally get to watch part of the film, it's more rewarding. NO!

Shantmaster_K
Shantmaster_K

but not when you have to restart so many times*

shenron43
shenron43

 @Fandango_Letho The final battle with the Queen was a pain when you have a bad team.... It took us about two hours to defeat her.

Demonslayer017
Demonslayer017

 @criminalscum87 Yeah, your'e right, when you have a crossbow with 30+ bolts, 20+ throwing knives, a gun with a half-dozen bullets and a bunch of poison darts, you can kill just about every guard in rome without even drawing your sword.

leviathanwing
leviathanwing

 @ciphfer demons souls through its community had this sort of thing... in a way.  nothing like invading a cry baby with scraping spear when he comes whining on the boards about an easily avoidable game mechanic.  but no game has this mode of yours because it is ultimately too easy to abuse and would do the exact opposite of what you are hoping for... just make your own lobby on your own private server.

Hortey
Hortey

 @DarthLod Gears 3 was just right FOR YOU.  There are a lot of people who don't get stressed, upset, or mad at videogame who enjoy difficult games.  That's what's so frustrating, the devs see the majority of people completing the game on easy mode and hear lots of people say the game was just fine in terms of difficulty and assume they don't need to make the game hard on it's hardest mode.

 

This was what I felt with KOA:amalur.  Most people who played it did so on the easiest mode, and a lot of people said the difficulty was fine, but I was playing it on the hardest mode 3/4ths of the way through the game... and I could leave my character alone while I left the room knowing that a group of 8 enemies couldn't do enough damage through my armor rating to outdamage my health regen... and I'd get back to them dead from my shields counter damage proc. 

 

I honestly don't know what's more pitiful.  That game designers just refuse to even MAKE a high difficulty mode when it would be pretty easy just to toy with a couple numbers and settings, or that people are playing the easiest modes in games and are challenged somehow.

DarthLod
DarthLod

The fact that they have removed Beast and Horde for yet ANOTHER Competitive mode just shows how egotistical they are over there. I think I will pass on Gear Judgement. I only enjoy working with people in games, not against them.

FighterforJC
FighterforJC

 @Gomtor Agreed.  However  when it comes to Dark/Demon Souls, there's a bit of a double standard.  If you read the reviews, those games are being praised for the very same things that other games get criticized for.  I mean, it gets credit for the trial and error element, describing it as "skill," when all it boils down to is memorization of where the enemies jump out of or where the traps are.  Seriously, one website even praised it for not having a traditional pause functionality.  That's supposed to be a positive that you can't go to the bathroom or answer the front door when you're playing Dark Souls??

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

 @stan_boyd I cannot actually believe you said that :| Story is definitely the most important part of a game, i figure you're fairly new to gaming though so I'll let you off.

theKSMM
theKSMM

 @BSEE10 You make a good point about iOS games and apps. They basically showed that there's an appetite for games that can be consumed in small cost / time increments by people who aren't trying to be professional gamers.

 

I stopped reading comics books some time ago, and I haven't gotten back into them until DC's The New 52 reset because I didn't want to jump back into the middle of a story.  And I feel the same way about say, military shooters.  I need one that will teach me the basics of throwing a grenade without a sniper blowing my head off from half a mile out.

 

I feel your pain, @BSEE10 ...games should ramp up to challenge somebody at your skill level, but if the programmers do their jobs right, those same games should ramp down for somebody at my skill level.  They don't all have to be Raving Rabbids, but they don't all have to be Ninja Gaiden either.

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

 @Demonslayer017 and don't forget the ability to call other assassins to join the already easy fights, or how about smoke bombs for easy instant kills :P

 

ciphfer
ciphfer

 @leviathanwing I disagree. Any lobby system can be circumvented but this mode creates an opportunity to develop an additional community of like minded gamers. And if more games had this mode as you pointed out the few games do, then a community would ultimately emerge. Creating a lobby in any game dispenses those to wait for others to join vs joining in immediately when you come online to enjoy the game.

 

OHGFawx
OHGFawx

 @leviathanwing There was nothing cheap about NG. NG2 yes, but the first one, no there was not. Its still an amazing game that rewards skill, and punishes mindless button mashing.

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

 @warhawk-geeby So Super Mario Bros is a bad game then since it had a weak story? Fallout 3 and New Vegas had terrible stories to guess they are terrible games. Wolfenstein and Doom and Quake all had pretty much no story yet are fantastic games. Pacman, Tetris, Doctor Mario are all classics with no story, the original metroid and even super metroid had hardly any story except what was in the instruction manual. I am gonna guess you are new to gaming since strong stories in games didn't really become that common til the PS1 era with the exception of square RPG's on the SNES.

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

 @ciphfer  @leviathanwing this would never work, cause griefers would go on and vote out anyone they felt like voting out just for the fun of it. I was voted out of a few matches of RDR just because I was winning, I don't even own a headset so they can't say I was trolling or trashtalking, they booted me just cause I was better at the game than them.

DarthLod
DarthLod

 @leviathanwing Who said anything about facts? IF you don't like my opinion, then move on. Posting nonensee is exactly that...nonsense.