I believe that adding difficulty options does affect the game for other players, though. As someone pointed out, Miyazaki wants the player to enjoy the feeling of overcoming something difficult. There is much less enjoyment to be had when an easier alternative exists. Many people that beat Sekiro would have probably lowered the difficulty if the option presented itself. But because the option wasn't there, those people persisted, and the sense of accomplishment was the pay-off.
Let's say every action RPG is updated to include an option to make the player invulnerable to damage. Your opinion is that it doesn't change the experience as it's an extra option that you don't need to use. But I can attest that it would bother me. The ability to trivialize every situation in a game could be tempting if a difficult or tedious encounter is met. And I don't think I'm the only person who feels this way.
This is one of the reasons why I tend to not enjoy playing games as much on emulator. The ability to save-state or run the game in turbo (10x speed) mode freely is too convenient and I oftentimes find myself using it despite my intention not to. And after finishing a game where I used these tools, it doesn't quite feel as though I truly finished the game.
Overall, I'm of the opinion that games can be played in any way the player wants, but I still wanted to point out that optional crutches do impact the game for some people.
I recently played Final Fantasy VIII Remaster and the game comes with an option to make your party full health, constant full ATB bar and constant Limit Break available, so basically a God mode. I never used the option but it didn't bother me that it was available (literally one button push away at any time). I did however use to 3x Speed option pretty much all the time because the combat animations can be reaaaally long and also the way the game is made you can spend a lot of time just drawing magic from an enemy until you have 100 for everyone which can get boring at regular speed.
When I finished the game, I didn't feel like this playthrough was less worthy than the one I did 20 years ago. In fact, I would say I enjoyed it more than my first one because some of the irritants were smoothed away.
You enjoyed your recent playthrough of FFVIII more than your first playthrough 20 years ago? I wish I could get that feeling back. FFVIII is probably my all-time favorite FF game, and my memories of playing it as a child on Christmas morning are still very vivid in my mind. Squeenix has been adding in those options in a lot of their recent releases, and I would prefer they weren't there.
I'm inferring from your reply that you were not clear about my post. If you were just replying to tell me about your FFVIII playthrough, then don't worry about the rest. :P
And to be clear (as I don't like the feeling of being misread), I will summarize my post:
My message: Optional crutches do impact the game for some people. (Keyword: "some")
What Svenno had said (and I quote): "... adding options does not change the core game. I don't know why you keep insisting it does... Why would it be less popular for the current players when there are extra choices."
My post was to explain my reasoning for why optional extras do affect certain players. I don't contest that most players would welcome those options, but I do insist that there are some players who are affected by them. In other words, even if 99% of people like the options in the game, Svenno was wrong, as he made a blanket statement insisting that optional extras do not affect the game at all.
This is one of those weird times where I feel as though people are disagreeing with a statement I made that I originally didn't think could be disagreed with.
I liked you better with your Leon avatar. *spits*