Cliff Bleszinski is best known as the Design Director at Epic Games and has been with the company for over 10 years. Bleszinski’s rise to fan-favorite developer started with his work on the Unreal series and in recent years the Gears of War franchise, the latter of which is about the see its third entry Gears of War 3 released later this fall.
Gears of War 3 recently held a multiplayer beta to help tighten up the online experience in anticipation of the game’s release in a few months. The data gathered should help improve the gameplay experience for players when they finally rejoin the fight against the Locust and the Lambent.
Perhaps inspired by the way data collection helps improve games through a beta, Bleszinski recently tweeted about a concept called dynamic difficulty and why its something that he thinks would be interesting to try out.
“Games should detect if you haven’t played for a bit and then soften the difficulty a smidge upon return. Then ramp it back up slightly. Most games assume you’re resuming moments later when your skills might not be as ‘warm.’ I’ve fired up a few games that I’m late in after not playing for a while and gotten creamed.”
Bleszinki, then realizing what fans were likely to start thinking, decided to clear things up before rumors started to spread like wildfire.
“And no we don’t have this in [Gears of War 3]. But I want to experiment with it in the future.”
The real question is: how would a system like this be implemented? It’s obvious that the game should loosen the difficulty up a bit when gamers are inactive for a longer period of time, but conversely does this mean that the difficulty should get even harder when they play the game for more extended periods of time?
Second, by implementing this kind of system, would the game therefore become too easy for the casual gamer who returns once every week to play the title for just over an hour? Certainly there are casual gamers out there who will find that the game is too easy, without realizing that its because their personal difficulty is being adjusted – as a result of their lack of playtime.
While an interesting concept, it certainly sounds like something that would need to be tightly tweaked in practice, and perhaps turned off for Hard modes of the game – so that it doesn’t make the actual achievement of completing a game on its hardest difficulty trivial. Perhaps its better if gamers have a reason to stick with one game for a shorter period of time, rather than breaking it up over year. After all, you wouldn’t watch a movie over a month would you?
Would you be interested in a dynamic difficulty in your games, or are you happy with the current easy, normal, hard structure that most games employ?
Gears of War 3 is due for release, without dynamic difficulty, on September 20, 2011 exclusively for the Xbox 360.
Source: Industry Gamers