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Spelunky Creator Thinks Hardcore Games Shouldn't Have God Mode

Overcoming challenges isn't as satisfying with it.


The issue of game difficulty is always a hot one, with players constantly trying to compete at who's more hardcore and scoffing at features disabling parts of the game they deem necessary for the full experience. But god modes are still a thing, whether built-in or enabled through cheats, whatever opinion you might have about it. It's interesting, however, to find out what developers themselves think about this.

Spelunky's creator Derek Yu shared that he is against including god mode in hardcore games that "push players out of their comfort zone." Yu references a discussion mentioning that people choose this option when they are stuck, but it shouldn't be too obvious in a game so it doesn't tempt anyone. He believes trying again is better than succumbing to god mode:

"And I can't count the number of times I've felt "truly stuck" only to get some sleep or try a new tactic... the amount of satisfaction one gets from succeeding eventually is incredible. I agree with OP that you can rob people of that experience if a shortcut is too close at hand."

However, he admits that not every game is designed to be Soulslike, and players might actually simply quit if they face unbearable challenges, so "god mode is fine for most games, but not including it is a designer's tool as much as including it."


God mode is tempting, but so is quitting because you just can't play anymore. Aside from a lack of enjoyment from failing over and over, there are also accessibility concerns modern developers have to think of. It's great if you can handle everything a game throws your way, but not everyone has such a luxury, unfortunately.

The difficulty of Elden Ring's DLC, Shadow of the Erdtree, turned off many players from it, but Hidetaka Miyazaki thinks turning it down "would strip the game of that joy – which, in my eyes, would break the game itself."

In contrast, the upcoming Dragon Age: The Veilguard will let you disable death altogether, which has also upset some fans.

I believe there should always be options for those who don't want to or can't appreciate the torture of dying again and again in games. If you dislike it, simply don't enable them, it would not take anything away from your experience.

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