Elden Ring is set to become the most ambitious FromSoftware title to date. With George R. R. Martin attached, hype has continued to mount since its 2019 reveal. We explore everything we know so far.
The natural successor to the Dark Souls series, Elden Ring has managed to land itself the ultimate collaborator/writer for its epic, dark fantasy setting. Since its announcement at E3 2019, development studio FromSoftware, director Hidetaka Miyazaki, and Games of Thrones author George R. R. Martin have remained largely silent on Elden Ring.
However, that hasn’t stopped the rest of the world from speculating and trying to piece together what kind of game Elden Ring will be. We have collected all the most interesting, and grounded, information in one giant tome of lore. We hope you find it – quite thrilling.
The official announcement trailer
An awful lot has happened since Elden Ring was announced all the way back in 2019 at E3. Despite this, the original trailer is still the best place to start our journey into the hype machine for one particular reason – it’s official. This trailer is how FromSoftware wanted Elden Ring to be introduced to fans, and as such is pretty much our sacred text. It has many of the acclaimed studio’s hallmarks: including off-kilter dialogue, covered eyes, giant swords and flames.
Leaks, leaks, leaks: unconfirmed and undeniably exciting
The holy grail of all the Elden Ring “leaks” first appeared in March of 2021. The grainy, unfocused video clip shows off parts of the game in an unfinished state. Because of this, some fans found it rather underwhelming, leading to the suggestion that the game had been abandoned. This is all hearsay, and all evidence points to Elden Ring still being under development.
So, if you want to only watch what FromSoftware want you to watch avert your eyes. Otherwise, check out this collection of all the leaked footage we have available.
First point: horses are coming to Elden Ring. This means there could be a more non-linear approach to exploring the game’s world. We can also predict that the addition of horses will mean the world of Elden Ring will be bigger than any of FromSoftware’s prior releases.
Other than that, we get a nice look at some of the enemies we will be fighting; undoubtedly on our quest to find the titular Elden Ring. The fact that dragons make an appearance is noteworthy, although not particularly surprising considering who is involved with the game.
The scenery looks beautiful, and reminiscent of Dark Souls; although far less winding and interconnected than we have grown accustomed to.
Leaked Elden Ring concept art
New Elden Ring leaks 🚨— Okami (@Okami13_) December 29, 2020
• Two new concept arts. First one is an enemy from the trailer.
• Norse/Celtic setting.
• Similar gameplay to Dark Souls but a much larger map • Dynamic weather/TOD cycle.
• Currently in polishing stage, scheduled for 2021. #EldenRing #FromSoftware pic.twitter.com/6FjYHBPimg
Reputable Chinese source 龙崎棒棒糖 (a content creator deeply involved in the Souls franchise) has leaked some potentially true information about the game and the state it’s currently in. A prominent leaker who goes by the handle Okami has backed up the claims.
As with any leaks, please consider this information completely unconfirmed.
Two pieces of concept art were shared, one showing a front-on view of the red-haired warrior seen in Elden Ring’s E3 2019 trailer, and another depicting a grotesque part-snake, part-human figure. The original source also shared that the gameplay elements of Elden Ring would be more similar to Dark Souls than previous singular FromSoftware IPs Bloodborne or Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, which will surely appease some fans (others, not so much).
Confirmation: Elden Ring still exists
By Thomas Noss
As 2020 drew to a close, we scored some confirmation that the game is in a playable state. In an interview with GameSpot, Xbox head Phil Spencer stated that “I’ve seen actually quite a bit. I’ve played quite a bit.”
“As somebody who’s played all of Miyazaki’s games over at least the last decade, this is clearly the most ambitious game that he’s done. I mean, I love his games, but seeing some of the gameplay mechanics stuff that he’s tackling, he and the team are tackling this time, of the setting, working with another creator in terms of story. I love it.”
Referring to Elden Ring as Miyazaki’s most ambitious game yet is more than enough reason for fans of the Souls series to get hyped, but most of them just seem to be stoked that the game is in a playable state.
If Phil Spencer is playing it, you can almost guarantee that it’ll be available on Xbox, and that it’s in a state that’s worthy of his attention. You can check out the entire interview below.
This followed a tweet from FromSoftware on October 31st mentioning Elden Ring, the first official communication from the developer in a damned long time. It was enough to send fan groups (including the official Elden Ring subreddit) into a frenzy – they’re that desperate.
Though information is still scarce, it’s reassuring to know that yes, this game exists. See you in 2023, maybe?
We also greatly appreciate all the enthusiasm and support shown for "ELDEN RING", our next Dark Fantasy Action RPG. We hope you look forward to it. pic.twitter.com/NOUBeacOPd— FROMSOFTWARE (@fromsoftware_pr) October 31, 2020
Not long after this burst of info (yes, two quotes constitutes a burst of info where this game is concerned), Elden Ring was crowned Most Anticipated at The Game Awards 2020, an honour that made FromSoftware’s Marketing and Communication Manager Yasuhiro Kitao personally responded to on Twitter.
It seems the world might not be mended for a while yet, but please take care of yourselves and enjoy the New Year in good spirits and good health. See you in 2021.— FROMSOFTWARE／Kitao (@YasuhiroKitao) December 30, 2020
Story and lore speculation
By James He
The collaboration between FromSoftware and George R. R. Martin has delighted both Dark Souls and Game of Thrones fans. This wouldn’t be the first time FromSoftware has drawn inspiration from dark fantasy stories, with fans of the series noting that Berserk had a huge influence upon the world of Dark Souls.
With an overwhelming resemblance to the popular Japanese dark fantasy manga since their first game, it is hard to believe that Elden Ring would deviate from this tradition.
It’s no surprise that the writer of A Song of Ice and Fire was chosen to work on this. The announcement trailer’s voice-over captures the dark fantasy atmosphere of both sides in this collaboration.
“I doubt you could even imagine it. That which commanded the skies, giving life its fullest brilliance. The Elden Ring. Shattered, by someone or something. Don’t tell me you don’t see it. Look up at the sky. It burns.”
Overwhelming dragons, massive legions, hordes of the undead, and a hero to face them all. Overthrowing common themes within most RPGs (such as the hustle and bustle of numerous NPCS), this game is committed towards preserving the dark fantasy setting.
Whatever it may be, we can’t wait to uncover the rich storyline within the world of Elden Ring.
By James He
With very few details revealed as of yet, gameplay notes have been hard to come across. What we can assume is that Elden Ring will play off the systems established across Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and hopefully reinvent them while providing plenty of new pieces of action for players to sink their teeth into.
We can assume that the combat system fundamentals will be reminiscent of the Dark Souls series – it’s hard to see them throwing away the well-polished system they have created over the years.
Elden Ring will reportedly include horseback riding which is a first for FromSoftware but a staple in fantasy RPGs. We have also been promised intricate environments to explore with multiple layers in floor design, (one can only hope they’re as good as Lothric castle).
As for the boss fights, Dark Souls fans can already expect it. FromSoftware’s Miyazaki states, “Boss fights are something we enjoy making and make up one of the climaxes to this title as well. We feel there is a wide variety of unique and horrifying bosses for players to look forward to.”
So yes, players will probably die countless times once again before reaping the sweet satisfaction of triumph. Praise the sun!
One mount to rule them all
The ResetEra forums have been set alight with rumours, stemming from a post by prominent leaker Omnipotent, regarding the number of available mounts in Elden Ring. That number, reportedly, is a grand total of one. Omnipotent claims that the player character will only have access to one mount, and that that mount will in fact be a red elk – or as he refers to it a ‘Yakul’. The name ‘Yakul’ is a reference to Hayao Miyazaki’s iconic Princess Mononoke, which features a hero that rides a beautiful, loyal red elk.
The music of Elden Ring
By James He
The revered Yuka Kitamura will be working on the music composition on Elden Ring. The critically acclaimed BGM in FromSoftware’s previous works has been confirmed after her response towards a fan on Twitter.
Yes, I am🌟— Yuka Kitamura (@_Yuka_Kitamura_) March 25, 2020
Release date: tinfoil hat edition
By James He
There has been very little detail pointing towards the release date of Elden Ring since the game’s single development update at E3 2019. With little to no communication from the Japanese developers amidst the rampant pandemic, it almost seemed as if this project was hinging on the verge of being cancelled.
An Italian source eventually hinted us towards the contrary, saying the game was well into development and set for release in 2021 (without a setback yet). The leaker, who claimed to be working on the Italian translation of the game, mentioned that history could “repeat itself”. This has been speculated to be a nod towards the release of Dark Souls 2 which was released following a next-generation console.
This theory is highly plausible, given how the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X were set in stone for 2020’s holiday period. With the two consoles out now, perhaps the arrival of Elden Ring will be sooner than expected.
Recent leaks and industry chatter seem to be pointing to a 2021 release date, yet it’s entirely possible that’s simply wishful thinking from the fanbase at large. If Elden Ring is arriving in 2021, it’ll easily be one of the year’s most anticipated games.
Update: Amazon currently lists the release date for Elden Ring as 31 December 2021. This date is unofficial, and is really there as a placeholder. However, it’s a comforting thought to think we will be able to usher in 2022 by sliding a brand new Elden Ring disc into our chosen console.