Dark Souls and Bloodborne (and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice) fans rejoice, for Elden Ring has been revealed. Well, sort of. In true FromSoftware fashion, the teaser Microsoft dropped at its E3 2019 conference was beautiful, mysterious, gloomy, and near impossible to decipher.
A plethora of gorgeous cinematic images flashed in front of the screen, with the signature From Software score running throughout the near two-minute trailer. Perplexing yet embalmed from start to finish with the kind of detail and richness Hidetaka Miyazaki is known for, it’s a fine demonstration of just how far From Software has grown as a gaming developer giant since their rise to fame with Demon’s Souls back in 2009.
Yet the most appealing aspect of Elden Ring isn’t the ominous set of arms that it opens with or the agony ridden characters it depicts, but the names of two individuals displayed right as the trailer begins. A New World Created by Hidetaka Miyazaki and… George R.R. Martin.
Yes, it’s the same George R.R. Martin who created the world of Game of Thrones and the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller series A Song of Ice and Fire the show was based on. You might have your opinions on the HBO show’s ending (and it’s probably the same as ours), but it’s hard to ignore that George R.R. Martin is a masterful world builder who knows how to write deeply complex, flawed, and most importantly, dark characters.
Guess who else writes complex, flawed, and dark characters and is a great world builder? Yep, it’s From Software’s president Hidetaka Miyazaki, who also happens to be the director and writer of the best videogames the developer has brought us.
Elden Ring Setting
The trailer itself gives almost nothing away, other than agonized characters in dismay and physical pain. From what seems like a multi-limbed individual holding a sacred severed arm to a general (or king?) dying in the battlefield to a man breaking into pieces as he strikes an anvil, the mysteries in the trailer are as ubiquitous as the mesmerizing choice of colors and details that are crammed into two minutes of cinematic eye-candy.
According to various leaks and rumors by a number of different Japanese and English journalists, Elden Ring will take deep inspiration from Celtic or Nordic mythologies, or both. Given how original Miyazaki’s games have been in-terms of lore despite grabbing inspiration from familiar mythos, we like to believe it’ll either lean more towards the less familiar Celtic mythology or combine Nordic tales with them.
Celtic mythology isn’t completely new to Hidetaka Miyazaki either, given how many aspects of their lesser known VR videogame Deracine are heavily inspired from it. However, we do believe that with the experience and extensive world building George Martin is known for, the intricate mythologies could take completely new and unique (and much darker) shapes to tell a story unlike anything we’ve heard of before.
Miyazaki hasn’t referenced any specific mythology on which Elden Ring’s story is based. His post Microsoft E3 2019 conference interview does emphasize on the sheer scale of the world and the emphasis on exploration. The development studio’s president says the depth and freedom of exploration in this vast world have increased dramatically.
Due to this, the scale of the world and its narrative, as well as the depth and freedom of exploration have increased dramatically. It is without a doubt our biggest title yet in terms of sheer volume.
There are many definitions to the term “open world,” and I might not be phrasing it correctly, but we have simply tried our own approach to a game with a large, open field to play in.
Elden Ring Meaning
“I doubt you could even imagine it. That which commanded the skies, giving life its fullest brilliance. The Elden Ring. Shattered, by someone or something. Don’t tell me you don’t see it. Look up at the sky. It burns.”
Yeah, it’s hard to decipher just what the hell the Elden Ring actually is, but Miyazaki suggests in his interview that Elden Ring itself is a mysterious concept that defines the world itself. It has been shattered, and that’s likely what has put the entire in-game world in disarray. This entire concept will be one of the most important themes of the entire game.
Elden Ring Gameplay
Elden Ring is coined as FromSoft’s biggest and most ambition game to date, with most of the emphasis being on the sheer scale. Though we have absolutely zero footage about the actual gameplay of this IP, Miyazaki’s suggests it will be a third person open world action-RPG fantasy title not too dissimilar to Dark Souls. Its world will be an amalgam of many kingdoms, each with its own king whom the player character will slay to attain his/her powers for their own.
Hidetaka Miyazaki also highlighted that Elden Ring will focus more on the RPG elements than the action elements, which he says is something the studio couldn’t quite achieve with the Dark Souls series. We can certainly expect to see more RPG and tactical elements than Bloodborne and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Fans of the tight melee combat mechanics need not worry though, as the FromSoft president ensures Elden Ring will retain much of the loved melee action that has made their games so popular.
To traverse the vast setting of the game, players will use horseback riding instead of the traditional walk and run (and grapple) travel mechanics that have been a staple of Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
Of course, we do expect Miyazaki to retain the most well known features of FromSoftware games, namely the ability to teleport to different locations and, most important of all, the unforgiving difficulty. Miyazaki confirmed as much for the last bit, and given how revered the Souldborne games (and Sekiro) are for their challenge, its unsurprising to see FromSoft’s reluctance to sway from that philosophy.
There is suggestion that there will be multiple classes out of which the player must choose one. FromSoft’s president confirmed the return of character customization – from creating your own character to the in-depth builds that were egregiously missing from Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. There will be a “variety of ways” to engage enemies, and a generous number of weapons and magic at the player’s disposal.
The classes will allegedly greatly alter the experience as each class will have to encounter a unique set of enemies and in-game inhabitants. However, this bit of information has been leaked by 4chan, so take it with a massive sandbag full of salt.
According to leaks, the game will also bring back the popular multiplayer and co-op features that were an integral part of Dark Souls and Bloodborne. Miyazaki hasn’t confirmed this, and we can’t say if there will be invasions and gank squads in Elden Ring, but we’re expecting something familiar that will greatly add to the value and replayability of the game.
Elden Ring Story
Next to nothing is known about Elden Ring’s story, though we do know it’ll retain its dark fantasy setting with a dystopian world full of despair and chaos. Another rumor from 4chan is that the world is set during a 100-year civil war. The game allegedly begins with the disappearance of each kingdom’s knights, who have gone out in search of “an artifact to give them an upper hand in the wars to come.” That’s supposed to be all the knights except the player character.
Given George R.R. Martin’s involvement in Elden Ring’s writing, we’re not sure if the story will be told in a traditional sense or if FromSoft will keep their signature, vague, gameplay oriented narrative techniques that has brought the Soulsborne community together some many times in the past decade.
George Martin is not unfamiliar to convoluted and vague storytelling himself, as many of the deeper intricacies within A Song of Ice and Fire are told in an indirect manner. If we had to take a guess (and that’s what we’re doing here), we think George has been in charge of building the world and characters, with Miyazaki constructing the holistic plot and progression.
Miyazaki was unwilling to give too much away about the story during his E3 2019 interview, but he did say that this is a dark fantasy RPG whose mythos was predominantly created by George R.R. Martin, though with the basis presented by Miyazaki himself. Furthermore, he promised interesting characters and drama with a cornucopia of mystical and mysterious elements as well.
Elden Ring Release Date
We know from interviews that Elden Ring has actually been in development since the release of the final DLC for Dark Souls 3. However, since FromSoftware released Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice just this year, it’s reasonable to assume that work on Elden Ring was delayed for a bit to focus on this year’s release. FromSoft and Bandai Namco releasing a gameplay trailer anytime soon thus seems unlikely.
However, that doesn’t mean we can’t take an educated guess about the game’s release window. FromSoftware games revealed at E3 often have a release in the first or early second quarter of the very next year, so we could potentially see a March or April Elden Ring release.
That said, the game has been confirmed by Miyazaki to be the development team’s biggest project in-terms of sheer volume to date, so they might just take longer than their usual time.
Although Elder Ring’s trailer was shown at Microsoft’s E3 conference, it is not an Xbox exclusive. Instead, Elden Ring will be released for Xbox One, PC, and PS4.
Excuse us if we can’t hide our excitement about Elden Ring. It’s a fascinating IP from a fascinating developer known to dish out incredible games at the highest standards. Keep your eyes and ears open for more information on Elden Ring folks. We know we certainly will.