Speaking to Xbox360Achievements, Epic Games’ design director Cliff Bleszinski revealed that he feels current-generation video games have become extremely easy in an effort to broaden their appeal, and promised that the upcoming Gears of War Judgement will “make you sweat”.
“It feels like in this current console generation that we’ve taken a lot of steps to grow the audience and what I think’s happened is that the games have become more linear and easier, so it feels like a lot of quick-time-events,”
“The more I play games like that the more I turned off to them and just want to get back to systems interacting with systems, and get back to a game that, you know, when was the last time a game really challenged you and asked something of you, right? There’s a reason why Demon Souls and Dark Souls have taken off lately. It’s because they really require you actually try.”
“Casual mode [in Gears of War: Judgement] will still be casual, whatever, if you just want to see graphics and you don’t want to die, but every other mode will be hard in this game and you will die.”
“When I played this in 4-player co-op… I really have to hunker down and focus, and if my buddies aren’t reviving me, and we aren’t working as a team, you’re going to die, and it’s okay to die a few times in a game to try some different strategies,”
It’s impossible to argue against Bleszinski’s assertion that video games have become increasingly easier over time. Back in the days of the NES it was common to have a game that contained no save system, and a limited number of lives. On top of that, those games were often punishingly hard and once you died you were sent back to the beginning of the game (Ghost’n Goblins and Battletoads are prime examples). Even the games that did have a save system in place would often not give you any indication as to where you were supposed to go and would allow the player to wander into areas that they were not at all equipped to handle (The Legend of Zelda and Metroid were basically designed with that idea in mind).
While I completely agree with Bleszinski’s comments, I also can’t overlook the fact that his Gears of War games are some of the worst offenders of exactly what he is complaining about. Hopefully, these statements are a bit of an admission on his part and Gears of War: Judgement will indeed take steps to put some of the challenge back into modern video games.