There's an easy way to pause Elden Ring without mods

A warrior stands against a blue sky
(Image credit: From Software)

FromSoftware has a habit of making its games unpausable. For nearly two weeks, we all thought Elden Ring was no different. There's even a mod on PC that adds a pause button at the cost of having to play offline. It turns out FromSoftware snuck in a single menu option that actually does pause the game at seemingly any time.

The option is hidden deep in the menus, and you'd be forgiven for never noticing that pressing it pauses the game. Here's how to find it:

  • Press start or ESC
  • Head into any menu (like Equipment)
  • Press the back button to show contextual options
  • Select "Menu Explanation"

This option is meant to be used to literally explain what Elden Ring's various menus do, but YouTuber Iron Pineapple shared on Twitter that using the option will pause the action.

While this trick would be handy when you desperately need to answer a doorbell during a boss fight or take a bathroom break, it's not a great replacement for an actual pause button. For one, getting to it requires an annoying four-step process that takes some practice to do quickly. Then there's the real possibility that FromSoftware will see this function as an exploit that needs to be corrected in the next patch.

If you're big into pausing and don't care about Elden Ring's online features, I really think that mod is the way to go. It's pretty easy to install and can be used a lot faster with a quick press of P, but you do run the risk of being caught by FromSoftware’s supposed anti-cheat checks when you’re back online.

I've gotten pretty used to finding a quiet spot to stand before stepping away, so I'll probably use the menu trick when needed. Instead of stamping out this potential exploit, maybe all of this interest in the feature will finally convince FromSoftware to stop being weird about pausing and just put it in the game. Wishful thinking.

Thanks, VGC.


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Morgan Park
Staff Writer

Morgan has been writing for PC Gamer since 2018, first as a freelancer and currently as a staff writer. He has also appeared on Polygon, Kotaku, Fanbyte, and PCGamesN. Before freelancing, he spent most of high school and all of college writing at small gaming sites that didn't pay him. He's very happy to have a real job now. Morgan is a beat writer following the latest and greatest shooters and the communities that play them. He also writes general news, reviews, features, the occasional guide, and bad jokes in Slack. Twist his arm, and he'll even write about a boring strategy game. Please don't, though.