Elden Ring is Designed to Reduce Player Stress

The game's producer Yasuhiro Kitao explained how elements of the game had been tweaked to reduce player stress and revealed how long it takes to finish the game.

FromSoftware's producer Yasuhiro Kitao explained how elements of Elden Ring had been adjusted to reduce player stress, making the game difficult in some aspects and easier – in others.

"With the game's world being so large, that can produce real depth and breadth of enjoyment, but it can also lead to unnecessary stress for some players," explained Kitao. "The dev team has been very careful to avoid that where possible."

Seems like, while the game bosses will be tough, it will be easier to reach them – whether after death due to the game's respawn system, or by mounting a horse.

"Horses provide a stress-free method of traveling across the long distances the player needs to travel in the game," explained Kitao. He continued that your horse's ability to travel up air currents was also a part of that thinking: "That system was introduced as a means of quickly and enjoyably moving vertically upward in order to explore those higher areas," said Kitao.

The producer also explained that fast travel to locations you've visited is meant to lessen the players' stress and offer freedom of movement. It allows avoiding areas the player might not be ready for and coming back after leveling up the character.

Kitao also said it was a great challenge to balance the number of encounters on the map: "The challenge was to place enemies in a way that would keep players interested, but still provide them with a low-stress experience. This applies to item distribution too, as well as in-game events. Fine-tuning these placements and timings has been ongoing until the very end."

Another way of reducing player stress was to reject the idea of most enemies moving depending on the time of day. "Changing enemies for all times of day would create a kind of pressure on users to play the game at various different times," explained Kitao. "We felt this was a stress our users could do without."

An important change is how the game deals with checkpoints in especially difficult areas. The players collect experience – now called 'runes' instead of 'souls' – that are dropped when they die but can be picked up again. However, respawning can now be a bit different:

"With the map being so vast, [traveling back to collect runes] can become an unwanted stress for the player," said Kitao. "With that in mind, we have identified a number of difficult spots, places with lots of enemies or powerful foes, as points at which many players will die and need to re-attempt that challenge. The player is able to select the option of respawning very near the spot of their death for these locations. This kind of measure is another example of the team's efforts to implement systems to mitigate player stress caused by the sheer magnitude of the game map."

The game that has recently gone gold, can be finished in 30 hours, however, with dozens of hours worth of extra content, it can preoccupy players for a long time.

Elden Ring, which is being created in collaboration between the Souls series creator Hidetaka Miyazaki and A Song of Ice and Fire writer George R. R. Martin, is scheduled to be released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S on February 25, 2022.  

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