Elden Ring is designed for "all sorts of players," and not just those looking for a challenge.
Speaking to Eurogamer (opens in new tab), FromSoftware's Yasuhiro Kitao outlined the many different character builds and approaches available in the upcoming game, saying that while the developer has always tried to allow for that, "we feel this is going to be even more the case this time around. There are paths you don't have to take and character builds you don't have to make."
Kitao goes on to say that "we always want all sorts of players to enjoy these games and get as far as possible. Obviously we respect and appreciate that a large portion of our player base really enjoys that level of challenge, and enjoys these situations where they're really tested, their skill is tested. And we really want to cater to them, and it is not our intention to make any single game easier or harder."
While FromSoftware is happy to cater to its hardcore fans, Kitao says the studio "also want to create and prepare a wide variety of options that players who are not so inclined can use, to enjoy the game and to experience that sense of accomplishment just like those hardened veterans."
FromSoftware's games - in particular the Dark Souls series - are well known for their punishing combat and deeply unwelcoming worlds. Over time, that's lead to a community which has come to expect serious difficulty from the studio's titles, so it's interesting to see Kitao suggest that it's attempting to open up the experience to an increasing numbers of players not interested in that 'git gud' mentality.
Director Hidetaka Miyazaki previously suggested that Elden Ring is about as tough as Dark Souls 3 but gives players more ways to overcome challenges – partly in lieu of literal difficulty settings, which Elden Ring doesn't include. The ability to summon collectible NPC phantoms in single-player is one of the best ways to get an advantage in a fight, for instance. It's interesting to hear Kitao explain the philosophy behind that decision. Perhaps FromSoftware is aware that in its collaboration with George R.R. Martin, it'll be attracting new players who'll want to explore the game's world without getting flattened by the first boss.
Looking for a challenge? Here are some more games like Dark Souls.