During a live stream event with Joystiq, writer for Child of Light, Jeffrey Yohalem, spoke about a future patch that would modify the difficulty terms at the start of the game from Normal/Hard to Casual/Expert.
“This has been an issue, obviously, that some people have had, and I think that the word ‘normal’ is a misrepresentation …. Or, rather, implying that there’s one way to play that’s normal is, I think, too strong… Casual is for people that want to experience the world and experience the adventure without having hard combat, and then expert is for people who love RPGs and who want to really have a challenge.”
Personally, when thinking about this change of terminology, I can’t help but think as a long time, hardcore gamer (and RPG fanatic), that I would be more inclined to pick the expert difficulty. Out of the two choices, I would not consider my experience level as “Casual” and in turn, would feel my choice had been made for me, simply because I’m an experienced gamer. But that makes me wonder how it would have affected the way I feel about the game. Currently I’ve been playing through the game with little challenge from enemies on “Normal”. I just reached chapter 6 and have only had one or two battles where my party member’s health dipped into the red. I suppose I haven’t felt overly challenged in battles, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. I still choose attacks that creatures are weak to. I still employ the slowing mechanic with Igniculus. Even though I believe I could handle the Hard difficulty (or soon to be Expert), I’m concerned how it will alter the relaxed mood the game achieves so well. Currently I’ve really been enjoying the game in a more relaxed difficulty. Read my impressions article about the Child of Light Demo.
Trying To Clarify
Maybe the change in terminology for difficulty should be something more akin to Relaxed/Challenging. This doesn’t put any undue pressure on the player to choose based on their skill level. Rather, it implies how you would like to experience the game….on a relaxed mode, or a challenging one.
I can agree that normal/hard are misrepresentative terms for the difficulty. I just worry that changing the names to Casual/Expert may cause some core gamers to choose “Expert” with their gut, and in the process inadvertently lose the relaxed gameplay on offer. In my opinion that would be a huge disservice to this game.