Elden Ring’s announcement trailer during the E3 2019 press conference left many a FromSoftware fans clueless as to the type of game that Hidetaka Miyazaki is trying to make next
With Sekiro leaving players stunned with how much the game departs from the ‘SoulsBorne like’ style of combat and gameplay, there is a lot of speculation as to what Elden Ring will be bringing with it. Especially after the fact that it’s going to be one of FromSoftware's most ambitious projects yet.
But perhaps, the game being open world and based on Norse mythos wasn’t the biggest take away in our minds when the trailer was revealed. What truly blew the internet up was the fact that the developers will be making the game in collaboration with George R. R. Martin, the author of A Song of Ice and Fire.
So, not only can we expect a change in gameplay and combat mechanics, but a thematic shift in the usual SoulsBorne type of genre as well.
During the E3 press conference, Miyazaki had said that,
“With a larger world, new systems and action mechanics inevitably become necessary. In that sense, I think that Elden Ring is a more natural evolution of Dark Souls.”
But are these subtle and sometimes even drastic changes in themes and gameplay all that unexpected?
Every FromSoftware game added new elements
Truth be told, FromSoftware had been adding fresh elements and gameplay aspects to their IPs ever since the release of Demon Souls. Albeit, subtle at first, the changes became more significant over time, with the initial noticeable shift found in Bloodborne.
In 2015, Miyazaki was able to bring the Lovecraftian horror to life in such a way that completely departed from how Kojima’s Silent Hills had been exploiting the genre previously.
Much of Dark Souls’ gameplay revolved around fitting your character with armor while turtling behind a shield and attacking when the opportunity presented itself. Bloodborne did away with all the excess defenses and left the player with nothing but a trick weapon, a gun, and a lot of fashionable clothing.
Sekiro, on the other hand, introduced the concept of shinobi prosthetics, along with a semi-open world setting and a grappling hook, which provided players with a lot of mobility. But the most significant element of Sekiro was the ‘parry mechanic,’ which was something that was completely new to the field of video gaming.
The parry played out like a sword dance with a specific rhythm to it. Depending on the opponent you faced, the parry rhythm would change, making you adapt to various situations differently.
This wasn’t the first time that FromSoftware was able to create a genre-defining game mechanic that many other developers would like to copy and implement in their own IP (yes NioH we’re looking at you).
What can we expect to find in Elden Ring?
FromSoftware has always been shy about revealing too much about their games before the official release. So, it’s not all that surprising that even after 6-months from the trailer’s release we are yet to see more details about the game than what has already been confirmed.
But there are a lot of speculations as of yet and a lot that we can expect from Miyazaki’s upcoming title.
#1 Bleak, yet intricate Bloodline drama
If you’re familiar with Martin’s works, you will know that dark humor and bloodline dramas are the author’s M. O. And with him collaborating with Miyazaki, you can expect Elden Ring to have that as the story’s base, mixed in with Miyazaki's intricate narrative technique and deep characterization.
#2 A world far more open than their previous titles
FromSoftware has confirmed that Elden Ring is going to provide players with a world that is far more expansive than what they have delivered with their previous titles. Though some critics are speculating that it might be as vast as that of Skyrim or even Zelda: Breath of the Wild, we’re still to confirm anything as of yet.
However, what interests us more than the size of the map is the amount of depth that Miyazaki is planning to put in it.
In an interview with Xbox Wire, he talks about how the increase in the scale of the game isn’t limited to the length and breadth of the map alone. The increase in volume can be applied to the density of the world as well, along with the choices that are provided to the player, and how each choice will affect the environment around.
#3 An RPG in the truest sense
The previous FromSoftware games (excluding Sekiro) had a lot of RPG elements, but they weren’t RPGs in the purest sense.
Sure! They allowed decent character creation, but the players weren't able to hone a specific playstyle around the character that they had created. Such will not be the case in Elden Ring, and Miyazaki confirms that
"Compared to the Dark Souls series, I believe this title will provide even more variety in the ways for players to overcome challenges and tweak their tactics when facing enemies."
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Elden Ring release date
FormSoftware’s Elden Ring is rumored to launch in June of 2020, but we hope to get more news about its official release and gameplay in the coming months.