... I honestly dont get what you are saying.
Difficulty has to do with... everything about the game.
Level Design: Its easier to kill an ranged enemy if he stands in the same ground level as you, opossed if he was on higher ground.Thats level design.
Gameplay: There are some games that have bigger windows of oportunity to attack and deflect attacks.Enemies might have a more aggressive and passive behaviour.The game might demand quicker reflexes.Gameplay isnt just about health or damage.
Sound: Paying attention to the sound enemies makes, especially if its done on purpose to identify when someone is comming from you, or from where the attack comes from.The lack of a proper "sound system" might makes things harder(though that simply would make it unfair, not harder)
And so on and so on.Thats is just me giving examples on how difficulty could be incorporated into everything that contemplates a game.
But thats not even the main point Im trying to make.The main point is: Sure, you could dumb down Dark Souls to the point that any attack from a boss does 1% of the damage and call it a day.But that would just ruin the game, and its clearly not what the devs want for the game.Period.
Making a inherently difficult game in which every single part of it was designed to make you think, plan, and learn really well the mechanics dont fit well with different difficulty levels.Not to say that some hard games cant have difficulty levels, they sure can, but usually these games either have very little difficulty inbued into the level design and demands more of the player in its skill alone, or its just plain unfair(Dying in like 2 shots in the hardest difficulty is simply unfair for example, especially for someone who just began the game).
You basically listed why Souls is basically unfair on its gameplay =p
Also you are trying to defend them from what is really lack of competence to balance. They certainly could even make the game play a little different and more obvious without changing a single thing on the standard difficult. They could even make an even harder mode that some of the users would love.
Of course it does.If a dev dosen't want it in its games, because he wants the player to learn the game and play as it is intended, why would he put something that goes against it?
That is because games are made for the gamers not to please the dev. If it was to please themselves then they wouldn't need to release it.
There is no need to.These kind of games have just been selling more and more with the passing years, which not only means that more people are seeking them out and are ok with the difficulty, but also that they are comming to love it.
The argument could also be made that if you made tweaks to the difficulty, making these games easier, it would make people like them less.
You could make that argument, but considering several games have even donkey could finish the game and still sell very well you would have a hard time proving an additional easier difficult would make the game sell less.
duduspace11 "Well, since we are estimating costs, Pokemon Red/Blue did cost Nintendo about $50m to make back in 1996"
Mr Puggsly: "Hehe, I said good profit. You said big profit. Frankly, not losing money is what I meant by good. Don't get hung up on semantics"