Just before E3 2019, rumors spread of a collaboration between two Grimdark giants: FromSoftware helmed by Hidetaka Miyazaki known worldwide for their Dark Souls trilogy of games and their dark, gritty, “git gud” gameplay working hand in hand with one of the lords of Grimdark literature George R.R. Martin. When Elden Ring was announced during E3 the room erupted with cheer for the chance to play through a story crafted by a legend and a world honed by skilled artisans of gaming. This most unholy of unions could be the best combination in gaming since CD Projekt Red brought the world of The Witcher to life. Here are my hopes for Elden Ring.
A New Generation of Graphical Prowess
Like most of its older siblings Elden Ring will allow us to create our own characters to roam the world of GRRM’s mythos and Miyazaki’s skillful craftsmanship (we know full well there will be countless wonderful armor sets people will be dying to cosplay). The one thing that was always lacking to me was the level of detail in the actual player characters features. I’m hoping the quality of characters we received in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, specifically the Wolf brought to the player character of Elden Ring. Having higher quality textures and more detail will also go a long way for a game of this caliber. Depending on the style or armor—no matter if it’s the heavy armor of Dark Souls or the Victorian inspired Long coats of Bloodborne—having more detailed facial animations and features would be a blessing. I would love to be able to see the fear in my character’s eyes as they are outnumbered only for it to change to the biggest shit eating grin as I cleave heads in half.
A Gritty Narrative with Good Company
Miyazaki stated in an interview that during the early development of Elden Ring he collaborated with GRRM on themes and ideas for the project in which George then went and created the mythos. This left Miyazaki to interpret the works GRRM provided acted like a good DM in a tabletop RPG with all the handbooks. Miyazaki had to then shape the world visually and create the main scenario on his own as if it were a Dungeons & Dragons campaign. I hope this will lead to something I always found Dark Souls lacked being more prominent, characters development. There are many characters in the Soulsborne games who are interesting Artorias and Sif, Gwyn the Lord of Cinder, Father Gascoigne, Lady Maria and The Doll to name a few. But overall the characters feel one dimensional and vague as their stories are spread thin and can be easily missed while playing. This is something GRRM can remedy. Who doesn’t love the wit and wisdom of Tyrion Lannister who is often said to be the character GRRM spends the most time rewriting to get perfect. I would love to see the NPCs of Elden Ring brought to life and treated with more care in their crafting. Miyazaki had a habit of hiding the lore of the world and characters behind item flavor text. It was unique at first but having to hunt for stories through small and vague remarks in the games items menu is not nearly as fun as experiencing it as you play. Getting to live out the story as the adventure unfolds would bring so much more life into the game.
A Realm Bathed in Blood to Explore
Traversing Westeros and Essos in HBO’s Game of Thrones was stunning but the novels themselves left your own imagination in charge of adding the details to the world beyond the basics which GRRM provided. If Miyazaki gives the mythos GRRM created for Elden Ring the same treatment he gave the Soulsborne games I cannot wait to see what is to come. FromSoftware thrives at providing richly detailed worlds like the beautiful castles of Anor Londo and the dilapidated city of Lothric, or the sweeping Gothic and Victorian inspired streets of Old Yharnum let alone the breathtaking Japanese countryside in Sekiro. They design their worlds for you to be able to explore every crevice to fully unravel the mysteries of the world they lay before you. With Elden Ring bringing more of an open world than its predecessors I for one cannot wait to scour every centimeter will be awe inspiring sights.
(Lothric Dark Souls 3)
Dodge-roll your way to Victory
The term “git gud” has become synonymous with the brutally difficult gameplay of Dark Souls and it is one thing we can be entirely sure will remain in Elden Ring. The difference however will be in the way they work their combat system for their newest title. As I am readying myself for the beat downs to come I question what sort of combat they will give us. They have already said horseback combat will be in the game which is new, but how will the standard combat be? What I am hoping for is an amalgamation of their previous combat systems into a truly dynamic experience where you can utilize any number of different weapons from the intricate form altering weapons and firearms of Bloodborne to the standard swords and sorcery of Dark Souls. Adding in the stealth mechanics from Sekiro along with its grappling hook and you can make the quintessential game for player to choose how they wish to get their arses served to them. I would love to be able to dodge-roll around filling a creature full of lead in between each roll until the time is right to throw a grappling hook into its skull and pull it into my rapier’s blade.
Waiting out the Clock
Elden Ring is still a long ways away from being finished. A release date is still to be announced but the hype FromSoftware generated at E3 will hopefully continue to boil as they release more and more details in the coming months until we finally have the game in our hands, be it physically on console or digitally for PC. I know I am looking forward to seeing if my hopes and expectations can be met, when the time finally arrives. Let me know your hopes for Elden Ring in the comments below.