Helldivers 2 director weighs in on Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree's difficulty: 'A game for everyone is a game for no one'

Elden Ring's early boss, the Divine Beast Dancing Lion, in his ancient and strange boss room
(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Despite its critical success, most of the discourse surrounding Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree involves how difficult the game is, with many players bogged down by brutal boss fights and an unforgiving environment. It got so bad that the DLC is currently at Mixed reviews on Steam as many players agree it's too hard to be enjoyable, but even still, there are some fans who think the high skill ceiling is a great feature and one that makes FromSoft games stand out. 

One such person is Helldivers 2 director Johan Pilestedt, who recently began replying to Shadow of the Erdtree players, discussing its difficulty and talking about why he actually likes it. "The games industry is now big enough for there to be so many exciting experiences for all audiences," Pilestedt says. "I try to imagine having this variety when I was 10... It would have been mind-blowing!"

While it's true that Elden Ring's DLC, like many FromSoft games, may not be for everyone, that doesn't mean it needs to be changed. It takes a very specific kind of person to actually enjoy fighting FromSoft bosses, otherwise known as bashing your head against a brick wall, but to the players who do like it, the sense of accomplishment after managing to best whoever you're up against is second to none. 

"A game for everyone is a game for no one," Pilestedt says. "Always cater to a select audience." The first bit of this quote is like a kind of motto for Arrowhead. If you head over to the Helldivers 2 website, then you'll be greeted by the same words in big, bold lettering. 

Both Helldivers 2 and FromSoft games are exceptionally popular despite their niche appearances. Helldivers 2 may not be anywhere near as hard as Elden Ring or other Dark Souls games, but its long-running galactic war is pretty complex and may not be for everyone, Helldivers 2 players have even argued over whether you should play the shooter casually or stick to the meta

There's no one superior way to play or experience either game, though, and as Pilestedt points out, "Good game design is evoking emotion more than anything. Helldivers 2 aims to evoke different emotions—edge-of-the-seat gameplay that turns into epic wins or fails. Shared laughter or collective 'fuck yeah'." The same is also effectively true for Elden Ring and its DLC. The most recent patch has buffed players slightly, but if that isn't enough, then you can also choose from tons of mods that will make you stronger. The latter may not be an official way to play, but it does mean that suffering is optional.  


Erdtree map fragments: Uncover the Land of Shadow
Scadutree fragments: How to level up in Erdtree
Erdtree bosses: A full hit list for the DLC
Leda quest: Track the Erdtree main quest
Sir Ansbach quest: Help the former servant of Mohg
Hornsent quest: Complete the quest for vengeance

Elie Gould
News Writer

Elie is a news writer with an unhealthy love of horror games—even though their greatest fear is being chased. When they're not screaming or hiding, there's a good chance you'll find them testing their metal in metroidvanias or just admiring their Pokemon TCG collection. Elie has previously worked at TechRadar Gaming as a staff writer and studied at JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs about Smash Bros. or any indie game that crossed their path.