There's a new interview with Dark Souls II's director Yui Tanimura over at GameInformer and, while it perhaps doesn't offer us any breaking news title, it offers a good insight in the new director's design philosophy. Here's a snippet:
Do you think the word (accessible) automatically translates to (easy)?
No, we don't actually. The reason why we used the word accessible was not to say that the game is going to be easier by any means. We're maintaining the difficulty and we think the challenges are required. What we meant was, there are certain aspects of the game where it didn't really have a direct connection to the sense of satisfaction of overcoming. There were things that were a little bit time consuming or a little bit tedious that we wanted to streamline sort of carve away all the fat so we could really deliver the lean pure expression of what Dark Souls tries to communicate, which is the sense of satisfaction of overcoming. In terms of accessibility, what we meant was a more streamlined experience to deliver the more pure essence of Dark Souls.
You're a new director for Dark Souls. What are you going to do to make it your game? What will define Dark Souls II as a Yui Tanimura game?
Throughout the game, there are going to be a lot of different small things that I will direct and will be implemented due to my personality or direction, but the biggest part I feel that will characterize this game as the game that I directed will probably be the game balancing. I take care of a lot of the balancing of the game with the difficulty, the trickiness, of the frustration that you feel. I intend to spend a lot of my time trying to balance placements of the enemies, the parameters of the enemies so that players can face that difficulty, face those challenges, but also conquer enough to sense that satisfaction. Balance is probably the most important part of this game and I feel responsible in balancing the game, and tuning it to the finest details so that Dark Souls II will be the best experience so far in the series that we've created.