There's an article-style interview with Dark Souls II's director Yui Tanimura over at Forbes which, among other things, cover the subject of a possible easy mode for the title. Here's an excerpt:
(I would like to clarify here that we do not have any plan to make the game easier,) Tanimura tells me. (As Dark Souls focused on giving a sense of satisfaction to players, Dark Souls II is also pursuing to provide this sense. We cherish Dark Souls fans' voices and would like to improve this game based on their voices to let them enjoy a highly challenging game.)
Along these lines, the developer has no plans to include options within the game to make it easier for more casual players.
(We do not plan on having an Easy Mode,) says Tanimura, (since we are creating this game with a thought that challenge and difficulty are core elements of the game.)
As Tanimura points out, the (stance of storytelling in FromSoftware titles is not a drama style that explains A to Z as if it was a movie. What we are focusing on is to provide active user experience achieved through getting into the game universe and trying to freely discover and understand. This stance has not been changed.)
Neither has From's stance on pausing and saving. The game will (auto-save) just like Dark Souls but there won't be save files to go back through to fix your mistakes. Neither will you be able to pause the game. As in Dark Souls, both the challenge and the multiplayer rely on players existing in the game in real time. Menus will be accessed while the game goes on around you, making it at once more perilous and more immersive.