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Planet in Distress developers explain the game's difficulty dichotomy

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Planet in Distress, an upcoming PlayStation Network platformer, offers two very different experiences depending on the difficulty level, according to its developers at Stockholm-based indie studio Might and Delight.

Writing on the PlayStation Blog, studio co-founder and creative director Jakob Tuchten talked about the video game medium and the interplay between mechanics, art, sound, and story it offers. The developers decided to focus on the adventure itself in Planet in Distress, which is also known as Pid.

"The sensation of being on a journey, or an adventure, inspired many of our decisions," said Tuchten. To that end, Might and Delight crafted precise platforming mechanics and supported them with an audiovisual presentation that varies based on "the moods [that the studio] wanted to convey," according to Tuchten.

Planet in Distress is a side-scrolling platformer, so its developers drew upon retro games. Platformers have a long legacy of being challenging, but because the game was about taking players on an adventure more than anything else, its developers decided to give players infinite lives. However, two members of the team at Might and Delight wanted to see how far they could go in the direction of challenge, which led to Planet in Distress' Hard Mode. The levels become completely different on the higher difficulty setting, as you can see in the trailer below.

The game's two difficulty settings are designed to offer divergent experiences, each with its own "unique ambition, feeling, and balance," said Tuchten. "Understanding what balance a game is trying to achieve is the key to appreciating it."

Might and Delight has not yet announced a release date for Planet in Distress, although the game's website says it will be released this year.

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