Dylan Sprouse among many gamers mad at Kotaku for dissing 'easy mode' on Final Fantasy VII Remake

Author Mike Fahey's use of the term "button-mashing bullsh*t" to describe the easy mode of the game didn't sit well with many

                            Dylan Sprouse among many gamers mad at Kotaku for dissing 'easy mode' on Final Fantasy VII Remake
Dylan Sprouse (Getty Images)

Easy modes in video games are not to be made fun of. That’s a valuable lesson the video game news site Kotaku learned on Friday, April 10, when it published a story about the ‘Final Fantasy VII’ Remake. The article titled ‘The Difference Between Final Fantasy VII's Easy And Normal Modes Is Too Drastic’, written by Mike Fahey, made a few observations:

“Combat in Final Fantasy VII Remake, especially when facing powerful boss battles, involves juggling normal and special attacks, destructive and healing magics, and strategically exploiting enemy weaknesses. Unless you’re playing in easy mode. Then it’s just button-mashing bullsh*t.”

In retrospect, the author would realize that using the term "button-mashing bullsh*t" was his undoing. At the time of writing this, ‘Kotaku’ was trending on Twitter with more than 25,000 tweets about it -- about this piece in particular. A Twitter user made their contempt for the piece amply clear with the following: “Easy is easy? Hard is hard? What else bullsh*t do you have to say, Kotaku? What else can that shitty brain provide other than worthless articles such as this one?”

Gamer and YouTuber Seán William McLoughlin, more popularly known as Jacksepticeye, wrote on Twitter, “Having an easy mode like this allows so many more people with accessibility issues to play the game. Calling it ‘button mashing bullsh*t’ is ridiculous.”

Even actor Dylan Sprouse of ‘The Suite Life of Zack & Cody’ fame couldn’t help but take a dig at the website. He wrote, “In a compelling example of journalism excellence: “Final Fantasy VII Remake’s water mode is way too wet”

Several users also pointed out that in the past, Kotaku pieces have advocated easy modes. For example, in 2019, Joshua Rivera wrote for the website an essay titled ‘An Easy Mode Has Never Ruined A Game’. Rivera wrote, “In video games, easy is a dirty word, even when it shouldn’t be. There’s something about the word ‘easy’ that rubs some players as condescending, something that we should maybe leave behind—except where we shouldn’t.”

The question, however, remains, was Fahey’s observation all that terrible? The piece’s penultimate paragraph provides an answer. Fahey writes, “I am the last person to shy away from playing a game on easy, but Final Fantasy VII Remake’s easy mode is a joke. And it’s not even the game’s easiest setting. Classic mode is easy mode, only your character attacks and defends automatically. It might as well be a visual novel.”

Even though he did not make the most compelling case in his short piece, Fahey’s report was very specific to one game and his experience of it on different difficulty settings. Also, it would be highly disingenuous to claim that Kotaku (as a whole) was being condescending about easy modes, to begin with. 

The outrage, then perhaps, can be attributed to the clickbait headline it shared on Twitter: “Final Fantasy VII Remake's easy mode is way too easy.”

Outraging over headlines without reading articles is not a new problem. In 2016, the Washington Post reported a study conducted by computer scientists at Columbia University and the French National Institute that found 59 percent of links shared on social media have never actually been clicked. In other words, people hardly read what they share. 

And as disturbing as that may sound, it is the only natural explanation why many people outraged over an inconsequential report on Kotaku. That, or they really just hate the website as it is. 

Till then, if anyone has any notions about easy modes being bad, it’s always a good time to revisit Noelle Warner’s piece on Nerdist: ‘An Ode to Gaming in Easy Mode’.

Disclaimer : The views expressed in this article belong to the writer and are not necessarily shared by MEAWW.