Hidetaka Miyazaki says games like Elden Ring have to be hard: "If we really wanted the whole world to play the game, we could just crank the difficulty down"

Elden Ring Malenia boss fight
(Image credit: FromSoftware)

There's no denying that Elden Ring is tough, but director Hidetaka Miyazaki stands firmly by his belief that it had to be that difficult to give players a "sense of achievement," and making it easier "would break the game itself."

Elden Ring is packed with tough areas and foes – on the game's anniversary last year, Bandai Namco confirmed that players had collectively died over nine billion times, which is absolutely wild. While you could argue that making the action RPG so tough right out of the gate (looking at you, Tree Sentinel) could be off-putting for many, in a new interview with The Guardian, Miyazaki says turning the difficulty down in order to appeal to everyone "wasn't the right approach" for the game.

"If we really wanted the whole world to play the game, we could just crank the difficulty down more and more. But that wasn't the right approach," Miyazaki explains. "Had we taken that approach, I don't think the game would have done what it did, because the sense of achievement that players gain from overcoming these hurdles is such a fundamental part of the experience. Turning down difficulty would strip the game of that joy – which, in my eyes, would break the game itself."

It's fair to say that the thrill of finally demolishing a tough boss after countless frustrating deaths is a driving force in what makes Soulslike games like Elden Ring so moreish – we'll all forever remember how we felt after beating Malenia, that's for sure. With that said, it's worth pointing out that although Elden Ring is hard, its open-world design also means that players are given a bit more freedom in terms of how they approach the game, as well as what challenges they take on, and in what order. Although this wasn't the only reason why an open world was implemented, in the same interview, Miyazaki explains: "Both in terms of the difficulty and the learning curve, as well as the world setting, you feel that you can come up for air."

With today being the release day of Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree, Tarnished warriors everywhere are diving back into FromSoftware's action RPG to see what new foes await them, but even the most experienced players might be in for a bit of a shock. Miyazaki has teased that the studio has "pushed the envelope in terms of what we think can be withstood by the player" in the DLC, and given how many Soulslike veterans are already getting their butts kicked by an early boss, that definitely seems to track. Meanwhile, though, some players are still busy helping others beat Mohg so that they can start the DLC, in an activity which continues to shine a light on the wholesome side of the Elden Ring community. Rest assured that if you're struggling to get past the Lord of Blood, help is only a summon away.

If you're starting Elden Ring's DLC today, be sure to check out our top 5 Shadow of the Erdtree tips and tricks to have a chance in the Realm of Shadow.

Catherine Lewis
News Writer

I'm one of GamesRadar+'s news writers, who works alongside the rest of the news team to deliver cool gaming stories that we love. After spending more hours than I can count filling The University of Sheffield's student newspaper with Pokemon and indie game content, and picking up a degree in Journalism Studies, I started my career at GAMINGbible where I worked as a journalist for over a year and a half. I then became TechRadar Gaming's news writer, where I sourced stories and wrote about all sorts of intriguing topics. In my spare time, you're sure to find me on my Nintendo Switch or PS5 playing through story-driven RPGs like Xenoblade Chronicles and Persona 5 Royal, nuzlocking old Pokemon games, or going for a Victory Royale in Fortnite.