Inevitably, much of the discussion around Dark Souls 2 is going to focus on its difficulty. It's not because Dark Souls was "hard". It was, sure, but it was hard in an interesting way - punishing mistakes and lapses of attention, rather than grinding you down in a battle of attrition. So naturally, people want to know if Dark Souls 2 can pull of that same delicate balance. According to the series' new director Yui Tanimura, that's exactly what he's focused on doing.
"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," Tanimura told GameInformer , "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."
For Tanimura, that means honing right down to the placement and parameters of enemies to create a challenge that feels satisfying to overcome. "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."
Tanimura also clarified his comments on the game's accessibility. "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."
Dark Souls 2 is due to be released March 2014.