2020 was a long, hard year, and it was a year without Elden Ring. After its E3 2019 reveal, we saw and heard virtually nothing, as FromSoftware toiled away in secret. For so long, we knew Elden Ring was still coming, but we hadn't seen it in action, or even gotten another scrap of concept art. At last, that's finally changed. I doubt you could even imagine it!
Elden Ring has finally reemerged, not in a leak, and not in cryptic hints. It's very real, and it's coming relatively soon, actually. It isn't making it out in 2021, but it's arriving in January 2022. It looks worth the wait: the new trailer is absolutely packed. From what we've seen so far, this is definitely a Souls-style game, a very pretty, new Souls game.
Here's what we know about Elden Ring, its release date, and that long-awaited new trailer.
Check out Elden Ring's first gameplay trailer
Damn, there is a lot going on here. Let's just take a minute to absorb it. Then watch it a few more times.
As hoped, Elden Ring did show up at the Summer Game Fest event hosted by Geoff Keighley, right before the rest of E3. Can we just skip the rest of the press conferences now?
In this three minute trailer, FromSoftware showed off a good chuck of gameplay with all sorts of familiar Souls game action. The art design is absolutely Souls, and a lot of the series staples are here, too. Resting at bonfires, backstabs, giant bosses. References to the the "tarnished," which sounds like a likely fill-in for hollows.
There are definitely some new things to catch here too, though. There's mounted horse combat, for one. The action looks like it could be taking some of the speed and feel of Sekiro, but it's hard to say just how it'll feel from the snippets in the trailer.
Check out this article where we dive into the trailer and pick apart the most significant details we noticed within it.
The latest Elden Ring details from its re-reveal
There's so much to scrutinize and discuss in the Elden Ring trailer above, but the official site and a press release from Bandai Namco also include some new information. Here's a round-up of major news.
• Multiplayer is in, with players seemingly showing up as blue shades much like in Dark Souls
• There's a stealth system
• Elden Ring has weather and time systems
• Your horse looks to materialize out of thin air, and has the ability to leap up sheer cliff faces
• You're not a hollow, you're "Tarnished"
• There are characters "with their own unique motivations for helping or hindering the player’s progress"
• "Players will choose the fate of this cursed land by unravelling its secrets and myths"
• Bandai Namco reiterates it's an RPG with "with a wide variety of weapons, magical abilities and skills found throughout the world" that let you choose your play style
• Bandai Namco might have some spin-off material planned, based on this press release quote from president Yasuo Miyakawa: "We will continue to develop Elden Ring not only as a game but also in a variety of other areas in order to deliver the worldview and charm of this title to our fans around the world"
Here are a bunch of screenshots from the trailer
When is Elden Ring's release date?
Elden Ring launches on January 21, 2022. Wow, that feels pretty good to write down. We'd been hoping for a look at Elden Ring for a while but weren't sure if we'd be hearing about a release date when we did.
Thank goodness whatever curse is keeping George R.R. Martin, from finishing The Winds of Winter hasn't transferred its bad energy to Elden Ring.
Here's the 2019 announcement trailer and initial description
FromSoftware CEO (and game director) Hidetaka Miyazaki says Elden Ring will have an open world "ripe for exploration," but we should expect the Souls DNA to be very much intact. The game world and lore aren't entirely FromSoft's own creation, this time around. Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin collaborated with the game developers early on to help create the setting. That means it's almost certainly going to be bleak as hell, and we're already looking forward to the flavor text.
Elden Ring's announcement trailer is certainly full of atmosphere if not answers. 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."
Phil Spencer has played "quite a bit" of Elden Ring
When you're the boss of the entire console platform partnered with Elden Ring, that apparently means you can to play an early build. Xbox chief Phil Spencer did, anyway, and he had a lot of nice things to say about it in an interview with Gamespot.
"I've seen actually quite a bit. I've played quite a bit. As somebody who's played all of Miyazaki's games over at least the last decade, this is clearly the most ambitious game that he's done. I mean, y'know, I love his games, but seeing some of the gameplay mechanics stuff that he's tackling, he and the team are tackling this time, [seeing] the setting, working with another creator in terms of story… I love it. I love seeing him challenging himself, he's a good friend of mine, expanding his horizons, I think it's a good thing."
Spencer is a professional, so he expectedly didn't give away anything we didn't already know about the game. Yes yes, Phil, we know it's "ambitious" and bigger than From's previous games, but what about the combat and lore? Ah well, he did share an anecdote about Miyazaki apparently leaving the room during his play session.
"When he has me play, I go over, he has to leave the room. I think that's because I'm a bad player, and then when he comes back we'll have a conversation about things that I think. He's so passionate about what he does. It's one of the things I just love about getting to work with him on some of these games and seeing them come to our platform," Spencer said.
What is Elden Ring's setting?
George R.R. Martin wrote the "overarching mythos"
After Elden Ring's announcement, Miyazaki explained a bit of how GRRM was involved with the project. When they got to work, Miyazaki began by explaining his overall vision to Martin, describing "what sorts of themes, ideas, as well as many game-related aspects" he envisioned.
"This allowed us to have many free and creative conversations regarding the game," said Miyazaki, "in which Mr. Martin later used as a base to write the overarching mythos for the game world itself."
"This mythos proved to be full of interesting characters and drama along with a plethora of mystical and mysterious elements as well," said Miyazaki. "It was a wonderful source of stimulus for me and the development staff. Elden Ring’s world was constructed using this mythos and stimulus as a base. 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."
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?
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. But from the gameplay reveal trailer above, it's safe to say the action here will be much faster than the original Dark Souls. That's unsurprising, considering Sekiro, Bloodborne, and even Dark Souls 3 are all faster, more responsive games.
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." The "tarnished," perhaps?
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.
Dark Souls 3's composer is working on Elden Ring
It doesn't come as a huge surprise to hear that veteran From Software composer Yuka Kitamura is also working on Elden Ring. Kitamura was also involved in Sekiro and Dark Souls 3.
After changing her Twitter handle to her professional name (instead of her favorite Golden Sun character) a fan asked Kitamura if she's working on Elden Ring. Good news, she is!
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."