Update 8/27/21: Updated with new screenshots shared by Bandai Namco and FromSoftware.
Whether the revolutionary franchise Dark Souls, the classic hit that inspired it, Demon's Souls, or the likes of Bloodborne and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, chances are you've heard of developer, FromSoftware. These titles were designed to be brutally difficult but also immensely satisfying, which is why they've become huge favorites for many. Those games even led to the birth of a new genre dubbed "Soulslikes," emulating the feel and flow of Dark Souls games.
FromSoftware's next big adventure is called Elden Ring, and while details about the game are still relatively scarce, there's still plenty for players to be excited about based on what we do know. Here's what we know about Elden Ring so far, in 2021.
What is Elden Ring?
Put simply, Elden Ring is an action role-playing game (RPG) that will be similar to FromSoftware's previous Dark Souls games. This likely means that there will be a core emphasis on dodging while using melee and magic attacks to take down foes. Finding new weapons and armor, upgrading gear, leveling up skill points, and the implementation of both cooperative and competitive PvP play is also expected. Something that will set Elden Ring apart from Dark Souls, though, is its non-linear, open-world design.
In terms of story and world, Elden Ring will take place in a fantasy universe and is focused primarily on the Elden Ring, which is a concept that encompasses the entire world. Much of Elden Ring's mythos is being authored by George R.R. Martin of A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones fame.
Elden Ring release date
After a delay, Elden Ring is currently scheduled to launch on Feb. 25, 2022. This delay is allowing the team to have a bit more time in polishing the game.
Previously, during E3 2021, FromSoftware revealed that Elden Ring is officially planned to launch on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC on Jan. 21, 2022. Notably, the game is currently available for preorder now on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and other retailers for $60.
Elden Ring development and reveal
Elden Ring was officially revealed during E3 2019 at Microsoft's Xbox dedicated briefing. During the show, fans got to see the first (and currently, only) trailer for the game, which introduced Elden Ring's world and showed off some of the character designs that we can expect to see in the full game. Elden Ring is being fully developed by FromSoftware and led by company president, Hidetaka Miyazaki.
Following a trail of leaks and rumors, Elden Ring appeared once again during E3 2021 with a brand-new gameplay trailer that revealed some of Elden Ring's mechanics and showed off its locations, enemies, and boss battles.
Elden Ring story and setting
So far, we don't know a whole lot about the deeper aspects of Elden Ring's story and setting. Something we do know, however, is that the Elden Ring "is the name given to a mysterious concept that defines the world itself," according to Miyazaki.
He continued, "As the trailer at the conference implied, this 'Elden Ring' has been shattered. The significance of this will be one of the important themes of the game."
Based on this, it sounds like the Elden Ring is less like an object and more like a supernatural power that forms the foundation of the game's world. This is further supported by an interview between Miyazaki and IGN that revealed the term "Elden Ring" doesn't refer to an actual ring you wear but rather a "circle" in the mind.
Based on the game's reveal trailer, the Elden Ring has been shattered by someone or something, which is having a significant impact on the world. This is confirmed by a synopsis on the Elden Ring website, which states that in the "Lands Between" ruled by a character named Queen Marika the Eternal, the Elden Ring has been shattered and her offspring have claimed its shards, also known as the Great Runes. This triggered a cataclysmic war that resulted in abandonment by a force known as the Greater Will.
In the game, we will play as an individual known as a Tarnished, and our task as a Tarnished will be to brandish the Elden Ring and become an Elden Lord, likely so that we can restore order to the Lands Between. This will require us to hunt down each shard of the Elden Ring being used by Marika's offspring.
In terms of how Miyazaki and Martin are collaborating, Miyazaki said in an interview with IGN that he and the rest of FromSoftware were handling the main narrative for Elden Ring, while Martin was writing the universe's wider mythos and lore. This was done because Miyazaki felt it would give more freedom for Martin to work his magic, and also because he wanted Elden Ring's main story to remain non-linear.
"Storytelling in video games — at least the way we do it at FromSoftware — comes with a lot of restrictions for the writer," Miyazaki said. "I didn't think it was a good idea to have Martin write within those restrictions. By having him write about a time the player isn't directly involved in, he is free to unleash his creativity in the way he likes. Furthermore, as FromSoftware we didn't want to create a more linear and story-driven experience for Elden Ring. Both issues could be solved by having Martin write about the world's history instead."
What to expect from Elden Ring gameplay
In Elden Ring, fans can expect an RPG-oriented experience similar to Demon's Souls, Dark Souls, and Bloodborne instead of the pure focus on action that Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice had. This is because Miyazaki himself stated that Elden Ring's gameplay "is not so far from Dark Souls."
"That doesn't mean that the gameplay will be identical, but you could say that Elden Ring belongs to the same genre," he said. We also know that the game will be challenging like Dark Souls based on comments Miyazaki made in an Xbox Wire interview, and will feature plenty of big boss fights too.
Additionally, Miyazaki revealed that Elden Ring will be open-ended and non-linear in nature, almost like an open-world game.
"While the narrow and complex dungeons of our previous games were indeed interconnected, Elden Ring's environments will be much more open and vast," Miyazaki commented. "The more extensive world will form the base of Elden Ring's gameplay, and its mechanics are designed with that type of environment in mind."
He also stated that "with a larger world, new systems and action mechanics inevitably become necessary. In that sense, I think that Elden Ring is a more natural evolution of Dark Souls."
All of these traits, features, and mechanics are observable in the E3 2021 gameplay trailer. In this trailer, many Dark Souls mechanics such as dodge rolls, melee combos, magic spells, player summoning, and more were shown. However, the trailer also showed off Elden Ring's horse gameplay, which is likely going to be integral to long-range exploration and some combat scenarios. There was even a brief moment in the trailer where the Tarnished used stealth tactics, indicating that a stealth system similar to the one in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is likely making an appearance in Elden Ring.
Elden Ring graphics, music, and overall presentation
When it comes to how Elden Ring will look, players can expect the game to be gorgeous, but it's unclear how much it'll take advantage of next-gen capabilities. It's very likely that the game will receive enhancements for Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, but we don't know anything for sure just yet.
In the aforementioned leaked trailer, Elden Ring's environments seem noticeably brighter and more vibrant than most of FromSoftware's other titles. This suggests that the look of the game as a whole will be more like the more colorful worlds of Dark Souls II and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice rather than the dreary worlds present in Demon's Souls, Dark Souls, Dark Souls III, and Bloodborne. This is supported by the footage seen in the E3 2021 trailer.
In terms of the game's music, we know that seasoned FromSoftware composer Yuka Kitamura is set to contribute. When asked by a fan on Twitter, she confirmed her involvement with the project. Kitamura has also composed the music for Dark Souls III and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
Is Elden Ring coming to PS4, Xbox One?
In addition to being available on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PS5, and PC, Elden Ring will also be available on Xbox One and PS4 systems, and could be one of the best Xbox RPGs. It's likely that there will be upgrades available on the newer consoles, but FromSoftware hasn't confirmed or denied this yet.
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