Cuphead, And The Problems With Difficulty In Video Games
Do game developers understand difficulty?
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Video games are always iterating. As they evolve, developers keep finding new ways to toy with the ideas of "challenge" and "difficulty."
Certain studios come to mind when we talk about difficult video games: From Software, Firaxis Games, and now Studio MDHR, the creative minds behind the recently released Cuphead. Their title is a gorgeous, brutal platformer, with run n' gun aspects that challenge even the most skilled players, demanding precise timing and vigilant patience.
Cuphead does have a "simple" difficulty that allows less skilled players to see more of the game. But it doesn't let them see all of Cuphead. In fact, it erases some boss' attack phases entirely, and bars players from seeing the last 10 percent if they haven't beaten every previous boss on the Regular difficulty level.
So, in the wake of the (fantastic) platformer's release, we decided to look at how other studios tackle the obstacle of "challenge" in their games. We explore everything from Resident Evil 4 to XCOM 2, Fire Emblem to Left 4 Dead, and more.