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To attract more players, Horizon Zero Dawn adds easier 'story' mode

In a win for general accessibility, Guerrilla Games has patched in a new game mode that drives down Horizon Zero Dawn's difficulty.

Bryant Francis

August 21, 2017

1 Min Read

Did you enjoy the story of Horizon Zero Dawn? Did you feel that the game’s combat made it hard to experience that story without dying over and over again? If you did, it seems you’re not alone, as Guerrilla Games has announced a new ‘story’ difficulty mode that directly addresses that problem. 

Games like Mass Effect to The Witcher 3 embraced these easy difficulties in recent years, but seeing it patched in to Horizon Zero Dawn is notable because it seems to be a direct bid to attract new players to the game.

According to a post on the PlayStation blog by community manager Jeroen Roding, “it is our hope that the new difficulty setting will help us welcome more players into Aloy’s quest to discover her identity and the mysteries of the world she inhabits.”

Roding notes that this difficulty mode drives down the damage inflicted on the player by the game’s robotic monsters and increases the amount of damage the player inflicts in return. If you’re studying how difficulty levels may affect your player experience, it’s notable to see a developer make straight changes to the damage numbers to reduce combat intensity. 

And if you’re looking for more ideas to expand accessibility in your story-driven game, we discussed some solutions a couple months ago on the Gamasutra Twitch channel. 

About the Author(s)

Bryant Francis

Senior Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Bryant Francis is a writer, journalist, and narrative designer based in Boston, MA. He currently writes for Game Developer, a leading B2B publication for the video game industry. His credits include Proxy Studios' upcoming 4X strategy game Zephon and Amplitude Studio's 2017 game Endless Space 2.

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