In the last two weeks, there has been a lot of talk about whether Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice needs an easy mode. Sekiro is the latest in a line of From Software titles that are notoriously unforgiving in their difficulty. They provide equal opportunity, but don’t provide equal outcome. Ask anyone who has played a From game and they will tell you that they are tough, but fair. The idea that From Software and the developers there should put in an easy mode for people who can’t make it through the punishing difficulty is quite simply ridiculous, and that’s saying something as someone who by his own admission sucks at Sekiro.
The Art and The Artist
Gaming culture is full of entitlement. As a result of the medium entering maturity in the online age, gamers are used to feeling actively courted and engaged by developers. Indeed, look no further than Fortnite, the world’s largest game, to see how the flexibility online gaming provides can be coupled with a receptive developer to result in massive success. People, but especially gamers, want to be listened to, and they want to be listened to in a way that results in aligning the product with their way of thinking. As an active member of the Destiny community, I am no stranger to desiring changes to occur. However, there is a difference in asking for balance changes and asking for the game to be changed to accommodate your inability to complete it.
You are not entitled to experience art. I see this argument about piracy all the time. People bemoan the fact that if only the book/album/game/movie was cheaper then they would happily pay for it. Since it isn’t, they don’t feel bad pirating it because they can’t afford DMC 5, The Division 2 and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. However, those people, and even those who purchased the game, are not entitled to see all of it. Just because I bought the newest book in The Stormlight Archive, doesn’t entitle me to know what the ending means if I ignore the first 500 pages of the book and skip straight there. The artist owes nothing to the audience. If the artist chooses to cultivate a two-way relationship with the audience that is absolutely their prerogative, but they are under no obligation to do so.
Equal Opportunity not Equal Outcome
Now, this is not saying that having accessibility options in games is a bad thing. On the contrary, those should be lauded. People who have physical handicaps should absolutely be allowed the same opportunities to succeed as anyone else who picks up the game. Equal opportunity, not equal outcome. This is not a “git gud” argument. This is a ‘respect the vision of the artist’ argument. You don’t deserve to beat Sekiro just because you bought it. You deserve the opportunity to experience the game, which is what you get when you see this screen: