Not sure permanent death being harder is necessarily sad news, depends on how it’s done, and at least for the majority who played Xcom:EU and Xcom2 and never won they might actually be cheered up by the news.
27% have the achievement Humanity’s Savior for EU, awarded when you win on any difficulty
35% have the achievment Earth Avenged for winning any difficulty on xcom2
My take, I don’t mind hard, I do mind it when it turns into a puzzle game with a narrow path to victory that takes away from strategy/tactics choices and removes some of the RPG feel that multiple victory paths and ability to lose the occasional mission afford me. Maybe I suck, but in both xcom:eu and xcom2 I felt the need to keep alive a core team otherwise I fell behind the power curve by mid, late campaign. I’d like more flexibility in the design to afford me paths back to the victory line so failure of course penalizes you but doesn’t wreck you.