In a recorded presentation shown at the 2022 Taipei Game Show, Elden Ring producer Yasuhiro Kitao said FromSoft's upcoming action-RPG Elden Ring will take about 30 hours to beat—but you can put a lot more time than that into it if you want to.
"This will differ significantly by player, but in terms of the targets set during development, the idea is that the main route should be able to be completed within around 30 hours," Kitao said. "The game as a whole is quite massive, and contains many dozens more hours worth of gameplay, but if we are talking about the main route only, it shouldn't take much longer than that."
Game length is a tricky metric. Give me a big, overflowing world that I can really immerse myself in and I'll blow playtime estimates out of the water just wandering, exploring, and enjoying the sights. But a short, sharp experience can be every bit as satisfying: Max Payne 2 was astonishingly short and remains one of my favorite games of all time.
I'm not sure what to make of the 30 hour estimate—I've never played a FromSoft game, so I can't really contextualize it—but it has me mildly concerned. I resolved to play Elden Ring when it comes out and I aim to stand by that commitment, but at this stage of things (that is, the point where I'm beginning to ask myself what I've really signed up for), it feels like a lot.
In case it doesn't auto-start, the relevant segment starts at 33:00.
Fortunately for people like me, FromSoft is apparently taking steps to ensure Elden Ring doesn't kick my ass too hard. Kitao said that because the game world is so large, developers are taking extra steps to avoid inflicting unnecessary stress on players.
"When you die in this title, for example, the crystallized form of the experience you have gained, what was termed 'souls' in previous titles and is known as 'runes' here, is left on the spot where you met your demise," he explained. "You respawn again at the nearest checkpoint, and have to make it all the way back to recover these runes, but with the map being so vast, this can become an unwanted stress for the player.
"With that in mind, we have identified a number of difficult spots, places with lots of enemies or powerful foes, as points at which many players will die and need to reattempt that challenge. The player is able to select the option of respawning very near the spot of their death for these locations. This kind of measure is another example of the team's efforts to implement systems to mitigate player stress caused by the sheer magnitude of the game map."
I'm not sure "we made respawning more convenient because you're going to die repeatedly" is quite the comfort Kitao seems to think it is, but I suppose I'll take what I can get.
It was also revealed at the Taipei Game Show that Elden Ring has now officially gone gold. That's a term that doesn't mean as much as it used to in this era of digital distribution, but it does mean (probably) no more delays. Barring unforeseen, absolute catastrophe, Elden Ring will be out on February 25.