Celeste Features a Really Cool, Deliberate Design Choice Regarding Difficulty

Celeste Features a Really Cool, Deliberate Design Choice Regarding Difficulty

It's all about pacing.

Celeste is one of the early frontrunners for best games of 2018 (early I know but our review says otherwise). The indie platformer is kind of like a mix of Pixel games like Cave Story and Kero Blaster with high-difficulty platformers like Super Meat Boy. But Designers at Matt Makes Games made a very conscious decision of fine-tuning difficulty for sake of the game's overall pacing as director Matt Thorson revealed in a reddit AMA about the difficulty grading throughout the game.

When asked by user "junkmail 22" whether the decision to make the visually complicated levels play easier than some of the more simpler looking levels was intentional, Thorson replied in the affirmative.

"This was deliberate - if a room is very hard to execute, I tend to make it easer to figure out and vice versa, otherwise it can start to feel impossible for a lot of people." This was because, as Thorson says, of the flow of the game. "Pacing is very important in the main story of Celeste because the feeling of the platforming has to mirror the narrative."

Thorson also cites the different kinds of challenges in Celeste that affect pacing, and should be taken into account while designing the game. Whether the difficulty is a result of a hard puzzle, a large area, or a portion that requires precise platforming.

While Celeste is certainly difficult, it's also very accessible. The game features a comprehensive Assist Mode which can be fine-tuned to best help you beat the game, without making it feel condescending or too easy. The assist mode is literally just that, an assist.

Either way, it's clear that the developers of Celeste poured a lot of attention into the difficulty of the game to make sure that the challenges, while great are ultimately surmountable. Which is just a testament to good game design really.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

Read this next

New Celeste DLC Includes an Affecting Revelation About Madeline That Casts Her Story in a New Light

Madeline's battle with depression and anxiety take on a new meaning in Farewell DLC.

Celeste's Final Free Chapter Is A Brutal, But Fond Farewell

Celeste gets a beefy new chapter for its last update that's just as intense in difficulty as The Core.

Starting Screen | Why I Ignored the Dreamcast 20 Years Ago

I was a teenage Debby Dreamcast Downer.

Exclusive: Listen to a New Track From Celeste's Farewell OST

Composer Lena Raine returns for the follow-up to the 2018 Celeste soundtrack.

God of War Wins Another GOTY at 2019 Game Developers Choice Awards

The developers have spoken and Sony Santa Monica's God of War is their winner.

How Celeste Was Designed With Speedrunning in Mind

The sound designer behind Celeste tells us how the team approached building internal speedrunning tools.

More News

Crusader Kings 3 is Happening, And It Has Some Much-Requested Features

The fan favorite strategy series from Paradox is back in a big way.

Humble Monthly Is Getting a Name Change and a Higher Price Point

Humble Monthly will soon be no more, with Humble Choice taking its place.

Final Fantasy 14's Nier: Automata Raid Gets a Release Date and a Ton of New Details

Final Fantasy 14 continues to consume all things Square Enix.

More on PlayStation 4

Final Fantasy 14's Nier: Automata Raid Gets a Release Date and a Ton of New Details

Final Fantasy 14 continues to consume all things Square Enix.

Blizzard's Very Bad October Just Keeps Getting Worse

THIS WEEK IN BUSINESS | Blizzard's ban on Hearthstone player Blitzchung catches the ire of Republicans and Democrats alike.

Baldur's Gate's Complex Interface Translates Surprisingly Well to Switch

Beamdog's Infinity Engine collections find great ways to bring those games to consoles.

Return of the Obra Dinn's Creator Reminisces on Getting Its Iconic Style Just Right

"After working on non-graphical stuff for so long, I took a moment to reflect on what I had with the visuals. It wasn’t great."

How a Rookie Speedrunner Revitalized Dragon Age: Inquisition by Beating It in Under 30 Minutes

One discovery changed the run entirely, and revitalized the scene along with it.

7 Horror Games That'll Scare You Without Breaking the Bank This Halloween

You won't find anything in the $40 to $60 range on this Halloween horror list.

More Platformer Games

Okami Sequel Teased By Noted Twitter Troll Hideki Kamiya

I mean, it'd be nice if it were true.

The Good Version of Sonic the Hedgehog Is Coming to Super Monkey Ball

The HD remake of Super Monkey Ball's Wii installment is getting a classic, blue-quilled bonus.

Check Out Sega's Surprise Remix of a Classic Sonic Adventure Tune

Maybe don't get your hopes too high that this means anything, though.

"How Big Is This Going to Get?“: The Future of Killer Queen And Its Console Counterpart

Talking with developers and a few members of Killer Queen's dedicated New York arcade scene about the new multiplayer spin-off.