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EA - "Games Are Too Hard"

EA believes that their games are too hard for the general public.

February 5th, at the D.I.C.E. Summit in Los Vegas, Electronic Arts Chief Creative Officer Richard Hilleman decided to address a very serious issue popping up lately: video games are too hard.

"Our games are actually still too hard to learn," Hilleman began. "The average player probably spends two hours to learn how to play the most basic game."

"And asking for two hours of somebody's time--most of our customers, between their normal family lives...to find two contiguous hours to concentrate on learning how to play a video game is a big ask," he added.

Looking at recent history, it's particularly easy to notice the trend of video games getting harder. Take the jump from Morrowind to Skyrim for example--even though they weren't made by EA. Morrowind's advanced combat algorithms, complete magic customization, multi-layered story, linear character journal, and realistic fast travel were so much easier than Skyrim's real-time combat, streamlined magic, uni-layered stories, convenient quest logs with waypoints, and map-enabled fast travel. Riiiiight.

"Our games are actually still too hard to learn."
-EA

Published by EA--but developed by BioWare--the Dragon Age franchise has also seen a dramatic increase in difficulty and complexity since their Origins.

This is obviously the best decision the Chief Creative Officer could have ever made. It's what the player's want! They want easier gameplay.

Wait a minute...

EA..... No, bad boy. Go to your room.

Video games have been getting easier over the years, in case you've missed the memo. Don't believe me? Go pick up a copy of Dragon Age: Origins and try playing it with Dragon Age: Inquisition fresh on your mind. If you're a fan of the series, you may be able to bear through it, but the game is significantly less forgiving in numerous ways.

Why are non-gamers producing products for gamers?

The problem isn't in how hard your games are, EA. It's with how you are presenting the controls to the player, and how masterfully you can create a learning curve. If you feel like your games are too hard, you are either screwing up your learning curve, or you were never gamers to begin with.

Why are non-gamers producing products for gamers? Why do they think they can appeal positively to the gamer population this way? Why, EA, why?

Published Feb. 7th 2015
  • Auverin Morrow
    Commissioning Editor
    I wish I could explain to the EA execs that I would kill to have Morrowind's advanced gameplay with Skyrim's graphics. They might be pulling more people in by making games easier, but they're cheating those of us who are devoted to these games and can dedicate the time and who want to have more complex games, because more harder games are so much more satisfying to beat. That's why Dark Souls is so successful - it's a challenge.
  • StayNoLonger
    Featured Contributor
    EA should tell that to Elite Dangerous, you need a diploma just to fly around, still haven't got the basics down in that game. But that is what adds to it, there is a sense of achievement that you get from being able learn how the ship works.
  • Si_W
    In fairness, unless you are someone who has lots of time to play games then you may want an easier experience due to the lack of time available to play.

    As an example, knowing how long Dragon Age: Inquisition is (and I'm already over 70 hours but played it since day 1) I chose to play it on the easiest setting. With this game, it is the experience I'm after rather than the challenge.

    Nothing wrong with that in the slightest...
  • The Slow Gamer
    Contributor
    The notion that there's a gamer population, or a single want of gamers, is absurd.

    Some people want a challenging game that requires hours to master, because the feeling of accomplishment you get from that is awesome. Some people want a game they can pick up and play with minimal learning curve, because that instant blast of fun is awesome. Neither choice is better or worse than the other, and neither choice is more "gamer" than the other.
  • Elijah Beahm
    Featured Columnist
    This is part of the reason why I just can't stand some games that are built purely for spectacle, not to be actual games but instead just "easy" experiences constructed to ooh and ahh someone who can't get themselves to work through games requiring challenge.

    Even some of the simpler games like the recent LEGO platformers at least add new mechanics and ideas while still being accessible. To suggest we need to make our games simpler than that is silly, whilst what we should really be talking about better tutorials and our approach to depth in design.

    Rock solid article Autumn!
  • Stan Rezaee
    Featured Contributor
    The statement made me laugh, having terrible controls doesn't make a game hard just annoying. Games have been getting easier just to appeal to lazy casual gamers who are too stupid to overcome a real challenge.

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