FromSoftware put rumors and leaks to rest with the reveal of Elden Ring during Xbox’s E3 conference Sunday. The game is a three-year collaborative project between Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin and Dark Souls/Bloodborne visionary Hidetaka Miyazaki. At first, the game was code-named “Great Rune,” prompting game mods to look for signs of the title everywhere. Fans learned “Great Rune” was actually Elden Ring after the Bandai Namco leak Friday night.
The cinematic trailer showcases Miyazaki’s iconic style and Martin’s love of old-world lore. Together they have built an austere and enigmatic narrative setting. In the beginning, we see an elderly, crowned figure holding out a dismembered hand. As several disembodied hands reach out to the figure, an unseen narrator speaks: “I doubt you could even imagine it.” Unfortunately, that’s exactly what must be done, as the remaining scenes are rather ambiguous.
Norse mythology was certainly the inspiration for the tone, as rumored earlier this week. A man works at a forge while the narrator continues. “That which commanded the stars, giving life its fullest brilliance: The Elden Ring. Oh, the Elden Ring. Shattered by someone or something. Don’t tell me you don’t see it. Look up at the sky. It burns.” Fans of Marvel’s Avengers series will recall Thor traveling to Niðavellir to construct a god-killing weapon in the heart of a star. For mythology fans, Niðavellir also happens to be the home of dwarves in Norse mythology. We happen to see such a dwarf later in the trailer. Perhaps the player will go against the gods? It would suit what we know of both creators’ works.
However one pieces together the clues, the game’s concept is compelling. In an Xbox Wire interview, Miyazaki said, “The Elden Ring is the name given to a mysterious concept that defines the world itself. . . This Elden Ring has been shattered. The significance of this will be one of the important themes of the game.” What the other themes are is up for speculation. The blacksmith at the forge appears to be emotionally affected by the memory of someone. With the cosmic importance of the Elden Ring, it would not be a surprise to find that its shattering affected the plots of many NPCs.
World Exploration and Character Customization
The game is a third-person, open-world action RPG. So far, it has been described as “Witcher-like.” (Vistas! Side quests! Horses!) Players will explore multiple kingdoms and defeat the powerful rulers of each. After every successful battle, the character will gain those rulers’ powers. It is possible players will need to travel to the kingdoms to retrieve pieces of the shattered Elden Ring.
The game will offer more customization than Sekiro. Some of these customizations include character skill trees, weaponry upgrades, and combat style adjustments. This will allow players to adapt to new challenges. “This title will include a wide variety of weapons, magic, and ways to engage enemies, that make it possible to provide users with a style of gameplay and strategy that suits them,” Miyazaki said. “Similar to the Dark Souls series, Elden Ring allows players to design and control their own unique character.”
Without actual gameplay footage, it’s hard to be certain about anything else regarding the game. Taking Miyazaki’s previous work into account, as well as Martin’s meticulous world building, however, there is little room for concern. I anticipate an enticingly difficult and breathtakingly beautiful RPG. However, considering the creators, I am more than willing to throw money at this, and a new elite controller to boot.
Elden Ring will release on Xbox One, PS4, and PC. A release date is still unknown.
Ashley is currently an MLitt student with the Institute for Theology, Imagination, and the Arts at the University of St. Andrews in St. Andrews, Scotland. There she is researching the use of religious language and stage direction found in the plays of Samuel Beckett. When she is not studying, writing, or teaching, she co-hosts The Min/Max Podcast with her husband, Allen, and their friend Kyle, where they discuss all things nerd culture and theology.