‘Elden Ring is an evolution of Dark Souls,’ says director Hidetaka Miyazaki

New details on the E3 2019-announced fantasy action RPG.

Elden Ring

Hidetaka Miyazaki, president of FromSoftware and director of the E3 2019-announced fantasy action RPG Elden Ring, shared new information about the game in an interview with IGN.

Here are the notable tidbits:

  • Elden Ring is a third-person action RPG with a fantasy setting. The gameplay is not so far from Dark Souls. That doesn’t mean that the gameplay will be identical, but you could say that Elden Ring belongs to the same genre.”
  • According to Miyazaki, Elden Ring goes beyond simple changes to the game systems. By adding larger and more open environments, he believes that the game will evolve on a greater scale.
  • “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.”
  • “While the narrow and complex dungeons of our previous games were indeed interconnected, Elden Ring’s environments will be much more open and vast. The more extensive world will form the base of Elden Ring’s gameplay, and its mechanics are designed with that type of environment in mind.”
  • The dungeons of Miyazaki’s previous games were interconnected in the style of a Metroidvania game, but this time there is a vast field between them. According to Miyazaki, the inclusion of such an environment was decided for the sake of showing the story and world on a larger scale, to increase the freedom and depth of exploration, and to create more variation for battles.
  • You can get around the world on a horse, and you can fight enemies while riding.
  • Miyazaki wants to offer depth to exploration in Elden Ring in a way that Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice did not.
  • Do not expect vibrant villages and towns. According to Miyazaki, “Villages will be the dark dungeon-like ruins that you have come to expect from us. Creating a more open game is a big challenge for us. If we were to add towns on top of that, it would become a bit too much, so we decided to create an open-world-style game focused on what we are best at.”
  • Miyazaki studied various open-world games as reference for Elden Ring‘s world, while at the same time not being too heavily influenced by a specific work, to make a game that is true to the DNA of a FromSoftware game.
  • Regarding the collaboration with George R.R. Martin, Miyazaki said, “It all started with me being a fan of Mr. Martin’s works. A Song of Ice and Fire and its drama adaptation Game of Thrones are both masterpieces. I am also very fond of Fevre Dream and Tuf Voyaging.”
  • Miyazaki got in touch with Martin for a meeting, which he found to be surprisingly easy to do. From there, the two clicked and Martin was all in for Miyazaki’s idea of making a game together.
  • According to Miyazaki, Martin did not write the main story of Elden Ring. Rather, he wrote the events that happened long before the era the player explores—in other words, the “mythology” of the world. Miyazaki said that there were two reasons he had Martin write the mythology rather than the main story.
  • “Storytelling in video games—at least the way we do it at FromSoftware—comes with a lot of restrictions for the writer. I didn’t think it was a good idea to have Martin write within those restrictions. By having him write about a time the player isn’t directly involved in, he is free to unleash his creativity in the way he likes. Furthermore, as FromSoftware we didn’t want to create a more linear and story-driven experience for Elden Ring. Both issues could be solved by having Martin write about the world’s history instead.”
  • According to Miyazaki, the excitement, drama, and depth in the mythology written by Martin had a major impact on FromSoftware’s creation of the world for Elden Ring.
  • Miyazaki compared Martin’s mythology to the dungeon master’s handbook in a tabletop RPG.
  • “The player will be able to learn about Martin’s mythology through exploration. We are known for letting the player explore the game’s lore through fragments of environmental storytelling, and this time around Martin’s story is what you will be trying to unravel. The period the player actually explores is still connected to the old times, so as you slowly discover why the world has become the way it is, you will learn more about Martin’s mythology as well.”
  • “There is no fixed main character in Elden Ring. We mostly leave it up to the player to decide the characteristics and personality of the character they create.”
  • Miyazaki believes that Elden Ring‘s NPC characters will be more compelling than his previous works thanks to Martin’s mythology as a source of inspiration.

Elden Ring is in development for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. A release date has not been announced.

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