Elden Ring received its much-awaited reveal during Summer Game Fest 2021 and as expected, fans were quick to start making comparisons with Dark Souls.
The common notion being that Elden Ring looks just like Dark Souls and may as well be called Dark Souls 4, and that developer FromSoftware could have considered giving fans something new within the Souls genre.
While those notions can be said to be true to a certain degree, it needs to be pointed out that Elden Ring was always meant to be an evolution of the Dark Souls games. FromSoftware never intended to deviate further than necessary.
The reveal trailer released during Summer Game Fest 2021 showcases some of those fresh elements which will be taking Dark Souls fans on a different (yet familiar) experience.
The first has to do with scale. Elden Ring can be called an open-world Dark Souls game since unlike the interconnected dungeons and pathways of its predecessors, Elden Ring will offer larger environments and more exploration freedom.
The second has to do with traversal. Unlike Dark Souls, Elden Ring will allow players to move around its open world on horseback as well as participate in mounted combat. FromSoftware previously teased that an open-world on such scale will not only unlock opportunities for varying combat situations but also new kinds of side activities, which feeds directly into the open world.
The third and final element which FromSoftware will be using to evolve its Dark Souls franchise has to do with the lore itself. The Dark Souls lore is undeniably well-written but according to game director Hidetaka Miyazaki from back in 2019, he always wanted to have larger environments to showcase the world and lore on a grander scale.
This is why the NPCs of Elden Ring will have compelling personalities, more so than any of the previous Souls games. Miyazaki noted back then that players will be able to use the NPCs of Elden Ring as another way of exploring the world around them.
Hence, Elden Ring was always meant to be an open-world Dark Souls game. The comparisons with Dark Souls 3 while reasonable should account for the fact that Miyazaki simply wanted a bigger sandbox of sorts.
If anything, the successful reception of Elden Ring will convince FromSoftware to take the same formula ahead with an actual Dark Souls 4 game in the future.