What do we want FromSoftware to do after Shadow of the Erdtree?

 Dark Souls 2 art.
Credit: Bandai Namco

For the first time in years, we don't really know what FromSoftware is up to.

Sekiro was announced in 2017, just months after the Dark Souls 3 DLC The Ringed City marked the end of the trilogy. Just three months after Sekiro released, FromSoftware announced Elden Ring, and Armored Core 6 popped up during the development of Elden Ring's expansion. But now Elden Ring is done—at least for now, as Miyazaki has certainly left the door open to a sequel. And Armored Core 6 seems done, with no indication that an expansion is coming, though I wouldn't be shocked to see one pop up fully formed before the end of the year. But maybe FromSoftware goes dark for awhile. Maybe its next announcement is a year or more away. A terrible thought!

Patience is not my greatest strength, and I know I'm not the only one wondering what FromSoftware's next game will be. As more of the PC Gamer team wrap up Shadow of the Erdtree, we've started speculating about what the studio might do, and also sharing what we really want it to do. Here's what we're hoping comes next, recorded for posterity so we can look back on how completely off the mark we were when FromSoftware announces it's taking over development of Beyond Good & Evil 2 so we can all put it behind us.

A full-on co-op game

Wes Fenlon, Senior Editor: I've played every Souls game like a co-op experience, even if they weren't truly meant to be played that way. In Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition I used a mod that prioritized the summon signs of my Games For Windows Live friends list. In Dark Souls 2 and 3 I played all the way through with friends, each of us effectively beating the games twice by summoning into one another's worlds. Co-op does make these games easier which I'm certainly not going to complain about, but the bigger draw for me is simply going on these journeys with a companion and experiencing those triumphs, discoveries and PvP invasions together. The Souls co-op experience is as messy as it is thrilling.

In the Dark Souls days I admired the way FromSoftware stuck to its odd summoning design and eschewed the more traditional co-op experience of other games, but over time they've made co-op easier and easier without fully embracing it. It's odd how frictionless summoning is in Elden Ring, yet with huge limitations like not being able to ride your horse or even cross the threshold from the world map to a cave. It feels less like intentional design and more like limited technology. When I interviewed Hidetaka Miyazaki about Shadow of the Erdtree, I had to bring up the fantastic Elden Ring Seamless co-op mod, and was heartened to hear him say that he wasn't opposed to the mod, and may even consider "total co-op" for a future game. That's light years away from a guarantee, of course, but at this point it's what I really want in FromSoftware's next game. I want co-op to be core to the experience, even if it bums out the Souls obsessives who want to 1v1 every boss without getting hit. Gimme FromSoftware's version of It Takes Two and I'll be the happiest Tarnished in the land.

Armored Core: Senary Silent Line of Verdict Answer

Ted Litchfield, Associate Editor: The numbered Armored Cores are like Final Fantasy games in that they each have unique settings with shared elements carrying over. Instead of moody pretty boy swordsmen, summons, and Tonberries, the throughline for Armored Core is rad mechs. But FromSoftware has an almost 30-year history of making expansion pack-slash-direct sequels for its numbered Armored Core games, like For Answer and Verdict Day, and as we've already established, expansions are the best.

I'd be shocked if such a treatment isn't already on the way for Armored Core 6, our favorite action game of 2023. With its multiple endings, there are a ton of different directions things could go: The layup would probably be a direct continuation from the Liberator of Rubicon ending, but my hope is that we instead get some kind of prequel. AC6 is the first game in the series to go interstellar, with an incredibly rich lore of corporate conflicts to mine.

The prequel route would also let us avoid the gut punch of having to kill off C4621 and Ayre⁠—these expansions uniformly have you taking over a different pilot and once had us murder the base game's protagonist. It'd also let us spend more time with some of the lovable characters from AC6. I want some more cheesy "ask the old football coach" grumpy patter from a young G1 Michigan!

This feels like some primo territory for From to cover in the next one to two years, but farther afield, contemplating the continuation of Soulsborne, I think I want a smaller, Sekiro or Bloodborne-flavored game next. This might just be my Elden fatigue, trying to wrap up a second Erdtree playthrough as I approach the 100-hour mark with the expansion, but a more out-there setting and brisk runtime feels like just the thing right now.

A Tenchu reboot

Jake Tucker, PC Gaming Show Editorial Director: They tried this before and it ended up becoming high-speed stab-’em-up Sekiro, but as someone obsessed with Tenchu Stealth Assassins and its many sequels, I'd love to see FromSoft dive not just back into the world of Rikimaru and Ayame, but also a slightly more grounded stealth game punctuated with extreme violence.

Frankly, I think Fromsoft is the best bet to make a ninja game in the entire industry. Fast, fluid and lethal combat is the studio's specialty at this point, and I’d love to see some of the fantasy worldbuiling from Elden Ring turned to fleshing out some more mundane settings: a fishing village oppressed by a weird lord, or a bodyguard called Myrmidon of Loss or something.

Sci-fi Souls

With apologies to The Surge 2, you didn't quite do it for us
With apologies to The Surge 2, you didn't quite do it for us

Fraser Brown, Online Editor: FromSoftware has given me some of my favourite fantasy realms to play around in, steeped in rich—if sometimes inscrutable—lore, miserable and enigmatic characters, and the most striking architecture I've ever died next to. Now I'd like to see it do something similar in a sci-fi setting. Armored Core, though wonderful, doesn't really count, since it's so far removed from the soulsy experience and aesthetic. What I want is more of the ludicrously weird shit. Gross walking jars full of viscera. Monsters with too many limbs. Beauty corrupted. The entire soulslike genre has spent long enough mining fantasy, but I know if FromSoftware took a step into the future, other developers would inevitably follow suit, enriching the whole genre.

I suspect the result would be something not a million miles away from Warhammer 40k. Grim, grotesque, corrupted, but perhaps not quite as extra. Warhammer is knowingly over-the-top, but FromSoftware games are a bit more restrained and thoughtful. I'd be very down for that.

An entirely new thing

Tyler Colp, Associate Editor: At this point, I will play anything FromSoftware makes. I started with Dark Souls and have played everything, including Demon’s Souls, since then. Sekiro is a perfect example of a game I probably wouldn’t ever play again because pure action games aren’t my style, but I love that it exists. It’s a historical fantasy that focuses entirely on extremely satisfying and fast combat, and Elden Ring’s combat was probably heavily influenced by what FromSoft pulled off in Sekiro.

Now that Elden Ring is done, it’s going to take a while to make something that big again, and I’d like to see the studio veer off in another direction to explore new ideas in the meantime. FromSoft has worked on a wide variety of genres and it would be rad to see it try something without tons of brutal combat. We’re talking about the studio that made The Adventures of Cookie & Cream. Anything is possible, and Miyazaki seems like the kind of guy who'd be down for any game with a really clear vision. I could see From dropping a straight-up 3D platformer or maybe a Japanese horror-infused survival game. No matter what it is, I’m confident it’ll retain the studio’s sensibilities when it comes to blending gameplay and themes in a way few other games can pull off.

Actually, hear me out: A nautical adventure game with procedurally generated settlements and spooky islands to explore. A haunting Sea of Thieves where Patches kicks you off the plank.

Elden Ring 2

A knight rides the saddle of their trusty steed Torrent in Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree, looking over miraculous ruins.
A knight rides the saddle of their trusty steed Torrent in Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree, looking over miraculous ruins.

Sarah James, Guides Writer: If you'd asked me a year or so ago, I'd probably have said Bloodborne 2 without missing a beat. Now though? In this post-Elden Ring DLC era, I need answers.

While I'm firmly sat in the "Shadow of the Erdtree is great" camp, the expansion opened up so many more lore questions than I can comfortably live with. I need to know what happened on the Night of the Black Knives, and why Godwyn was targeted. I need to know who the gloam-eyed queen was, and I need to know the correct timeline of all these events because, right now, it doesn't make any sense. Or rather, it makes enough sense to send me back into the game in the small hours of the morning, peering at things with a telescope in the hope of finding answers, but not enough to give me a satisfying resolution.

I know, I know, it's what FromSoftware has always done—it's what makes me fall in love with these games. I just think it would be cool to see the Lands Between at a different time in its vast history. The world is so rich, it just feels like a real shame if the DLC is where they leave it.

Also, I need to be saved from the sea of lore-filled Google Docs I'll inevitably end up drowning in over the next few months. Send help?