Soulsbourne : Hard, but fair.

I took a look at this weeks readings. Conscious game design. I thought why, FromSoft’s Souls titles (including Bloodbourne) fit perfectly within this topic! I’ve been playing Souls games since the inception in 2011. Most new players really don’t understand the design philosophy of these games. “Oh, Dark Souls is so hard and unfair! It made me rage quit. I never picked up the game again.” I too wanted to quit when I first picked the game up. It’s true that FromSoft titles make even the most experienced players angry. While these games seem punishing at first, players have yet to understand that at the core of Soulsbourne games is fairness. These games were built with the intention that the player learn from mistakes and find patterns in the game play. This was a conscious choice made by FromSoft. If players would just take the time to slow down and understand the mechanics of the game and the predictable patterns of the enemies in each area, they will be greatly rewarded. The reward is the feeling of satisfaction after overcoming a tough obstacle. The developers want players to relish the feeling of satisfaction. They make the game tough but fair so players can slowly improve. Put in the work and be rewarded for the effort. It may suck dying in the same area to the same enemies, but with this design philosophy in mind the player must make the connection and teach themselves better habits to overcome obstacles. Belman and Flanagan state in their paper, Exploring the Creative Potential of Values Conscious Design: “Certainly, games can make a powerful statement by reframing conflict in a way that doesn’t affirm violence as a value in and of itself (57–67).” I believe this is certainly true of Soulsbourne titles. These games are not meant to tear the player down, but build them. It’s all about finding that perfect balance between difficulty and fairness which these games do. They make a powerful statement by doing so. When I’m just messing around in Dark Souls 3 I like to do duplication glitches. I uploaded a clip on this assignment. I tried to show the difficulties of a new player to a Soulsbourne game.


PowerPyx April 15, 2016


John Wolfe Jan 20 2021

Works Cited

Belman and Flanagan. “Exploring the Creative Potential of Values Conscious Design: Students’ Experiences with the Values at Play Curriculum”. Journal for Computer Game Culture, Vol.4, №1. Published 2010. Accessed March 2 2021.