With Death Stranding only two months away from an official release, director Hideo Kojima has announced that the game will include a Very Easy Mode designed for users who may not be familiar with games but may still wish to enjoy the story.
Unlike most video games, Death Stranding features the heavy use of actors Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen, and Léa Seydoux, all known for their work in film and television. As the story appears to be complex and mysterious, the mode will allow all players to experience the tale as it unfolds. During the development of the game, Kojima has played down the possibility of the game having multiple endings, and this announcement further cements that to be the case.
Normally there’s only Easy Mode, but we added Very Easy Mode for movie fans since we have real actors like Norman, Mads, Lea starred in. Even Yano-san who never completed the 1st stage of PAC-MAN, was able to complete the game on Very Easy Mode 👍🌈🦀😅 https://t.co/fMZmuZltZw— HIDEO_KOJIMA (@HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN) September 6, 2019
Multiple endings in video games are often earned based on the decisions made by the player, either as a consequence for some action or reward for putting in extra effort, often in an effort to get the “best” ending among many.
With the inclusion of this Very Easy Mode specifically in place to allow everyone a chance to experience the story, gating ending based on performance or completion of certain optional tasks seems almost impossible to do. However, harder difficulties could include hidden files and easter eggs within the story that reveal more of the mysterious world. Like with many previous Kojima-made games, we are not likely to receive a full, satisfactory explanation of what exactly is happening in the game. Rather, we are likely to uncover more and more questions, but in a way that always feels satisfying for those familiar with his other work.
The decision to make a Very Easy Mode is similar to what has been done in other videos games already. The move maximizes the number of consumers that can experience the content of a game, which in turn helps keep content relevant and to drive sales with a wide audience. In World of Warcraft, this came in the form of the Raid Finder with patch 4.3.0 in November of 2011.
Players who might otherwise not have the skill and gear requirements to complete the content normally could be placed within a group of individuals to experience the content with simplified mechanics, weaker bosses, and an ever-persisting buff that empowers the group upon a wipe, ensuring that eventually, sheer force will allow them to progress. Since then, the feature has allowed for virtually all players to experience content that at one point was gated to only the most dedicated of players.
While this strategy can appeal to all kinds of consumers, particularly more casual and busy people, other games lean hard in the opposite direction by making their content difficult. The entire Dark Souls series, Bloodborne, and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice are examples of games that are popularized through the extreme brutality cast on a player. Both types of games have their place in a market, and appeal to different audiences.