Elden Ring – Details from the Developer
In a recent interview with IGN, lead developer Hidetaka Miyazaki has lots to say about FromSoftware’s new title Elden Ring, the latest spiritual successor to the Souls series.
A new dark fantasy IP
As fans already know, Elden Ring represents a collaboration between From Software and George R. R. Martin, the acclaimed fantasy author who brought us Game of Thrones.
The author’s experience with character development and drama has been central to world-building and creating an engaging setting for this latest game (and perhaps, series).
It’s clear that Martin’s influence has been mainly focussed on back-story. It is he who has developed the idea of the Tarnished, those exiled ancestors who are now returning to the world of The Lands Between—one of whom is represented as the player. The main adversaries, the demigods, have distinct characters—another attribute credited to Martin and something which should raise this game above previous titles in terms of story depth.
Exploration and the world map
Like previous Souls games, exploration is key to Hidetaka Miyazaki’s vision for the game. He admits that fast-travel is in there to get players from A to B, but you can tell that he’d rather this gameplay necessity wasn’t actually necessary. With such a developed and intricate world, it is the developer’s hope that players become engrossed in the exploration of the six distinct lands and enjoy that at every turn.
He also says:
“One of our of big themes for development of this new world was [freedom], because of the grandeur and sense of scale of it, we didn’t want players to get lost and not have any clue of what to do or where to go. So, there is an element of guidance, particularly at the beginning.”
Guidance? I doubt this takes the form of a golden trail of light so overused in other games. From Software have always drawn on their incredible level design skills to provide guidance in some of the most subtle ways, so perhaps this is just a nod to more of the same, just ramped up a little. One thing this game doesn’t need is a hovering arrow above the player’s head!
However it comes about, the idea that the world is larger than any of the previous games, and that there’s even more to explore is great.
This is also talked about when discussing magic and weapon skills. Miyazaki says (on arts, magic etc.):
“…generally they are hidden throughout the game’s world for the player to discover through exploration, rather than unlocking them though a skill tree as in previous titles.”
Upgrades to gameplay
Of course, all this experience that comes from years of game development doesn’t just translate to some shinier graphics (they are shiny), and more-intricate backstory. No, there’s plenty going on in the gameplay department too.
We see horse-riding, some elements of a stealth attack system, a huge variety of weapons and fighting styles, spirit summons and more.
That’s all best seen in the gameplay trailer though, rather than writing about it. If you haven’t already taken a look, check it out now:
Elden Ring comes out for PlayStation, Xbox and PC on January 21st 2022.