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 "Souls-likes," 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 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 around 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
FromSoftware hasn't revealed Elden Ring's release date yet, but they may do so during E3 2021. If we had to guess when the game is going to launch, we'd say at some point in 2022. Ultimately, though, there's no way to know for sure when we'll get our hands on Elden Ring until FromSoftware gives us a definitive release date.
Notably, the game is currently available for preorder now on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and some other retailers for $60. These storefronts state that Elden Ring will release on December 31, 2021, but this is just a placeholder date.
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.
Notably, a recent leak suggested that Elden Ring will be at E3 2021, but it's impossible to tell whether or not the leak's claim is valid or trustworthy. GamesBeat editor and reputable industry insider, Jeff Grubb, has said that he doesn't believe Elden Ring will appear at E3, but notably, he also stated that he's not completely sure. We can only hope that Elden Ring will be at E3.
Elden Ring trailer and leaks
Recently, a clip from what looks to be a new trailer for the game was leaked online. This clip shows Dark Souls-style combat (it even looks like magic spells such as Homing Crystal Soulmass and Soul Greatsword are returning) and bits and pieces of world exploration on a horse, confirming Miyazaki's previous comments. This leak's legitimacy was confirmed by Bloomberg's Jason Schreier.
It's possible that this trailer is the one that's going to be played during E3 2021, but it could also be designed exclusively for internal use. We won't know for sure until it arrives officially, but what is clear that FromSoftware is preparing marketing materials for Elden Ring.
Elden Ring story and setting
So far, we don't know much about the story and setting of Elden Ring aside from the fact it's set in a fantasy universe. 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. The trailer's narrator comments that the sky "burns," and we see what appears to be a troll creature look up into it and then light on fire himself shortly afterward. Ultimately, we won't know more about how the shattered Elden Ring affects the game's world until FromSoftware shows us more.
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," said Miyazaki. "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
Like with the story, we don't know a lot about Elden Ring's gameplay. However, 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," commented Miyazaki. "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."
Overall, it sounds like Elden Ring will play a lot like Dark Souls, but will also have elements that support gameplay in open areas well. One such mechanic that we know of is horse-riding, which players can use for travel as well as combat situations.
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 more bright and 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.
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?
Due to sparse development information and the recent release of the Xbox Series X, Series S, and PS5, many fans are wondering if Elden Ring will truly come to Xbox One and PS4 like its reveal trailer indicated. There's no official word on this from FromSoftware at the moment, but the fact that you can preorder copies of the game right now for both consoles suggests that FromSoftware will honor their original commitment to last-gen consoles.
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