Elden Ring is about to be freaking huge; as Miyazaki says, "We wanted an experience for the player that was going to match that of the base game."

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree magic giant
(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

What you need to know

  • Elden Ring is a Soulslike, or sub-genre of action RPG, that challenges the player through fair, but daunting difficulty in a vast open-world.
  • Hidetaka Miyazaki says their upcoming expansion will be slightly larger than Limgrave, but he seems to be under-promising.
  • FromSoftware focused on content density when it came to the new DLC. Expect to see more dungeons per kilometer.

Top Recommendations

Profile view of the Redmagic 4K Gaming Monitor

(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Windows Central)

• Best Xbox / PC headsets in 2024
• Best Xbox controllers
• Best Xbox accessories
• Best small gaming PCs
• Best gaming laptops in 2024

In 2022, Elden Ring astounded the gaming world and later went on to earn Game of the Year. It shattered all expectations and served as a catalyst for the widespread acceptance and appreciation of Soulslike games. This captivating title managed to attract players from all corners of the globe, including those who had never explored the genre before.

FromSoftware, the brilliant minds behind Elden Ring and other renowned titles, such as Dark Souls, are now gearing up for the release of their upcoming DLC. This much-anticipated expansion, named "Shadow of the Erdtree," is looking to capitalize on the success of the base game. The expansion is scheduled to launch on June 21, and fans are eagerly waiting to see how FromSoftware will further grow the already irresistible world of Elden Ring. Given their remarkable track record, there's no doubt in my mind they'll put it off.

Recapturing the magic

FromSoftware is pretty close to being the best cinematic studio, only second to Blizzard. (Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Just moments after your first death, whether it was at the hands of a freak of nature or a forced misstep into the abyss, we all found ourselves standing before that first grand door. Do you recall the moment it swung open? The sheer massiveness that lay before you, the uncertainty of which path to take, a feeling that echoed with each of us.

Todd Howard defines this as a "step out" moment. One of which fans have grown accustomed to. For Hidetaka Miyazaki, President of FromSoftware, and Elden Ring, I'd have to credit them with four, possibly five, of these occasions. After that initial phenomenal vision, discovering Liurnia came with an audible "Woah" once you find out it matches the size of the first three areas.

That feeling of amazement kept getting one-upped, time and time again. By the time I discovered there was an entire underground area to explore, I assumed I'd be in the clouds by the game's end. The Haligtree area was damn close, but in the end, players didn't quite reach those heights. With Shadow of the Erdtree, that could all change.

I still need to run a pyromancer build! (Image credit: Bandai Namco)

In an interview with PC Gamer, Miyazaki explained, "At the very outset, there were a lot of possibilities, but one of the things that was determined very early on was that size. We wanted that sense of scale for this map, because we wanted an experience for the player that was going to match that of the base game. We wanted them to experience that sense of discovery, and that sense of wonder and exploration again. We needed a map that was going to uphold that and bolster that."

Elden Ring prep guides

In Samuel Tolbert's preview, he noted that the expansion is said to be slightly larger than the starting area of Limgrave. To him, it's a claim that "feels like an understatement." Given FromSoftware's sneaky past of under-promising and overdelivering, I have a hard time believing anything Miyazaki says. One thing is sure, as noted by our own preview and the words of Miyazaki, is that it will be denser.

"Obviously it being exactly the same, but smaller, wouldn't quite cut it, so we wanted to approach from a sense of granularity, is the word we're using," he explained. "How dense this map is, and the ratio of legacy dungeon to open field areas, and how they intertwine. This is something we wanted to explore anew in the DLC: In terms of recapturing that sense of scale but in a slightly different way with a slightly different granularity."

The time is nigh

Fallingstar Beast Jaw the sword edition? (Image credit: Bandai Namco)

I imagine FromSoftware made some form of a skyscraper regarding the map layout. From our preview, we already know how intertwined Shadow of the Erdtree feels compared to the base game. Akin in complexity to some of the more linear layouts FromSoftware is known for from Dark Souls. This thing is going to get confusingly good, and I can't wait to suffer.

Let us know your guess as to the size of the expansion. What are you most looking forward to—the weapons, bosses, spells, or something else? Let us know in the comments below or on social media, and I'll make sure to reply!

The Shadow of the Erdtree expansion launches on June 21. It will be available for Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC, and PlayStation 5.

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree Standard Edition

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree Standard Edition

Miquella's mysteries continue as Tarnished players head to the Land of Shadow, a mysterious realm filled with new monsters and powerful magic. This expansion is launching over two years after the release of the original game, and from our time hands-on, it looks amazing.

Buy for Xbox at: Best Buy | CDKeys | Xbox
Buy for PC at:
CDKeys (Steam) | GreenManGaming (Steam)

Michael Hoglund

Michael has been gaming since he was five when his mother first bought a Super Nintendo from Blockbuster. Having written for a now-defunct website in the past, he's joined Windows Central as a contributor to spreading his 30+ years of love for gaming with everyone he can. His favorites include Red Dead Redemption, all the way to the controversial Dark Souls 2.