Last updated on July 2nd, 2019
The next FromSoftware title has been revealed as Elden Ring, and fans of the Souls series have many unanswered questions about the title. In This Elden Ring: Everything We Know article, we summarize all the bits and pieces scattered through the wind, and give you some insight into possible release dates and features.
Everything we Know about Elden Ring: Release Date, Action RPG, Souls-like, Open World
- Elden Ring has been in production since the end of the Dark Souls III DLC.
This is in contrast to Sekiro, that begun production in 2015 after Bloodborne.
- Elden Ring will release on PC, Xbox One and Playstation 4
- Bandai Namco is publishing and has registered the Elden Ring IP
- Elden Ring Release Date – From our observations
The release window for this game is unlikely to match FromSoftware’s traditional March-April, and is more likely to fall into Dark Souls’ September-October release.
- “Elden Ring is a third-person action RPG with a fantasy setting… gameplay is not so far from Dark Souls… Elden Ring belongs to the same genre.”
- Plethora of weapons, magic and builds, and a focus on RPG elements. FromSoftware expects equipment variety to be larger than Souls in this regard.
- No main fixed protagonist, players create the characteristics and personality of their character. This leads us to believe Character Creation is a given.
- The World of Elden Ring is vast and interconnected. No longer a continuity of “levels”, players see vast landscapes in between the “dungeon-esque” areas.
- The larger world scale allows for freedom, promotes exploration, and introduces new and exciting mechanics, such as Horse Riding and Mounted Combat.
- Elden Ring is a “natural evolution of Dark Souls.” New mechanics needed by this larger world. Expect FromSoftware’s trademark challenging boss battles.
- Towns won’t be full of villagers, merchants and the like. They will be ruins, dungeons and exploration hubs. As Souls there is no vast population of NPCs.
- The NPCs the player finds are expected to be the most compelling yet in the studio’s work, thanks to Martin’s involvement in the Mythos.
- George R. R. Martin has written the world’s mythos and Hidetaka Miyazaki has written the game story.
- Story will be revealed through “fragments of environmental storytelling” as in previous Souls games.
- Mythos and the present moment of the player are connected and exploration will lead players to understand why things are as they are.
- There is no information at time of writing about multiplayer/online/invasions.
Mythos Vs Story
Without doubt the most unexpectedly welcome development we know is that the game is being produced in collaboration with George R. R. Martin. This has prompted a lot of interest outside of Souls fans, not least as the Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls game worlds had dark “Western” fantasy settings, and Martin is of course best known for the Song of Fire and Ice/Game of Thrones series. While we’re very curious to see what this collaboration will look like, we already know we shouldn’t be expecting a Martin-penned story. In an interview with Bandai Namco, game director Hidetaka Miyazaki explained the collaborative process involved Martin discussing Miyazaki’s ideas, and then writing the world’s backstory after that. Confirming this in discussion with IGN, Miyazaki explained that he felt the process of videogame design would be too constricting for the author. So while Martin has provided the “mythos,” the game story is all Miyazaki.
Elden Ring Trailer Analysis
Considering the E3 2019 debut trailer, this isn’t too surprising. While characteristically vague in typical FROM style, we can perceive some very Miyazaki-like themes. We learn from the voice over that the Elden Ring, “that which commanded the stars, giving life its fullest brilliance” has been destroyed, and also that the sky is burning. This of course brings parallels to the collapsing sun of the Souls universe, and how such sun would be commanding the stars, and giving life brilliance.
The tone is furthered by visuals of destruction and decay, including a severed arm, a woman slotting a prosthetic arm using her other decaying hand, and the blacksmith figure who appears desiccated, cracking and collapsing at the end of the trailer. This is classic FROM, with fin de siècle themes of a dead or dying world, of darkness overcoming the light. And let’s not forget Dark Souls was originally going to be titled Dark Ring, until someone smartened up that it might mean something unpleasant in some slang.
The one-armed warrior might be inspired by Nuada Airgetlám (Nuada Silver Hand/Arm), an Irish mythos based around a deposed king that takes the throne back after ten years of rival oppression. This is significant in setting the possible inspirations for the game, which are said to be Gaelic, Celtic and Nordic.
We see in the trailer part of a golden curve apparently in splinters. We know from the IGN interview that the ring is not a LOTR style device, an actual wearable magical ring, but is more thematic, a force that “forms the rules and rhythm of this world. This also discounts possible connections to Fromsoftware’s Eternal Ring game – as in that game the Rings were indeed physical objects.
The Elden Ring of the trailer has, in spite of not being a physical accessory, been shattered. Of course the apparent blacksmith figure in the footage is deliberately provocative: is he the destroyer, or is he trying to fix something? We’re probably wrong either way! But what is interesting is that figure, and others, in apparent states of dissolution and yet still live, and of course there is that severed arm which is still twitching. Is the ring the cycle of rebirth? Or has its destruction prevented people and creatures from passing normally in some other way?
What we found interesting on that piece of speculation is Miyazaki’s revelation of exactly which of Martin’s books it is that he recommended to his team: not GoT, but Fevre Dream¸ Martin’s tale of immortal vampires seeking to remedy the curse of their existence. We’ve seen Miyazaki put death and undeath central to the Dark Souls world; could this be another area of inspiration and collaboration, in addition to the dark Western fantasy world we’ve just been introduced to?
The Elden Ring might well be a concept like the “Dark Sign” of the Souls series. The “linking of the fire” might carry over in a similar manner as the concept of Fire, Ash, Darkness and Rebirth is re-framed as a Ring and possibly a collection of ethereal, dimensional or, should the “Sun” theory hold true, cosmic rings.
Lastly on game theme, Miyazaki commented in the Xbox Wire interview that there was a theme of will, or ambition of mankind. Certainly the “Gaia damaged by human action” trope is extensive in JRPG world stories (including famously Final Fantasy VII) and this would fit Miyazaki’s style of dying world storytelling. However, he also said that was one theme, and a theme represented by one of the presented character artworks. There may be more, and you might want to explore the screenshot gallery here.
Elden Ring Gameplay Concepts
Open World & Mounted Combat
So far, so mysterious. Let’s move on to things we actually do know. First up, this is going to be Souls-like, FROM-like, Miyazaki-like Action RPG, as spelled out clearly in Twitter, YouTube, and all the interviews Miyazaki has granted. In terms of game world, it seems the intention is to build on the Souls experience but in a far broader world. The phrase “open world” has got people excited, but Miyazaki has qualified this, stating “there are many definitions to the term ‘open world,’ and I might not be phrasing it correctly, but we have simply tried our own approach to a game with a large, open field to play in.” So anyone expecting a Daggerfall-size Great Britain full of Souls enemies is likely to be disappointed. However, it does seem the intent is to do more than simply do away with loading screens between areas. The player will be able to ride a horse between locations, and indeed be able to do battle from horseback, which indicates an increase in scope.
While this sounds more Skyrim-esque, there are key differences that once again point back to the Souls experience. For example, villages will not be NPC hubs for quest objective accumulation and trade: “Villages will be the dark dungeon-like ruins that you have come to expect from us,” according to Miyazaki. So it sounds like rather than have narrow, constricting battle areas linked by loading screens or long elevator rides, there will be those traditional “dungeons,” but they will be linked by an open world which will have its own battle character, as well as opportunities for further exploration and discovery of the world’s story. We’re looking forward to seeing how much variety these very different environments will present for combat, and to the contrast between the vast landscapes and the “detailed and intricately designed castles” we have been promised.
Character Creation, Equipment, Stats
And finally, on that note: character creation. Miyazaki stated in the Bandai Namco interview that “this title will include a wide variety of weapons, magic, and ways to engage enemies, that make it possible to provide users with a style of gameplay and strategy that suits them”. It was further emphasized that this was the largest project in terms of scale and that they expect the variety of equipment and combat approaches to surpass Souls titles. This is further reinforced by a call-out to “fun, action, melee combat” and “unique and horrifying” bosses.
Miyazaki also stated that “there is no fixed main character in Elden Ring. We mostly leave it up to the player to decide the characteristics and personality of the character they create.” That does sound like modern RPGs where there is a central role in the game but it is up to the player to design the look, making the central character a player avatar. Does that mean Elder Scrolls style levels of control from fatness to cheekbones? This is yet unconfirmed, with Miyazaki commenting the game contains “character customisation elements.” Not explicitly a “Character Creation” confirmation, but given that the game is said to evolve Souls, we see no reason why this would be scaled back, particularly if battle approach versatility is to be expanded.
Elden Ring Release Date and News
Many were left wanting with the cinematic teaser and the limited availability of interviews and replies. From here on out, fans are likely to hear about the game at four crucial junctions this year:
- Playstation Tokyo Event on July 15th.
- Gamescom 2019 in August.
- Tokyo Game Show in September .
- The Game Awards in December.
That said, Bandai Namco has a tendency to make their own announcements at times of convenience, such as the announcement of Dark Souls Remastered being unveiled in January at a Nintendo event. What is clear from the timeline, however, is that it is unlikely that the title will be released in March or April 2020. Were the game ready prepared for such, E3 would have shown gameplay instead of just a teaser, so we are about 6 months behind a typical release window. This would then push it back to the September-October window, so gameplay may only be forthcoming by TGS 2019.
If you don’t want to miss anything about Elden Ring, bookmark our Elden Ring News Feed, or the Elden Ring Wiki Homepage, where we will be sharing the latest information, news, gameplay and details on Elden Ring as soon as they are live. If you want to check out similar games, we suggest having a peak at Project Awakening!