10+ New Elden Ring Details Revealed in Private Gameplay Showcase
Last week, FromSoftware reached out to select publications and content creators for a private showing of all-new gameplay footage of its highly anticipated open-world action RPG Elden Ring. This was then followed by Q&A sessions.
Following are the salient new tidbits that we’ve been able to gather from these interviews and descriptions of the gameplay footage.
- The Story
- Character Customization
- The Design of the Open World
- Mystery of the Pot Boys
In contrast to the purposely obscure narratives of Dark Souls and Bloodborne, Elden Ring, it seems, will have a clear objective for the player from the get go – to unveil the secrets of the Elden Ring, the shattered source of the ErdTree. In an interview with The Verge, FromSoftware’s Yasuhiro Kitao said that players will have more “agency” and “an overarching objective” within the world’s fantasy.
“We feel like this will be very different to our previous titles,” he said. “Instead of just being a sick foreigner who has come to Yharnam, or an undead warrior who finds himself in a bleak landscape, the player has returned to the Lands Between as a ‘tarnished’ in search of the Elden Ring’s power, to uncover its mysteries. It’s a very simple premise but it helps to drive that mainline story.”
G.R.R. Martin Only Wrote the Prologue
George R.R. Martin’s hand in Elden Ring lore might have been a tad overestimated by fans. It seems the Game of Thrones author essentially only laid out the prologue, or the foundation of the story, letting FromSoftware head Hidetaka Miyazaki take care of the rest.
“George R.R. Martin provided us the mythos for the world, which takes place many, many years before the events of the game, and really shapes a lot of the current state of the world and its characters,” said Kitao, talking to The Verge. “We think this original mythos that he created really had a lot of influence on our approach to the narrative this time. George R.R. Martin was kind enough to hand that over for us to do what we want with it, and Miyazaki has had a lot of fun playing around with that mythos.”
Unlike FromSoftware’s most recent title, Elden Ring is a true RPG, and its starts out as such, allowing the player to customize their character’s appearance and pick a class, each with its own balance of attributes. The only changes to attributes known so far are that investing points in Strength will now contribute to equip load, according to Fextralife, and that there is a new attribute called Agility.
The Design of the Open World
FromSoftware describes the game’s new open world formula as a number of hand-crafted dungeons connected by a vast overworld, aptly called the Lands Between. This may make the overworld sound like a flat, barren stretch of land having little purpose beyond traversal, though Kitao assures The Verge that isn’t the case:
“As we built it out, we learned that we wanted the Lands Between to have a lot more character, and a lot more verticality, and more intricate design. So we ended up handcrafting a lot of this map, and trying to make it as interesting to explore as possible.”
The Lands Between is divided into six main areas, with the “main attractions” of these areas being “Legacy Dungeons,” explains IGN. These dungeons are teeming with enemies, traps, loot, and FromSoftware’s trademark illusory/fake walls.
Similar to Firelink Shrine in Dark Souls or the Hunter’s Dream in Bloodborne, Elden Ring will have its own hub world – an ornate safe house where NPCs from around the game’s open world will convene.
“Sites of Lost Grace” Checkpoints
Resting points are making a return as well. The game calls these “Sites of Lost Grace.” Resting at one will refill the game’s equivalent of “Estus Flasks” and allow players to summon Melina – essentially the game’s version of a Firekeeper Maiden – who then offers the ability to level up, swap out spirit summons, and weapon skills.
The checkpoint also emanates rays of light that help guide your to “your next main objective(s),” according to YouTuber VaatiVidya. The Soulsbourne content creator added that players will come across Sites of Lost Grace “a little bit less often” than they did Bonfires in the Dark Souls series.
Given the size of Elden Ring’s world and the added verticality, FromSoftware has added more than a couple ways to make covering vast distances less frustrating.
There’s a Map
Maps are far from a rarity in the open world genre, though the concept is relatively new to FromSoftware games, with Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice being the only one among their recent releases to have one.
Elden Ring’s map, unlike Sekiro’s, looks set to be far more practical, however. Players will be able to open the map and fast travel to any Site of Lost Grace they’ve previously visited as long as they’re not in a dungeon and set markers on the map to aid in exploration, which appear as pillars of light out in the world.
The map won’t be laid bare from the get go, though. Players will need to fill it in by collecting map fragments spread out across the world, according to VaatiVidya.
Players will get a Spirit Steed – a horse-like mount that they can summon out of thin air while moving through world and even use in combat. While mounted, you’ll be able to swing melee weapons, fire arrows, and use magic. The mount also has the ability to double jump and cover long distances in a single bound using what look like magical jump pads.
FromSoftware doesn’t want the steed to feel like a mere tool for traversal, though. “You will be able to do small interactions, such as feeding it to regain its health and small things like this,” says Kitao to The Verge.
Even on foot, the Tarnished are a tad more nimble than their Dark Souls and Bloodborne counterparts, in that they are able to jump without requiring a running start. There’s now a dedicated jump button, which makes sense seeing as how the world’s added verticality requires quite a bit of leaping around, too.
Infinite Stamina out of Combat
Outside of combat, sprinting won’t consume stamina whether you’re on foot or mounted, says VaatiVidya. This is likely to allow players to sprint continuously from one point of interest to another.
Like its spiritual predecessors, Elden Ring looks set to be a challenging game, with aggressive bosses and the punishing corpse run system making a return. As with each iteration of its game design, FromSoftware has taken additional steps to prevent the experience from feeling like a chore.
In certain more challenging areas, FromSoftware has added what they’re currently calling “retry points.” If a player dies after having found one of these, they will be able to choose whether to respawn at the retry point or the last checkpoint at which they rested.
Elden Ring is introducing a new kind of boss encounter to FromSoftware’s design formula. Out in the overworld roam challenging enemies that the studio is calling “Field Bosses.” Defeating these minibosses will unlock Sites of Lost Grace, according to Fextralife.
Refilling Health by Defeating Enemies
You will be able to refill your health by killing enemy mobs, says VaatiVidya. This is to encourage players to continue exploring instead of having to backtrack if and when they run out of heals.
Combat looks to be a balanced mix of mechanics from Dark Souls III and Sekiro, with parry and backstab mechanics making a return from the former, along with a host of weapons and spells. From Sekiro, the game borrows the ability to chain melee and ranged attacks with jumps, in addition to a couple core mechanics.
Sekiro-like Posture Mechanic Called “Stances”
Fextralife and VaatiVidya both mentioned a new mechanic similar to the “Posture” system in Sekiro, which will allow you to whittle down and and eventually break an enemy’s defenses to deliver a high-damage hit visually similar to the “visceral attack” in Bloodborne. The game calls this system “Stances.”
VaatiVidya noticed a new kind of counterattack, a quick blow that seems to be possible right after you guard against an enemy’s attack.
Elden Ring’s “Skills” system is somewhat similar to the “Weapon Arts” in Dark Souls III, with the biggest differences being that they can be applied to any weapon (at a Site of Lost Grace) and are found by defeating bosses or inside treasures strewn across the world.
Skills range from “creating projectile-type bladed winds to throw at your opponent, to giving you a 360 degree run and bash with your shield,” writes Fextralife.
Stealth and Sleep Arrows
Another page that Elden Ring takes out of Sekiro’s playbook is stealth. You will have the option to sneak by challenging foes using tall grass as cover, or to close in undetected and take out weaker enemies with a single backstab.
Then there are Sleep Arrows, which you can use to put enemies to sleep from afar before you go in for the kill or circumvent them entirely.
A completely new addition is the ability to summon AI-controlled spirits to aid you in battle, “from a falcon to humanoid trolls,” according to Fextralife. The game calls these “Spirits of the Deceased.” Players will first need to collect these friendly spirits by defeating particular enemies. These can then equipped at a Site of Lost Grace and summoned using Focus Points (mana).
VaatiVidya adds that spirit summons will only be available in “difficult” areas.
Fextralife confirms the game will have crafting, though it is yet unclear how fleshed out this feature will be. In the information given to the website, the only examples provided were hunting animals (sheep, deer, and eagles) to craft a consumable item called “Dried Meat,” which speeds up stamina recovery and crafting different arrow heads.
You will be able to engage in jolly cooperation with up to two other players, using a system similar to the one in the Dark Souls series, where you would place a sign in the world to have other players summon you from the same location in theirs.
You won’t need to regain “Humanity” or be “Embered” like in the Dark Souls games to summon other players, says VaatiVidya. That limitation has been replaced with another, however, with players unable to be mounted in co-op play, according to Fextralife.
Invasions are making a return as well. You will be able to invade other players’ worlds, with some new limitations. FromSoftware confirmed to Fextralife that only players engaging in co-op can be invaded in Elden Ring.
“Invaders will never invade a mounted player, because players cannot be mounted in cooperative play. That is to say, you can only invade players that are cooperating, not players who are alone.”
In an AMA on Twitch, Fextralife added that the game will have a system similar to Covenants from the Dark Souls series and Bloodborne, though it seems Elden Ring’s take on the system hasn’t been completed yet.
Mystery of the Pot Boys
Fextralife actually used one of their questions to ask after the popular pot-like creatures shown in the first Elden Ring trailer, endearingly referred to as “Pot Boys” by the game’s fandom. This is how FromSoftware responded:
“We hope that players can explore and find their own answers in regards to the Pot People. You are free to befriend them if you wish but we can’t promise that you won’t have to smash them.”