“The Golden Order has been broken,” and so has the latest news about the long-awaited Elden Ring. First announced at E3 in 2019, Elden Ring forced fans to wait two arduous years to hear more about FromSoftware’s latest action role-playing game. Now that we know more, however, comparisons with the studio’s previous Dark Souls games are inevitable. Is Elden Ring just a chip off the old block, or has it been forged differently? Let’s take a look at everything we know so far.
Winter Is Coming?
One of the most obvious differences between Elden Ring and other FromSoftware games is that it has a certain famous fantasy author on board. George R.R. Martin has collaborated with game director Hidetaka Miyazaki on this latest title, though it remains to be seen how much of a creative influence he had.
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In an interview with IGN, Miyazaki explained that Martin, “brought things to the table that we couldn’t have done by ourselves, in terms of that rich storytelling and that sense of character and drama.” Apparently Martin’s involvement was a few years ago and primarily involved worldbuilding. Miyazaki tasked him with naming the game world — known as ‘The Lands Between’ — and providing more concrete details for Elden Ring’s story. Ultimately, Miyazaki believes this will make the lore less opaque than in previous FromSoftware games.
What we know so far is that the player is one of the ‘Tarnished,’ a group of people who lost the blessing of the magical Erdtree. The eponymous Elden Ring has been shattered and now the Tarnished are being guided back to The Lands Between.
Save Our Souls
Dark Souls games are notorious for being difficult, but Elden Ring may not be following this trend. According to an article by Den of Geek, it will be possible to bypass certain bosses if you can’t defeat them, an idea antithetical to the adaptation-focussed approach of Dark Souls games prior. Furthermore, there will be an emphasis on stealth, with the ability to not only sneak up on enemies but to bypass threats entirely and tactically survey areas from a distance.
Another distinctive feature of Elden Ring will be the ability to summon spirits which can aid you in battle. These spirits will be ghosts of enemies you’ve previously slain. For example, a shield-wielding enemy could protect the player from behind, while spirits with different weapons grant the advantage of a multi-pronged attack. Interestingly, these spirits can even level up. Recruiting enemies you’ve slain will help you kill even tougher adversaries, further beefing up your army of spirits. If you’re still struggling, Elden Ring will also have multiplayer enabled, supporting the option to play with up to four players in co-op.
It’s an Open World After All
The latest trailer for Elden Ring teased an open world filled with dragons, terrifying monsters, and strangely cute anthropomorphic pots. While Dark Souls games do allow the player some agency in how they go about exploring the game world, it looks like there will be even more freedom to roam and interesting places to explore in Elden Ring.
Elden Ring might be cast somewhat in the image of Dark Souls, but the greater scale of the world has demanded a different approach to gameplay and design. Still, Elden Ring will have a hub and the map will be divided into six major areas as the domains of major demigod characters, each with a dungeon.
In the IGN interview, Miyazaki commented that: “Along with this new vast world, we have created a number of new action systems and game systems to enhance this, and to go hand-in-hand with the vast new world. For instance, the player can jump now, you can ride on horseback, and there are a number of new additions to combat which just raise the level of freedom higher than our previous games. And it all matches with the sense of scale of the world itself.”
Dark Souls fans are wedded to their brutally challenging series, but it remains to be seen whether they will take up Elden Ring with the same fervor when it releases on January 21, 2022.
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Article author: Florence Smith Nicholls can be found on Twitter via @florencesn