FromSoftware’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice was a smash hit, and the studio is planning on continuing that success with Elden Ring — a game that is mostly shrouded in mystery. Releasing as early as 2021, Elden Ring is the next game from the renowned studio, directed by Souls series creator Hidetaka Miyazaki and with the creative input of A Song of Ice and Fire author George RR Martin. We will return to a dark fantasy setting, much like in Dark Souls, but make no mistake: Elden Ring is a different beast. Here is everything we know about Elden Ring so far, including its combat, setting, structure, and when we’ll be able to get our hands on it.
As with the trailers for most of FromSoftware’s projects, Elden Ring’s announcement trailer is simultaneously enthralling and cryptic. We see a figure hunched over an anvil that is emitting a bright light, and then shift to a man who appears to be putting someone else’s arm over his own as hands reach out to grab him.
Next, we’re shown a quick glimpse of several scenes, including an enormous hammer being wielded and a mysterious person with a helmet and flowing red hair. This warrior wields a spear, and after attacking an enemy, we see the titular Elden Ring break apart.
This figure is then seen looking up at the red sky, seemingly being ignited by the light above. An enormous sword is planted in the ground nearby, and we see the figure who was standing above the anvil one last time as it appears to begin disintegrating.
Souls-like, but not Souls
If you’re a fan of games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne, you don’t have to worry about Elden Ring veering too far from the established formula. Speaking to IGN after the game’s reveal trailer at E3 2019, Hidetaka Miyazaki said that the game would remain a third-person action RPG that is “heavily based on Dark Souls.” Much like these games, you won’t be returning to populated towns to speak with villagers or collect quests. Instead, you can expect encounters with non-hostile NPCs to be relatively rare, adding a sense of dread and destruction that FromSoftware is known for.
Elden Ring will also be taking a different approach to the world itself, with a more open-ended structure rather than the Metroid-inspired maps of past FromSoftware games. It will be the studio’s largest game so far. You’ll be able to move throughout this world on a horse, which hasn’t been possible in any of the Souls games, Bloodborne, or Sekiro, though Sekiro did feature a boss riding on a horse in its early hours.
Elden Ring also returns to character customization after removing the feature in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. With the “role-playing” phrase being used in interviews rather than the “action-adventure” used for Sekiro, you can likely expect more player-choice and ability to craft your own preferred play-style. There will be multiple weapons as well as magic abilities to use, and it could offer even more combat variety than the Souls series.
The challenge Miyazaki games are known for will still be there for Elden Ring in full force. Speaking to Xbox Wire, he said that his staff still puts great importance on “the joy the player experiences through overcoming challenges,” and that it should be comparable to the studio’s previous games.
A Game of Thrones
In contrast to past FromSoftware games, where the lore has largely come from Hidetaka Miyazaki himself, Elden Ring is being developed in close partnership with author George R. R. Martin, whose A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novels were later adapted into the show Game of Thrones. The collaboration started with Miyazaki sharing his general ideas and themes for the game, and Martin was then responsible for creating an overarching mythos. Martin also created characters as well as “mystical and mysterious elements” that Miyazaki’s development staff then used when creating the game.
The title Elden Ring relates to a “mysterious concept that defines the game world itself,” according to Miyazaki. Its exact nature is being kept under wraps, though we do know that it is currently destroyed — either by someone or something.
Development on Elden Ring actually began when Dark Souls III’s downloadable content was finished, and for a time it was being created concurrently with Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Through assigned co-directors, Hidetaka Miyazaki was able to juggle both projects at once. It’s unclear at the moment if yet another Souls-like is also in the works at FromSoftware, or if this is the studio’s sole major project.
Release date and platforms
Elden Ring is going to release on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. No release date has been revealed yet, but at one time we believed it would launch sometime in 2020, as described by a Target listing and a posting on FromSoftware’s own website. However, we haven’t heard much in terms of an update on its development, and we’re nearing the end of 2020, so it’s more likely we’ll see it sometime next year, perhaps as a summer game — or even later.
It’s unclear if Elden Ring is planned to release for the next-generation systems, which are planned to launch this November. Considering we’re still a while away from Elden Ring’s release, it’s possible an enhanced version for the next-gen is being developed to take advantage of the new hardware. We do know fans have gotten so frustrated with the lack of information about the game’s development that they’ve taken to Reddit to invent their own lore and theories. These theories have gotten out of control, but they might entertain you since we don’t have much else to work with in terms of information about Elden Ring.
That sums up everything we know about Elden Ring, unfortunately. Many are finding it tough to get excited for it since we know so little about it, but we’ve got our fingers crossed for a possible blowout very soon, perhaps at this year’s The Game Awards ceremony.