Anyone who has played a FromSoftware game has probably come to expect several things. From impressive (and often grotesque) bosses and punishing combat to fan-favorite characters, each game brings with it its own unique set of challenges along with a slew of FromSoftware staples. But perhaps one of the most standout features of each game is the complex lore – a fitting reward for players willing to deviate from the often sparsely-told narratives to hunt out further clues and hidden histories.
Elden Ring, FromSoftware's upcoming fantasy action RPG, was announced at E3 2019, and ever since its reveal fans of the developer's other titles and fantasy games, in general, have been chomping at the bit for more details. Although the game has only recently been revealed in more detail, players have still found enough to pick over to try and uncover as many aspects of the upcoming game as they can. One such aspect that has sparked intrigue is the significance of becoming the so-called Elden Lord.
The World Of Elden Ring
FromSoftware President and Game Director Hidetaka Miyazaki has joined forces with acclaimed fantasy writer and creator of the Game of Thrones series George R. R. Martin to bring the world of Elden Ring to life. Fantasy fans were excited by this unlikely pairing, as George R. R. Martin is renowned for his in-depth and sprawling worldbuilding capabilities. Although George R. R. Martin was brought on mainly at the start of the production process to create the "overarching mythos" with the development team taking over after that, the addition of a new perspective will bring with it some interesting aspects and may help to freshen up the popular but no doubt familiar formula of FromSoftware games.
Elden Ring is set in the realm of the Lands Between, FromSoftware's biggest world yet, and a vast area that will give players plenty of chances to spend many hours exploring. The world is split into 6 main sections, filled to the brim with secrets to uncover, enemies and bosses to be mercilessly slaughtered by, and underground dungeons to get lost in. Players can explore these sprawling environments on horseback as they travel across the various Elden Ring lands in search of adventure.
Character-driven And Story-led
From details revealed so far, Elden Ring will be similar to its predecessors like the Souls series, Bloodborne, and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and will feature high levels of difficulty to challenge players and test their patience, although FromSoftware has assured gamers that Elden Ring has been designed for "all sorts of players." The combat may be just as challenging, but there will be more than one way for gamers to approach gameplay, opening up the traditionally steep learning curves for players that prefer something less "hardcore." The game will also feature RPG elements and stamina-based melee moves to take down enemies, similar to other FromSoftware games.
Where Elden Ring seems to differ from previous games is its commitment to being character-led, especially with the inclusion of an author in the game's development who is known for his compelling and unforgettable fictional characters. Players won't forget several key figures in the cast of characters that crop up in previous FromSoftware games, from Solaire to Father Gascoigne, but characters aren't usually the driving force of the narratives. Although games like Bloodborne and the Dark Souls series have incredibly well-thought-out plots, a lot of the storytelling is incidental and sparse, buried in things like item descriptions and environmental clues that many players may miss altogether. In contrast, Elden Ring will rely more on character-led narratives and hands-on storytelling – a decision that may or may not be popular with fans of the previous games.
What Is The Elden Lord?
As players explore the Lands Between, they will see the aftermath of the breaking of the titular Ring and the scattering of its shards, called the Great Runes. The troubled realm, once presided over by the Ring and the Erdtree, is home to several demigod offspring of Queen Marika the Eternal – the reigning sovereign of the Land Between. Each of these offspring possesses a shard of the fractured Ring, a Great Rune that has slowly and insidiously corrupted them with its tainted power. The actions of Queen Marika's children led to a great war known as The Shattering, a violent conflict that affected the entire realm, and that players will see the effects of as they travel through the Lands Between.
Players will be Tarnished – those exiled from the Lands Between and summoned back after the shattering of the Ring. The gameplay centers around the player's Tarnished searching through the sprawling landscape to hunt down the six offspring of Queen Marika and retrieve the shards of the Ring that they have taken. This is similar to Dark Souls 3, where players had to find and defeat the four Lords of Cinder in order to take on the same title. Once these pieces have been collected and the Elden Ring has been restored, the player's Tarnished character will then become the Elden Lord.
What The Elden Lord Means For Players
Players have been piecing together the significance of the Elden Lord and what exactly they mean to the world of the game. With the Elden Lord as an endgame status, there's no doubt that they'll be a large part of Elden Ring's lore. But with FromSoftware's assurance that there will be multiple endings available, players may have the chance to manipulate what exactly this role looks like. They may be faced with a similar choice as the at the end of the first Dark Souls, with the world's fate in their hands as they deliberate between different options. It's another interesting exercise to try and ascertain the hierarchy in the Lands Between – maybe the player, for example, might be able to take on a more eternal role like Queen Marika. Perhaps instead of or in addition to their title of Elden Lord once they have restored the Ring, further disrupting the status quo.
Players have been quick to point out the apparent similarity between the Elden Lord and the Lord of Cinder in Dark Souls 3, who has linked the Flame and kept the Age of Fire alive. With the Elden Lord similarly serving as a catalyst of restoration, perhaps another sacrifice will be required in order to complete the Ring and bring grace back to the Lands Between, as with the continuation of the Flame. It will be interesting to see the fate of the Elden Lord once the game hits shelves early next year.
Elden Ring releases on February 25, 2022, on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
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