The upcoming PS4 exclusive Bloodborne has created a lot of expectations and hype between the fans of the Souls series, and many have been wondering about what we can expect from the title’s gameplay, especially in terms of difficulty, which is a staple of Hidetaka Miyazaki’s own work.
The director himself gave more information about it on an interview on 4Gamer, explaining the game’s principle he calls “The feeling of a battle to the death”
On the production side, we want players to fear the monsters and feel that they’re taking part in a battle to the death. We put a lot of effort on interactions and expressions to that end, and an example would be the blood splashes.
However the goal isn’t simply to irk players with ugly and terrifying enemies, but we want them to feel strongly about their battle to the death, and making them feel relieved and happy for the fact that they managed to survive it. We want players to tell “This was dangerous! I can’t believe I managed to make it through!”
Miyazaki-san also mentioned that with both Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls the team wanted players to feel a sense of accomplishment, and that’s why they ramped up the difficulty. With Bloodborne they want gamers to feel that sense of accomplishment even more strongly than before, so they needed to come up with something beyond simple challenge. In order to let players feel that sense of final accomplishment, they need to be able to win, so difficulty isn’t something that can be raised past certain limits.
That’s why our theory is that there has to be something else on the side of the level of challenge, which is the feeling of a desperate struggle to the death, which will create the sense of accomplishment. That is created by encountering a strong enemy and knowing in advance that it’s going to be a hard battle. Then your hands get all sweaty while you fight, and when you win you say “That was dangerous!” or ” I walked away from it somehow!” That can’t be achieved just with numbers expressing a difficulty setting.
He then explained that it will be achieved thanks to the “active battle” system included in the game, and another mechanic called “Inviting to the battle to the death,” but he promised that he’ll detail that one at a later time.
Honestly, I can’t wait to hear more about this, as Miyazaki-san seems to have a very clear idea on how to keep the game challenging, but also dampening the sense of frustration that often comes with challenge thanks to a feeling of accomplishment, and this may very well be what could raise Bloodborne above its predecessors.