For me, Miyazaki games are an artistic attempt to fuse the gameplay and the narrative and the world into a coherent whole. The interactive parts of the game aren't just a vehicle for the narrative or the world, or vice versa.
All of those things are carefully balanced so that each one teaches about the other, and they combine into a singular thematic journey for the player. What you go through in the game informs the way you understand the story and the world, and both of those things give more depth to the gameplay too. It's through struggling repeatedly that you are supposed to come to some insight about the games' themes and the reflections that the creators are exploring. You as the player struggling with the game and your learning and progress and failure are part of the game's world as much as the NPCs and the enemies are. They present a core part of understanding not only the story, but also empathising with the characters or asking questions about how you personally approach things.
A good example for me is in Dark Souls 2, seeing the lamentable state of King Vendrick, a fight that is much more poignant when you yourself have had to go through the struggles he has, but you managed to find the will to carry on where he did not. This isn't reaching for unspoken themes either, it's very explicit in Dark Souls, characters repeatedly warning you about going hollow and giving up, and praising you for not doing that or being surprised that you have had the will to carry on despite the setbacks.
So, personally, being able to just steamroll through the gameplay element would break the thing that actually makes these games stand out. Saying that the Miyazaki games are popular just because of the difficulty is reductionist I think, it really is the thoughtful application of videogames as a craft that elevates them above others, like Lords of the Fallen or Nioh or the Surge, which pull the same trick with gameplay, but never reach the heights of these games. Having an easy mode would be, to me, like saying the puzzles in The Witness should be easy, or have an "auto complete" button in case you get stuck. By making them accessible like that, you essentially ruin the integrity of what is being presented, since you are only engaging with the games as a single facet of what they are - just looking at the raw mechanical aspect of the game.
The irony is though, that people who get put off by the difficulty obviously never get far in enough to catch any of that artistic harmony (and of course some people just don't engage with games on that level anyway), so the games just seem hard for the sake of it. Or it seems like the reason they are hard is so that you feel satisfaction when you overcome a challenge, which is not really what the game is about either. And I definitely agree that sometimes the games are hard because of bad design, or certain sections are hard for the sake of it, there's no denying that. But overall the intention is explicit.
Put it this way, if thematically the game is about perseverance and determination, what does it look like when no perseverance or determination is required from the player? What you end up with is a story you are witness to but not part of, and a weaker one for that.
The thing is, if you really only engage with games on a mechanical level, or personally didn't jive with the way these stories are presented or think they say anything worthwhile, everything I said sounds like a load of artsy horse crap. I get that.
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