In Praise of Hard Games

Despite dying repeatedly in Demon's Souls, the editors at Kotaku have nothing but praise for the difficult PS3 RPG. And to support their conclusions about Demon's Souls' difficulty being one of its biggest draws, they include portions of an interview they did with producer Takeshi Kajii on the subject:
I've been roasted by a dragon, used as a pincushion for ghoul spears, and hacked to death by an axe knight, repeatedly. I keep trying, and I die and die again. Are we having fun yet?

No, actually, I'm not. I've been playing Demon's Souls a game even its developer admits isn't "a fun game." The action-adventure game casts you as a hero confronting where progress is hard-won, recovery supplies are limited and equipment can wear out. The twist is that when players die, they return as phantoms to navigate the same environments in a weakened state in the hopes of earning their bodies back that's right, the game actually gets more challenging the more you fail.

And yet I love it.


"I do not think that games must be accessible to be appealing," Demon's Souls producer Takeshi Kajii told me in an interview. "If you make a game accessible it will expand the audience. However, if we were to make all games accessible, wouldn't you eventually get tired of the same thing?"

Kajii explained that in creating Demon's Souls the team sought to return to the core of what's fun about games, and relied on three tenets: challenge, discovery and accomplishment. "People commonly say Demon's Souls is hard because of this, but we never made the difficulty needlessly high for the sake of being hard, nor did we intend for it to be a selling point," he said.