FromSoftware's next big RPG is officially called Elden Ring. A spooky trailer announced the game at Microsoft's E3 2019 press conference, declaring that the game will be set in a world created in collaboration between Hidetaka Miyazaki and George R.R. Martin. No wonder Mr. Martin is writing the next Game of Thrones book at such a glacial pace if he's been distracted by a foray into video games. There's not much to know about Elden Ring just yet, but with these two relentlessly grim minds, we're probably in store for a well-realized world with hauntingly beautiful lore.
Here's everything we know so far about FromSoftware's upcoming open world RPG.
When is Elden Ring's release date?
FromSoftware didn't mention a release date with the announcement trailer. Given that FromSoft is collaborating with George R.R. Martin, we just hope that whatever curse is preventing him from finishing The Winds of Winter won't transfer its bad energy to Elden Ring. We'd like to play it before the end of time.
From an interview between a Bandai Namco representative and Miyazaki, we know that Elden Ring has been in development since the final DLC of Dark Souls 3 wrapped. That said, Elden Ring may have taken a back seat to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice up until now, so it's unlikely that we'll see a gameplay demo any time soon.
Currently Target has a release date of June 30th, 2020 listed for Elden Ring which is almost certainly placeholder. That said, June 30th will be a Tuesday next year (a common day for game releases) so it's within the realm of possibility, if not entirely likely. Elden Ring has supposedly been in development since 2017 so maybe we really will get to play it next summer.
What is Elden Ring's setting?
We don't have a name for wherever Elden Ring takes place yet, nor have we really seen any evidence of the environment from the E3 trailer. It does have some seriously Norse vibes though, and given that they've called in the puppet master of Westeros to collaborate on the world's lore, we think it's safe to assume there will be a lot of grimdark viking influences.
The voiceover from the announcement trailer is pretty on point for a FromSoftware game: All mystery and doom without any hard details.
"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."
Elden Ring is FromSoftware's "biggest title yet in terms of sheer volume"
Miyazaki says that the world of Elden Ring will be "ripe for exploration." He confirms that it will take place in an open world which he refers to as a large open field to play in. While Dark Souls is relatively unrestricted in how it allows you to explore, it sounds like Elden Ring will be even moreso.
Despite being open world, Elden Ring is still a From-style game. Rather than villages bustling with NPCs that we may expect of a game like The Witcher 3, Elden Ring will stay away from a lively open world in favor of a grim one. "Creating a new type of game is a big challenge for us," Miyazaki told IGN. "If we would add towns on top of that, it would become a bit too much, so we decided to create an open world style game focused on what we are best at.” He says you'll be able to traverse Elden Ring on horseback.
Miyakazi also calls out some of the environments we may find in Elden Ring's big open field. "Among those areas, you will also find intricately designed, multi-layered castles and such." From his IGN interview, Miyazaki says players can expect ruins and other environments similar to FromSoftware's past games.
What will Elden Ring's gameplay be like?
We hope you look forward to ELDEN RING, our brand new action RPG. pic.twitter.com/ytK0yMCV4tJune 9, 2019
We have yet to see any of Elden Ring's gameplay, but the FromSoftware Twitter account calls it an Action RPG, as does Miyazaki, which should come as no surprise. In his interview, Miyakazi says that Elden Ring will focus more heavily on RPG elements, meaning that the Action RPG pendulum is probably swinging back towards Dark Souls territory and away from the flirtation with action that we saw in Sekiro.
In the Bandai Namco interview, Miyazaki also confirms that big-time boss fights are still a major part of From Software's recipe. "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."
Who will the protagonist be in Elden Ring?
Unlike Sekiro, which had a named protagonist, Elden Ring moves back towards the Dark Souls formula of creating a character in traditional RPG fashion. This may mean that instead of a strictly-defined protagonist, we'll play as a character who fits a particular role like "chosen undead" or "ashen one."
Okay but will there be a poison swamp?
FromSoftware's track record suggests that there will definitely have to be a poisonous swamp. That hasn't been confirmed at all, but it won't stop us from trying to figure out where in norse mythology Miyazaki might be able to squeeze in the Souls series' favorite locale.
George R.R. Martin got involved because Miyazaki is a huge fan
While we don't know much about the mark that G.R.R.M is going to leave on this new world, we do know even Miyazaki is excited by it. He calls himself a huge fan of Martin's work and has been known to recommend some of Martin's books to new employees.
"The actual collaboration itself begun with Mr. Martin ever so politely confirming what sorts of themes, ideas as well as many game-related aspects I had envisioned for the game," Miyazaki said.
"Even I myself find it hard to contain my excitement from time to time. We hope that everyone else is looking forward to the world we have created."