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Digital Trends - Forget easy mode. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice needs an equal mode (article by Steve Spohn from AbleGamers)

Jan 9, 2019
497
#1
First of all, sorry for *another* thread about Sekiro and Easy Modes but I thought this was worth its own discussion as it's a piece by Steve Spohn from AbleGamers. Disability was invoked a lot on both sides of the debate here so it's good to see an article about this discussion from the point of view of someone who actually has a disability that affects how they're able to play the game

https://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/sekiro-shadows-die-twice-accessiblity-equal-mode/

Definitely worth a read, and there's some interesting responses to some of the main arguments (some of which will be very familiar if you perused the other threads about the topic) he's heard against Easy modes. Have also included a couple of quotes below:

When the controversy around Sekiro broke, the idea of it needing an “easy mode” seemed silly to me. I had just won the title of Global Gaming Citizen at The Game Awards in December, a recognition for the positive work I’ve done in our industry including my life’s work at AbleGamers. In its 15 years of existence, our charity has never been busier, having contracts with almost every major publisher in the industry and working on all kinds of cool, secret things that I can’t talk about without an army of robots jumping out of my closet and beating me down. Surely with all the progress we’ve been making, no one would be against adding accessibility to a video game?

I was wrong.
After several days of fielding valid concerns, worries, and in some cases, outrageous insults, I’ve listened to all of the pros and cons of adding an easy mode to the game. The conclusion?

SEKIRO DOESN’T NEED AN EASY MODE, IT NEEDS AN EQUAL MODE
How you choose to play a single player game is not affected by how anyone else chooses to play the same single player game.

Accessibility options allow people who have physical or cognitive disabilities to participate on an even playing field. The entire notion of gamers with disabilities wanting to make a very difficult game extremely easy is what fired up so many people against accessibility. Very few people want to distort or change an experience like Sekiro where its main draw is the challenge of the game. But there’s also a very rich world of storytelling and lore just waiting to be discovered.
Lock me if this is old news
 
Oct 25, 2017
754
#2
How you choose to play a single player game is not affected by how anyone else chooses to play the same single player game.
This is what I've been saying throughout all these arguments but people can't seem to grasp the concept of "You don't have to use the easier mode /accessibility options". People were legit arguing to me that if sekiro had a easier mode they would abuse it and that's why it shouldn't have any, which is a completely ridiculous statement.
 
Oct 27, 2017
400
#3
i am all for adding as much accessibility features into a game as humanly possible but i also know its not realistic to expect devs to create so every person that plays every game they make can play using any input device.

things like the MS adaptive controller are great great strides but i think its gonna be that the whole way for this, hardware AND software creators working together to provide options.

there are going to be some games people just cant play, thats a fact. but i do think the industry is making great steps to make it so MORE games can be played by anyone, using anything.

considering the cost in money and time, i just have a hard time putting a lack of accessibility options entire on devs
 
Oct 27, 2017
3,167
#4
How you choose to play a single player game is not affected by how anyone else chooses to play the same single player game.
It's genuinely embarrassing that this actually needed to be said because apparently large swathes of gamers cannot wrap their minds around it
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,596
#5
This is what I've been saying throughout all these arguments but people can't seem to grasp the concept of "You don't have to use the easier mode /accessibility options". People were legit arguing to me that if sekiro had a easier mode they would abuse it and that's why it shouldn't have any, which is a completely ridiculous statement.
Holy shit lol.

"YOU cant enjoy something because I cant control my impulses."
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,841
#6
This is what I've been saying throughout all these arguments but people can't seem to grasp the concept of "You don't have to use the easier mode /accessibility options". People were legit arguing to me that if sekiro had a easier mode they would abuse it and that's why it shouldn't have any, which is a completely ridiculous statement.
what they really mean is their peers would use it and join the exclusive conversations about the game as if they didn't.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,838
#10
This is what I've been saying throughout all these arguments but people can't seem to grasp the concept of "You don't have to use the easier mode /accessibility options". People were legit arguing to me that if sekiro had a easier mode they would abuse it and that's why it shouldn't have any, which is a completely ridiculous statement.
To play the other side, having the option to just lower the difficulty will eventually will eventually lead people to just saying fuck it and lowering the difficulty. And because people are already saying “just control your impulse to lower it”, that’s the thing about From Software where they don’t let that become an option to overcome a difficult task. That’s the main reason they are hard games. Like DMC5 on its hardest difficulty is a hard game, but no one is going around saying it’s a hard game cause of the options to ignore the difficulty. That is a pretty unique thing that From Software has.

Is that enough reason to not make the games more accessible? Probably not. But I’m not going to pretend that the uncompromising difficulty that their games present isn’t a selling point.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,832
#12
User Warned: Thread Derailment
You know what, it's embarrassing how this discussion has been generating new articles for weeks now whereas something as the THQ debacle generated close to none.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,866
#14
You know what, it's embarrassing how this discussion has been generating new articles for weeks now whereas something as the THQ debacle generated close to none.
Or how accessibility has solely revolved around easy modes and not dealing with many physical handicaps that individuals that can be dealt with. Like how games still don't deal with colorblindness well or how awful subtitles can be for the deaf.
 
Oct 25, 2017
754
#15
what they really mean is their peers would use it and join the exclusive conversations about the game as if they didn't.
Clearly the same thing. LOL.



This 100%.
If only:
The fact that you have to persevere to win is the point. If there was an easier difficulty I would have used it several times in FROMs games - but there aren't. And I am so glad because that made me overcome the challenges by myself.

Another game that does something similar is The Witness. It succeeds in making me develop solutions and solve puzzles with nothing to rely on by myself. If there was a hint system in that game it would ruin it.

As I said, there's real value in overcoming difficult shit - especially when you can't take the easy way out (or even have the option to). Not because you get a better score - but because something happens to you, the player.
 
Oct 26, 2017
7,239
#16
I mean, I don't think much people is against that, the whole gaming genre needs accesibility options, the writter already says so in a tweet that easy mode and accesiblity options aren't the same.

Again, this is not about Sekiro, and I think framing this about the game is wrong, because almost no games have accesibility options but few, and Sony or Nintendo are still silent about their own adaptative controller that Microsoft supports, for example.
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
doodlewhizz
Jan 9, 2019
497
#17
Or how accessibility has solely revolved around easy modes and not dealing with many physical handicaps that individuals that can be dealt with. Like how games still don't deal with colorblindness well or how awful subtitles can be for the deaf.
I find that to be an issue as well and it's very disappointing that there aren't standards for colourblindness and subtitle options in the industry. There should probably be more articles talking about this as well.

My main point in posting this thread is that it's actually from the perspective of someone with a disability - these pieces are rare in general and the conversation around this topic has been dominating by able people using disability as talking points and arguments in trying to 'gotcha' the other side.
 
Oct 26, 2017
1,720
#18
Part of the trouble is that there is hardly ever a clear distinction between what an “equal” mode and easy mode is. A game is a set of rules and at the end of the day, you’ll just have to come to terms with the fact that the creators don’t want to budge on some of them. Buying a game doesn’t entitle you to seeing all of it.
 

impact

Banned
Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,897
Tampa
#19
User Banned (1 Month): Exclusionary and dismissive rhetoric surrounding the needs of the differently-abled; previous severe infractions for similar behavior
The only counter argument needed is the developer will make the game they want to make. That some people feel entitled to experience a games "rich lore and storytelling" is laughable.
 

jett

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
13,999
#20
These are the suggestions listed in the article:

  • Combat Speed (50-100%, sets game speed while enemies are aggro’d)
  • Resurrections (+1, or infinite)
  • Invisible While Sneaking
  • Infinite Posture
  • Invincible (while drinking gourd, or always)
Seems reasonable. Add accessibility options for those that need them.
Are these really accessibility options? Seems more like the average hacks you find in PC trainers and cheat engine tables. If you really want to play games like this, you can always go the PC route. But I don't think it's reasonable to expect some game designers to actually include stuff of this sort in their games.
 
Jun 13, 2018
205
#22
These are the suggestions listed in the article:



Are these really accessibility options? Seems more like the average hacks you find in PC trainers and cheat engine tables. If you really want to play games like this, you can always go the PC route. But I don't think it's reasonable to expect some game designers to actually include stuff of this sort in their games.
Completely agree, these are not accessibility options, they are difficulty options/cheats.

The issue of having these options is too many people who get stuck would just turn them on and then not appreciate how satisfying and well made the game is. I put my hand up and confess I would have probably done that myself in Sekiro and as a result would have not appreciated it for the finely crafted masterpiece that it is. So consider myself proof as to why a developer doesn't want to devalue the experience they believe in for their consumers.
 
Mar 16, 2019
125
#23
"I'm deaf so I need subtitles to read the dialogue and know what's going on."

"Pff. I'm sorry but the Director and voice actors had a VISION for what this diaoloue should sound like. Maybe you should go find another game."
 
Oct 25, 2017
13,010
#24
These are the suggestions listed in the article:



Are these really accessibility options? Seems more like the average hacks you find in PC trainers and cheat engine tables. If you really want to play games like this, you can always go the PC route. But I don't think it's reasonable to expect some game designers to actually include stuff of this sort in their games.
I wouldn't say so but many will say they are.

Considering From Software will probably go back to MP enabled with their next game, even if it is Sekiro 2, good luck ever seeing those kinds of cheats.

I don't see how it's controversial to suggest not every game ever released is going to have God mode, but here we are.

Prepare for a topic full of strawman argumentation, likes of that subtitles nonsense above.
 
Oct 25, 2017
25,595
#26
These are the suggestions listed in the article:



Are these really accessibility options? Seems more like the average hacks you find in PC trainers and cheat engine tables. If you really want to play games like this, you can always go the PC route. But I don't think it's reasonable to expect some game designers to actually include stuff of this sort in their games.
When I think accessibility options I tend to think of things like color blindness settings, turning off button mashing for those with grip or hand issues, button remapping, the ability to tweak and modify subtitles.

What the article seems to be asking for is something else entirely.
 
Feb 4, 2018
660
#27
My main point in posting this thread is that it's actually from the perspective of someone with a disability - these pieces are rare in general and the conversation around this topic has been dominating by able people using disability as talking points and arguments in trying to 'gotcha' the other side.
Absolutely, and it's why I've stayed away from threads about this. It's frustrating to see able-bodied people co-opting the conversation around accessibility. Glad Steve Spohn is talking about this and I totally agree with him.
 

Jawmuncher

Remember the Fallen
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
9,378
Ibis Island
#28
These are the suggestions listed in the article:



Are these really accessibility options? Seems more like the average hacks you find in PC trainers and cheat engine tables. If you really want to play games like this, you can always go the PC route. But I don't think it's reasonable to expect some game designers to actually include stuff of this sort in their games.
Those are definitely accessibility options. Too many warp accessibility to mean “subtitles & color-blind mode” and things of that nature. Someone who can’t use parry as quickly as ya might need a parry assist mode. Which to us is a easy mode but evens the game for them. Thankfully these are options on PC thanks to trainers.

But it is sad that such accessibility is only offered through third party means the majority of the time.

When I think accessibility options I tend to think of things like color blindness settings, turning off button mashing for those with grip or hand issues, button remapping, the ability to tweak and modify subtitles.

What the article seems to be asking for is something else entirely.
You can’t pick and choose what accessibility is. It’s different for whatever that person needs.
 
Jun 1, 2018
904
#29
Not many people that are against accessibility options such as large fonts and colorblind settings, theyre against the difficulty settings for games from this particular dev.

Words get twisted and people make stuff up, its depressing.
 

Ryo

Banned
Member
Oct 28, 2017
890
#30
User Banned (1 Week): Exclusionary and dismissive rhetoric surrounding the perspective of the differently-abled
Just stop, this game relies on pattern recognition and not making mistakes, people creating disabled strawmen to try and push changes are getting annoying.

It's no more physically strenuous than any other game based around melee combat.
 
Oct 30, 2017
754
#31
These are the suggestions listed in the article:



Are these really accessibility options? Seems more like the average hacks you find in PC trainers and cheat engine tables. If you really want to play games like this, you can always go the PC route. But I don't think it's reasonable to expect some game designers to actually include stuff of this sort in their games.
Yes they are 100% accessibility options. Accessibility goes beyond things like color blind mode and remapping buttons.
 
Oct 26, 2017
3,006
#32
Those are definitely accessibility options. Too many warp accessibility to mean “subtitles & color-blind mode” and things of that nature. Someone who can’t use parry as quickly as ya might need a parry assist mode. Which to us is a easy mode but evens the game for them. Thankfully these are options on PC thanks to trainers.

But it is sad that such accessibility is only offered through third party means the majority of the time.
One of the best features in UC4 is the auto aim setting. Without it my wife would've never even attempted to play the game. And I enjoyed it without that setting because I am proficient at Dual analog aiming.
It didn't tarnish my enjoyment of the game, and anyone that seriously feels their achievement besmirched by more people being able to play the game needs to get a fucking reality check.

Giving people the option to enjoy a game they otherwise wouldn't is more important than the pathetic obsession with artistic integrity and auteurs vision.
 
May 24, 2018
613
#33
Just stop, this game relies on pattern recognition and not making mistakes, people creating disabled strawmen to try and push changes are getting annoying.
It's absolutely wild to see someone come into a thread about an article written by a disabled man and start talking about "disabled strawmen."
 
Nov 1, 2017
358
#34
These are the suggestions listed in the article:



Are these really accessibility options? Seems more like the average hacks you find in PC trainers and cheat engine tables. If you really want to play games like this, you can always go the PC route. But I don't think it's reasonable to expect some game designers to actually include stuff of this sort in their games.
I would say yes, seeing as they come from someone who is both didabled and spent 15 years in this industry trying to make accessability for the disabled as wasy as possible.
 

Fitts

Banned
Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,163
#36
User Banned (1 Week): Disingenuous and dismissive attitude towards the perspective of people with disabilities
Again with conflating difficulty with accessibility. Nobody is arguing against accessibility options for those with disabilities. That doesn't mean core mechanics/design should be changed.

Also, "The entire notion of gamers with disabilities wanting to make a very difficult game extremely easy is what fired up so many people against accessibility" is disingenuous and manipulative. As is attempting to rebrand the difficulty conversation as advocating for "equal mode."
 
Oct 26, 2017
3,314
#37
These are the suggestions listed in the article:



Are these really accessibility options? Seems more like the average hacks you find in PC trainers and cheat engine tables. If you really want to play games like this, you can always go the PC route. But I don't think it's reasonable to expect some game designers to actually include stuff of this sort in their games.
These correspond almost exactly to the assist mode options in Celeste and were in fact suggested by its lead developer.
 
Oct 25, 2017
509
#38
Just stop, this game relies on pattern recognition and not making mistakes, people creating disabled strawmen to try and push changes are getting annoying.

It's no more physically strenuous than any other game based around melee combat.
Did you even read the article?
You're making yourself look foolish with this stupid drive-by...
 
OP
OP
doodlewhizz
Jan 9, 2019
497
#39
Just stop, this game relies on pattern recognition and not making mistakes, people creating disabled strawmen to try and push changes are getting annoying.

It's no more physically strenuous than any other game based around melee combat.
This article is written by someone with a disability...
 
Oct 26, 2017
1,489
#40
"Buy I cant control myself not using easy mode" simple, just make it a free dlc, you are going to need to download it so its more effort.
Or easier, a prompt at boot up "Sekiro offers accessibility options. Do you want to enable the option to toggle them in the options? Warning: This will be permanently written to your save game." and then write whatever the choice is to the save game, so you can't change it mid-game at a hard boss. People who want a more accessible or easier experience can just opt-in right away to get the option. People who feel like they want to/are able to play the game as intended without having the temptation of making it easier can opt-out.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,244
NYC
#41
Those are definitely accessibility options. Too many warp accessibility to mean “subtitles & color-blind mode” and things of that nature. Someone who can’t use parry as quickly as ya might need a parry assist mode. Which to us is a easy mode but evens the game for them. Thankfully these are options on PC thanks to trainers.

But it is sad that such accessibility is only offered through third party means the majority of the time.



You can’t pick and choose what accessibility is. It’s different for whatever that person needs.
I'm trying to work this through in my head, so please forgive me if it's a little rambling.

The things that I think of as "accessibility options"--and as someone that has to take advantage of most of them--are options that allow me to enjoy a medium in a way that's similar, if not exactly the same, as someone that does not need those options. A colorblind option just allows me to experience the game in the same way that someone that doesn't need to use the option. This also applies to subtitles and the QTE/grip thing (though this is more akin to the idea of similar as opposed to near identical).

Fundamentally altering game mechanics changes the conversation around a game. Would putting in an option to practically remove the vast expanses of nothingness in RDR2 for someone that has ADHD change RDR2 entirely? The immersive part of the world where a lot of nothing really happens is one of the things the game is lauded for. If I took advantage of that option for ADHD folks, would I be able to engage in the game in the way that the game was designed for, and if not, am I still playing the same game? Or am I playing a different version of the game entirely?

I fall on the side of more options, but I don't even know what those mean.
 
Oct 30, 2017
419
#42
People just need to stop incorrectly thinking that difficulty is an intrinsic property of a game itself. Difficulty is a relational property, in this case between a game and a person. This should be obvious, because everyone already knows that the same game on the same settings can be hard for one person and easy for another. A video game is a set of variables, which are used to produce challenges to overcome. The effort required to overcome such challenges is the measure of difficulty for a given person. So, when we talk about a game being difficult or easy, we are talking about the effort required to overcomes its challenges (which may include the effort to develop skills to do so). The value and meaning of playing a suitably difficult game comes from the effort, utilising our abilities to their fullest, improving them, learning about our own capabilities, enlarging our self-conception, and so on. The variables of the game matter to the extent that they can provide the sort of challenge that allows for this for a given person - not too easy so that it is trivial and not too hard so that it is overly onerous or impossible.

Asking for other modes is people with different abilities or disabilities asking to be treated in the same way, to be provided a challenge that will suit them (roughly since 'difficulty' and 'accessibility' settings are always broadly encompassing rather than tailored to individual needs). Understanding this should resolve many worries, assuming that they are sincere, because it shows that there is nothing special about the "difficulty" of the game or your effort in completing a game compared to someone else who had to try just as hard to complete the game on an easier mode.
 
Jun 21, 2018
1,245
#44
These are the suggestions listed in the article:



Are these really accessibility options? Seems more like the average hacks you find in PC trainers and cheat engine tables. If you really want to play games like this, you can always go the PC route. But I don't think it's reasonable to expect some game designers to actually include stuff of this sort in their games.
Yeah he mentions suggestions for assesibility that won’t go against the creator’s intent and then mentions infinite resurrections, infinite posture, and permanent invincibility. Those definitely would be against what Miyazaki envisioned
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,047
#45
More games should use adaptive difficulty. Rather than "compromising" the game's design with an Easy mode, just have the game adjust so that you're struggling, but succeeding.
 
Oct 25, 2017
562
#46
Or easier, a prompt at boot up "Sekiro offers accessibility options. Do you want to enable the option to toggle them in the options? Warning: This will be permanently written to your save game." and then write whatever the choice is to the save game, so you can't change it mid-game at a hard boss. People who want a more accessible or easier experience can just opt-in right away to get the option. People who feel like they want to/are able to play the game as intended without having the temptation of making it easier can opt-out.
Nah a prompt a lot of people will just mash it and complain like before...
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,373
#48
It's a nice option to have easier modes if the designer's intent is to include one. If not, that's also okay.

But I agree with the author that it should be a more common or standard practice to include robust accessibility options for those who need them. They should help people with disabilities be able to play at the designer's intended difficulty level, as people with disabilities don't necessarily want an easy mode that's "just for them". That's a loaded assumption in and of itself.
 
Feb 10, 2019
76
#49
I wish there was an easy mode so I can get my friend to play this game. He’s of the call of duty bred “gamers.” He likes being overly rewarded for just standing in the game, he won’t touch halo because it takes more than 5 minutes to learn. He likes the games that play like call of duty because he knows how to play games like call of duty, you know what type of gamer I’m talking about.

He’ll buy the new systems just to play the same exact games, disgusting I know. But I was showing him me play it and he’s blown away by the combat, says it’s like Assassins creed but better. Then I let him play it and he rage quits and is like yeah fuck this game. We gameshare too so he tried it on his own and didn’t like it because he couldn’t get pass the ogre, and I’m like, the game allows you to go other places and level yourself up so you can come BACK and defeat him (didn’t want to spoil the fun out of finding the flame thrower) and the fact that he gets his ass whooped by the regular npc’s (like we all did mind you) just makes him give up.

There’s a lot of gamers out there with short to zero attention spans like my friend, and dear lord do I feel sorry for those gamers that plopped $60 on this, they did NOT know what they were getting themselves into. Still think there should be an easy mode, it wouldn’t affect me since I NEVER play any game on easy, hell most of the time I don’t even start games on normal. I like a challenge, hence why I like halo (beat every campaign on legendary, even halo 2’s... the sniper jackals still haunt me to this day) and find call of duty fun for a few minutes until I’m like ok I’m murdering everyone super easily this is not fun for me.
 
OP
OP
doodlewhizz
Jan 9, 2019
497
#50
So? Is he the spokesperson for disabled people or something?

What about this guy who doesn't think it's needed?

Ok, cool.

The user I quoted referred to the article as "creating a disabled strawman". The fact that the guy who wrote this has a disability negates the strawman argument entirely and is what my reply refers to.