Dark Souls 2 director Yui Tanimura lays a personal claim to the balancing in the punishing new title.
When word spread that Dark Souls 2 was going to be more accessible compared to its notoriously difficult predecessor, fans were less than pleased. But in a recent interview with GameInformer, Tanimura says that accessibility does not mean easy, only that the game will be more streamlined "to deliver the more pure essence of Dark Souls."
Tanimura has no plans to remove any of the challenges from the game. "When designing a game - when you start to take away all of the reasons for not playing, so if people say this is too hard, so I'm going to take away the difficulty, or this is a nuisance to do, or a pain to do, so I am going to take away that aspect of the game so that you don't have to face that nuisance - you no longer really have a game anymore."
"Balance is something important," he continues. "We took a lot of care in terms of tuning each instance of the so-called challenges so that we reached an overall good balance throughout the game."
Game Informer also asked how Tanimura plans to make Dark Souls 2 his game. "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."
He goes on to say that "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."
Dark Souls 2 is expected on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 March 2014. It will not be released on next-gen consoles, as Tanimura says the current consoles still have "a lot of potential to deliver Dark Souls II, and we wanted to get Dark Souls II out as soon as possible to the fans."
Australian editor Shaun Prescott went one-on-one with Dark Souls 2 at E3, and he assures us that it is still "very, very difficult."