Volition Reflects On Red Faction: Guerrilla And The Casual Difficulty Effect


Posted July 15, 2009 - By pklepek

Volition Reflects On Red Faction: Guerrilla And The Casual Difficulty Effect

I've read more than one report about gamers ratcheting back the difficulty level in Red Faction: Guerrilla in order to lessen frustration with the game's combat and let them focus on playing with the game's organic destructability. Red Faction: Guerrilla calls its easiest difficulty "casual," and the number of gamers making the switch to playing Red Faction:Guerrilla on casual is on the rise -- it's currently at 40%, according to Volition.

"We do track daily averages for the difficulty levels," explained Volition producer Rick White over e-mail. "They went from around 30% Casual at street to now around 40% Casual. There has been a very slow ramp in Casual usage – and we attribute that also to the game moving from the hard core early adopters to a more mass audience game. So that’s really good news for RFG [Red Faction: Guerrilla] players, that it can be fun for the hard core shooter audience, as well as the more mass audience that just wants to blow &%*( up."

When's the last time you seriously considered playing a game on the easy difficulty? It's semantics, but there's a difference between labeling something "easy" and "casual." The former could imply the player is somehow a lesser gamer, whereas casual has become a more accepted term, with the rise of iPhone, web games, DS and Wii.

I recently admitted to having no problem with Overlord: Dark Legend providing almost zero challenge; in fact, it's actually been a refreshing change of pace. I've simply enjoyed the mechanics and been approaching the game differently, as a result. The way some people have been altering the difficulty settings for their time with Red Faction: Guerrilla has given me a similar vibe. White agreed.

"I feel that I am an advanced player, but only have time to play games for a few hours a week," admitted White. "This means I want to get into a game and have instant gratification, and not struggle with trying to figure out what the designer was thinking or struggling with complex UI. So 'casual' is less about being 'easy' vs. accessibility and limited time to dedicate to any given game."

Volition Reflects On Red Faction: Guerrilla And The Casual Difficulty Effect

White hinted at some more complicated design challenges, too. In order to design an entertaining game, the development team should enjoy what they're creating, right?

"Red Faction: Guerrilla definitely has the history and heart of a tough action shooter game," he said. "However, by making it open world, it really makes the game interesting to the more mass audience as well. We needed to keep the challenge there for the more hard core players (and our designers ;-), but also wanted to make it more accessible for all players interested in different genres of games."

The lessons learned from the different ways gamers are approaching Red Faction: Guerrilla will be incorporate into "future products," said White.

How many TheFeed readers experienced Red Faction: Guerrilla on casual? Did any of you start on one difficulty and switch to another? Share your experiences!

Volition Reflects On Red Faction: Guerrilla And The Casual Difficulty Effect


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