Games are getting easier and getting easier. Developers are putting in various modes and reducing the difficulty curve. Well, not everybody.
Tokyo-based Nigoro is working on WiiWare title La Mulana. It's an Indiana Jones-type platformer in which players explore 18 areas of the free-roaming environment. The vibe is retro, and the game's designers are trying to make a game that would not be out of place on, say, the MSX.
The video demo I saw looked hard — hard in a Quest of Ki sort of way. But are there plans to put in an Easy Mode? Surely there are! Even Capcom has one for Mega Man...
"No," says La Mulana designer Takumi Naramura. The game's mechanic is that it is hard. "We made the game difficult so players can die."
According to Naramura, it should take gamers somewhere between 20 to 30 hours to finish La Mulana. Much of that seems like it will be dying. Over and over again.
But this is just a devilishly hard title. "There are clue and hints players can read so that they know which way to go," Naramura adds.
La Mulana is based on a web game Naramura made ten years ago in his freetime. That game took some player half a year to finish. But he is bullish about making challenging games — something that is very much part of gaming's history and something that gamers have enjoyed in the past. "Times might have changed," he says. "But people haven't."
La Mulana is slated for WiiWare later this year in North America and Europe.