Dark Souls 2 game director Tomohiro Shibuya raised some fan concern when he said this new game would be "more straightforward and more understandable." Long-time fans of the series worried that the notoriously difficult game would be compromised for the sake of a larger audience. Shibuya clarified that he simply wants a smoother difficulty curve and clearer story elements. In addition, co-director Yui Tanimura now says that he was referring to reducing tedious tasks throughout the game.
"What we meant by that was, based on feedback we got on Dark Souls, we got a lot of feedback that said that it was challenging and that the satisfaction was there, but there were a couple of areas that were a little bit tedious or a little bit time-consuming," Tanimura told Polygon, thorugh a translator. "Those are things we want to sort of streamline - to sort of cut away a lot of the fat, to make some revisions and enhancements so that we can really deliver the pure essence of the challenge in the Dark Souls experience."
He pointed out that in Dark Souls, players would often have to backtrack across large areas multiple times. He said they're attempting to "get rid of all the tediousness and the time-consuming stuff so you can actually get into the game and not worry about having to do certain tasks like this."
That sounds less like dumbing down the difficulty, and more like reducing the repetition. We'll have a clearer idea when the game releases in March 2014.