You can't pause in Elden Ring. Why? Because it's a FromSoftware game, and FromSoftware thinks it adds a bit of challenge. That's all well and good for those who want to challenge their bladder to a mid-boss fight standoff, but when there's a pizza delivery at the door, the 'no pause' thing instantly goes from cute to crisis of the highest order.
Thankfully, just a few days after launch, modder TechieW has come to the rescue with a simple mod (opens in new tab) that adds a pause button to the PC version of Elden Ring. It's pretty easy to install and works tremendously well. Take a look:
There's only one catch that applies to every Elden Ring mod at the moment: You'll have to disable Easy Anti-Cheat for the game to launch properly with the mod installed. It's a fast process and easily reversible if you follow this handy guide (opens in new tab) from Windows Central. Turning off EAC will also cause the game to launch in offline mode, which means co-op and invasions are disabled and you won't see player messages or bloodstains either.
If you've been tearing through Worlds Between with co-op buddies (opens in new tab) then the pause mod probably isn't worth the hassle, but if you're a parent who's poking at Elden Ring alone and needs the option to drop everything at a moment's notice, this is a perfect solution.
As Nexus Mods user MooseDef points out in the mod post's comments (opens in new tab), pausing would also be great for taking screenshots, though by default there's a big "game paused" menu on-screen. Mod author TechieW said there's an (untested) way to get rid of the on-screen message by deleting the mod's "hook_textures" and "hook_fonts" folders in Elden Ring's game folder. I wasn't actually able to take screenshots through normal means while the game was paused (the Steam screenshot key did nothing until I unpaused and neither did my Nvidia Shadowplay hotkey), but OBS worked just fine.
Elden Ring guide: Conquer the Lands Between
Elden Ring bosses: How to beat them
Elden Ring dungeons: How to defeat them
Elden Ring paintings: Solutions and locations
Elden Ring map fragments: Reveal the world
Elden Ring co-op: How to squad up online