We’re finally getting details about FromSoftware’s next game, Elden Ring, after a period of nearly two years of agonizing silence after it was announced at E3 2019. Developer Soulsborne released a trailer for the game at Summer Game Fest and provided an official release date, and game director Hidetaka Miyazaki sat down for an extensive interview with IGN. To delve deeper into the game, the story, and what sets Elden Ring apart from the Souls series, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and Bloodborne.
When will the Elden Ring be released?
The Elden Ring release date is currently set for January 19, 2022 on PC, Xbox Series X/S, and PlayStation 5. But it will also arrive at the same time on previous generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft – however, there’s no word on its availability for Nintendo Switch. If you haven’t been able to get hold of the latest generation of consoles, you’ll be glad to know that Elden Ring will support updates for players who purchase the game on PS4 and Xbox One and then upgrade to newer consoles later on.
What will the gameplay of Elden Ring be like?
Since Elden Ring comes from FromSoftware, it should come as no surprise that it is set up to deliver grueling combat and exploration. But from what we saw in the trailer for Elden Ring and what we learned from game director Hidetaka Miyazaki, Elden Ring will bring some new ideas to the table that will give players a lot of options.
You can still expect dangerous enemies ranging from human-sized to quite mountainous, and you’ll continue to dodge your way to safety as you battle with a mixture of magic, swords, spears, and other medieval weapons. But Elden Ring will add new combat opportunities.
Rather than having specific abilities tied to specific weapons, Miyazaki explains that “you can actually freely exchange abilities between a variety of weapons.” He also mentioned that there were nearly a hundred abilities in total, and there would definitely be no shortage of different weapons in the game. Also taking into account magical abilities, Miyazaki suggests, “…the building customization will be much richer and more varied than before.”
The way you handle enemy encounters also promises to be more diverse. The world of Elden Ring is less linear than previous Soulsborne games, and for that matter, the upcoming battle will be less linear. There will be quite a few stealth options available, such as sneaking through tall grass to avoid combat or taking down enemies with a backstab. You can also explore the game world to hunt down and collect enemy souls, giving you an ally that you can summon into combat. And if enemy spirits don’t do it for you, you’ll still have the option to summon other human players for co-op play.
The walkthrough of the Elden Ring will be a little different from the usual Souls formula, as the game includes a fast travel system, but will also include tripods for players. And for those who hate not being able to overcome an obstacle two feet high, your character will be able to jump as well.
You’ll also need these faster modes of transportation, as it’s FromSoft’s biggest game to date. This scale can make it intimidating to explore because previous Soulsborne games will see you lose all of your XP if you die somewhere and you’ll have to search for it after you’re reborn or risk losing it forever. So to keep you motivated to explore more and keep moving forward, the game will include more forms of therapy, including the ability to craft items on the go and collect materials to do so.
What do we know about the design of the Elden Ring universe?
The Elden Ring will take place in The Lands Between, a vast area to explore. You’ll start in a linear opening area, most likely to set the story and explain the mechanics of the game, but then expand. There will be plenty to explore, including six major areas ruled by a demigod, forcefully twisted part of the Elden Ring, but more on that later. This world will include plains, mountains, and everyone’s favorite: swamps. You will also find castles, fortresses, and catacombs scattered throughout the game world.
With this great map, FromSoft gives players the freedom to zoom in and explore the game world as they want. Miyazaki explains, “There is a guiding element, especially in the beginning. There is a main line [los jugadores] They can go forward, but at any moment they are free to break this road and take the unpaved road.”
Elden Ring will also feature a dynamic weather system and day/night cycle to help keep the world alive.
The game world will also be inhabited by enemies and NPCs alike, all with their own stories and motivations. Fortunately, Miyazaki assured that players will not encounter imitators in this game world. Unfortunately, Miyazaki only confirmed that players won’t encounter imitators “exactly the same way.” What that means is anyone’s guess.
What is the story of Elden Ring?
With the latest reveal, we’ve learned more about the history of the Elden Ring. It will take place in The Lands between the period after the destruction of the Elden Ring and its scattering of fragments, known as The Great Runes.
Players will take on the role of Char, a part of the population that has long lost the blessing of the Elden Ring and the Erdtree, symbolizing the existence of the Elden Ring. Banished from The Lands Between before the episode was destroyed, The Tarnished are summoned again after the episode is broken.
The Tarnished will set out with the goal of finding and defeating the Demigod Descendant of the Eternal Queen Marika. Each of these demigods owns a piece of the ring and may stain and twist it. The ultimate goal of the players is to collect all these great talismans and become the leader of Elden. It remains to be seen if doing so would actually be a good thing.
Much like the story in Dark Souls, much of the plot will come down to players finding the details and rebuilding them themselves (a bit like rebuilding the Elden Ring parts, perhaps?). With that said, Miyazaki explained that the story may be easier to understand and more accessible than the Dark Souls franchise’s.
How did George R. R. Martin participate in the Elden Ring?
Fans of Game of Thrones (or A Song of Ice and Fire) may have expected George RR Martin to write every line of dialogue in the Elden Ring, but his responsibilities lie largely in shaping the lore (science) and mythology of the game world. So, while you won’t feel like you’re playing through Martin’s story, you’ll still be living in a world of his dreams.
Unlike previous Soulsborne games, Martin’s world building took place before the development of FromSoft’s game systems, so gameplay should be more informed by the game world than before. Martin was also involved in creating the game’s main bosses. Every human has their own myths and traditions behind them, and from that background their new polluted forms emerged.
Even if Martin didn’t write all of the character’s interactions, Miyazaki suggested that Martin “bring things to the table that we couldn’t do for ourselves, in terms of rich storytelling and that sense of character and drama.”
Is there anything more exciting about the Elden Ring?
As Elden Ring comes to consoles and PC next year, we may also see it appear in more media. Bandai Namco CEO Yasuo Miakawa has suggested that there are more plans for the Elden Ring outside of the game itself. However, don’t get your hopes up about TV series, movies, and comic book adaptations just yet. The company did not provide details and it could be just a suggestion for marketing plans.