Elden Ring is the "perfect" game for people who were "put off" by games like Dark Souls, according to producer Yasuhiro Kitao.
Kitao discussed Elden Ring's design philosophy at length in a recent Taipei Games Show broadcast (opens in new tab), and repeatedly asserted that "the principle of reducing player stress" influenced FromSoftware's decisions throughout development.
"The sheer vastness of the world posed its own problems, in that the players must not be allowed to get bored, yet at the same time, placing a whole bunch of enemies everywhere would lead to constant fighting, which can be stressful in itself," Kitao said of the game's massive, seamless map. "The challenge was to place enemies in a way that would keep players interested, but still provide them with a low-stress experience."
"Horses provide a stress-free method of traveling across the long distances the player needs to travel in the game," he added elsewhere in the interview. "So this was also driven by the principle of reducing player stress."
Ultimately, Kitao reckons that Elden Ring "is the perfect title for those who have been interested in our games in the past, but who have been put off by concerns about the games being too difficult."
This lines up with previous comments from franchise director Hidetaka Miyazaki, who estimated that Elden Ring is about as hard as Dark Souls 3 but noted that "it can be handled" in more inventive ways thanks to the many options and strategies presented to players. Kitao himself has also claimed that Elden Ring will appeal to "all sorts of players" and not just die-hard Souls veterans.
Indeed, after our Elden Ring hands-on preview, we were soundly convinced that this is the most approachable game FromSoftware's ever made.
In the same interview, Kitao outlined how Elden Ring new game plus works, teased a Roundtable Hold area where we'll meet lots of NPCs, and confirmed that the game won't be delayed again.