Based on Dark Souls' DLC history, here's when we think Elden Ring will get an expansion

Elden Ring character Iji reading a book
(Image credit: Tyler C. / FromSoftware)

There was no other videogame like Elden Ring in 2022. And I don't mean that as a breathless compliment, even if Elden Ring was our game of the year. I mean it literally. No other videogame that sold 20 million copies in 2022 ventured out with no battle pass or DLC season pass, no premium cosmetics, no level boosts—not a single way to milk those 18 million players for just a few more bucks when they craved more Elden Ring. That's just not how big budget videogames work anymore. Even Nintendo wants you to buy an Amiibo to unlock extra stuff in this summer's The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.

After a flurry of post-launch balance and bug fixes in March and April, FromSoftware spent most of 2022 quiet, occasionally popping up with another small Elden Ring update and a glaring lack of news about anything more substantial. December 7's free Colosseum DLC, focused on multiplayer, was the kind of snack that'll just make most Elden Ring players want a full meal. We are hungry, and we want to know when we'll get to eat again.

FromSoftware isn't talking. Maybe Elden Ring's one-year anniversary this weekend will be the impetus for the studio to finally announce an expansion (or three, if we're dreaming). Maybe not. We can't look to other 2022 games for an idea of when to expect Elden Ring DLC, but what about FromSoftware's own games? Their DLC history may prove a bit more informative.

Demon's Souls

First released: February 5, 2009

FromSoftware didn't make DLC for Demon's Souls, instead focusing on development of Dark Souls, which it released two and a half years later. Demon's Souls was a bit of a sleeper hit, taking until 2011 to sell a million copies. By the time it would've made sense for FromSoftware to think about DLC, Dark Souls was already well underway. Its sales would end up eclipsing Demon's Souls' almost immediately.

Dark Souls

Dark Souls - Ornstein & Smough bosses in their golden armor and holding weapons in a cutscene defore their boss fight.

(Image credit: Bandai Namco, FromSoftware)

First released: September 22, 2011

Days until DLC announcement: 202

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ExpansionAnnouncedReleasedDays to DLC
Artorias of the AbyssApril 11, 2012October 23, 2012397

The first bit of DLC in the Souls series, and perhaps still the biggest. Artorias of the Abyss transports you back in time 100 years to face the knight whose name looms large over all of Dark Souls. It's a dramatic showdown, and also one of the first Souls battles to pit you up against a more human-sized, fast-moving character, foreshadowing the faster-paced combat of Dark Souls 3. According to a 2012 interview, Artorias of the Abyss only came about because of the PC port. 

"Conceptually we never had considered doing any downloadable content," producer Daisuke Uchiyama said. " was all decided and discussed after we had released the console version due to the online petition for the PC version."

Faster DLC turnarounds for the sequels suggest they were planned while the games were still in development.

Dark Souls 2

Dark Souls 2 art

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

First released: March 11, 2014

Days until DLC announcement: 85

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ExpansionAnnouncedReleasedDays to DLC
Crown of the Sunken KingJune 4, 2014July 22, 2014133
Crown of the Old Iron KingJune 4, 2014August 26, 2014168
Crown of the Ivory KingJune 4, 2014September 29, 2014202

FromSoftware's most expansive set of DLC was also the quickest to arrive. Season passes were in vogue when Dark Souls 2 came out, and the sequel definitely had a bit of a "bigger is better" philosophy behind it in both design and Bandai Namco's marketing and post-launch plans. In January 2014, producer Takeshi Miyazoe said there was "definitely potential" for DLC, but based on Crown of the Sunken King's speedy release, my guess is that it was already in development, or at least planning, before Dark Souls 2 released.

Each of these expansions added a self-contained area to Dark Souls 2 that took about five hours to work through. FromSoftware's essentially used the same blueprint for all of its expansions, which may not be as neat a fit for Elden Ring's open world. Perhaps that's why it's taken so much longer to arrive. 


Bloodbourne person clad in black sitting on throne

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

First released: March 24, 2015

Days until DLC announcement: 175 

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ExpansionAnnouncedReleasedDays to DLC
The Old HuntersSeptember 15, 2015November 24, 2015245

Bloodborne was published by and co-developed with Sony, but the design of The Old Hunters follows the FromSoftware blueprint. New standalone area. A chunky eight or so hours to play through. Sony held back the announcement longer than Bandai Namco did with either of the Dark Souls sequels, but otherwise it seems standard. Not much to learn here, other than FromSoftware's consistency.  

Dark Souls 3

Watching sand fall through your hand in Dark Souls 3

(Image credit: Bandai-Namco)

First released: March 24, 2016

Days until DLC announcement: -37

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ExpansionAnnouncedReleasedDays to DLC
Ashes of AriandelFebruary 16, 2016October 24, 2016214
The Ringed CityFebruary 16, 2016March 28, 2017369

While the details of Dark Souls 3's expansions didn't come until much later, publisher Bandai Namco announced plans for a season pass about five weeks before the RPG released. To date it's the first and only time a FromSoftware game has had DLC announced in advance. While Ashes of Ariandel is roughly the same size as a Dark Souls 2 expansion, The Ringed City is longer, capping off the Dark Souls trilogy with a True Final Boss showdown.

The Ringed City is the one Souls expansion that makes me optimistic about an imminent expansion for Elden Ring. It arrived more than a year after the initial release, pointing to a lengthy development period. More importantly, it was bundled up into a Game of the Year edition of Dark Souls 3 on April 21, 2023, just a month later. That's a playbook that could easily be replicated with Elden Ring—considering how many GOTY awards it won, it's hard to imagine Bandai Namco not going for the easy money of a re-release with some new goodies.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Sekiro field

(Image credit: From Software)

First released: March 22, 2019

Days until DLC announcement: 495 days

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UpdateAnnouncedReleasedDays to DLC
Sekiro Free UpdateJuly 29, 2020October 29, 2020587 days

If there's any promising data here, it's the gap between the release of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and its free update, which added a boss rush mode, some new outfits and a light online feature that let you record a ghost of your shinobi for other players to watch. It would be disappointing if Elden Ring's final update were equally lightweight, but it shows how long FromSoftware will commit to a game.

Sekiro broke from the tradition of FromSoftware's RPGs, with no proper expansion added to its campaign. But that makes a lot of sense if you've played Sekiro, which is a more linear and delicately balanced action game, not as conducive to having a new area bolted on as an exploration-driven RPG. Another possible explanation: Sekiro was being developed concurrently with Elden Ring, and this update added in features that FromSoftware had intended for release but cut for time.

 So… Elden Ring DLC when? 

Elden Ring intro cutscene Marika shatters the ring

(Image credit: From Software)

Unless FromSoftware surprise drops a completed Elden Ring expansion the same day it announces it, we're likely to sail past The Ringed City's 369 day schedule. My optimistic guess is that Elden Ring will get an expansion at least double the size and scope of what FromSoftware did for any of the Souls games, adding a whole area to the world map of The Lands Between and a new legacy dungeon within it. But there's actually a perfect setup for a more self-contained Elden Ring expansion waiting in the lore.

The common speculation for Elden Ring DLC is that it'll focus on Miquella, Malenia's twin brother, whose story is touched on throughout Elden Ring but never fully explored. Miquella can be seen slumbering in his cocoon in the chamber of boss Mohg, Lord of Blood. Miquella could either awaken, transforming The Lands Between in some way or granting access to a new area—or a DLC could take place in his dream, freeing FromSoftware from having to integrate the expansion into the existing world map. The game even had a dream-related mechanic cut during development.

Would that dream take us into the past, before the fall of the demigods? Or tell a wholly separate story? I hope we find out on Elden Ring's anniversary. The timing for a DLC release this spring just fits too well. Bandai Namco's got to be itching to release that GOTY edition soon, right?

There's still the possibility that no expansion is coming, and any future updates FromSoftware releases will be smaller additions. But the studio definitely isn't completely finished with Elden Ring just yet. The last updates to its development branches, according to SteamDB, came just days ago. Something's definitely cooking—hopefully it's enough to wake Miquella and get us back into The Lands Between. 

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).