The Potential of Elden Ring

After two long years of waiting, the first trailer for FromSoftware’s new title, Elden Ring, is finally here! And it didn’t just give us gameplay! It went so far as to give us a release date! The hype train has officially departed the station, ladies and gentlemen!

We’ve only gotten two minutes of Elden Ring to look at. But those two minutes show a lot of promise! We’ve got a medieval setting like Dark Souls! We’ve got a mount ripped straight out of Princess Mononoke! We’ve got cryptic dialogue! We’ve got an enemy that’s just a pot with arms and legs! This game’s gonna be a masterpiece, I can already tell!

FromSoftware has a nearly stainless track record so far. The closest thing to one is Dark Souls 2. And even that one is just controversial! These dudes have cranked out masterpiece after masterpiece over the years, completely changing the gaming industry in their wake! That alone makes Elden Ring promising!

But then you factor in everything else.

See, this game has two credits for writing. One of this is our boy, Miyazaki himself. And the other is a name that you might just know from one of the most successful (and unfinished) book series of modern fantasy: George R.R. Martin.

Martin isn’t the head-writer, thank god. Not only do I doubt that he’s ever worked on a video game before, but I also doubt he’d ever get around to finishing it (original joke, I know). Instead, he’s working on the world-building of the setting itself. And if there’s one thing he’s good at, it’s world-building! The world of The Song of Ice and Fire has so much history behind it that he himself has gotten completely sucked into it, writing prequel after prequel!

Instead of finishing the damn series.

What’s one of the most iconic thing about FromSoftware games? Cryptic lore and worlds with deep histories. People love diving into that stuff! Some have even made whole careers out of it! Can you imagine how much there will be to find with someone like Martin working on it?! It’s bound to be monstrous!

Especially because this is the first FromSoftware game set to be an open world. Now, that is worrisome. The first attempt is rarely the best. It could either blend perfectly with the gameplay formula of their previous games or it could clash wildly with it. Either way, it’s an interesting experiment that a) shakes up the familiar formula and b) works super well with how they tell stories.

It opens up tons of fun gameplay options too, especially with the mount. Yeah, you’ve got mounted combat. But what happens when you wander into an area that you’re not ready for? Suddenly, instead of only having one or two alternative paths, you’ve got an entire map to fuck off too! All the while, that one little corner that whooped your ass will burn in the back of your mind. A locked door for you to bust down later, once you’ve found a battering ram.

It’s not just the open-world, either. From what we saw and what we’ve heard, we’re getting tons of other features. Jolly cooperation is back, Sekiro-style stealth is coming back, custom-built characters, and probably more! Suddenly, you’ve got a billion different options for each situation! Do you go in for a good ol’ fashioned brawl like Dark Souls? Or do you pick your enemies off one-by-one like Sekiro? Or do you run away like a little sissy baby like… well, like all of these games, I guess.

And best part is: all of the returning features have been refined to a T at this point. This game is hardly FromSoftware’s first rodeo. They’ve made several games and they’ve learned lessons from each and every one. And they’re bringing all of those years of experience to Elden Ring.

This game has a lot of pressure on it. People have been clamoring for it for years now. I can only imagine how much pressure the devs must be feeling. But I have full faith that they’ll pull through. The stars seem to be aligning and Elden Ring is looking to be the next big game that will take the world by storm.

Will FromSoftware ever make a game that doesn’t do that?

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