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  • Elden Ring

    Elden Ring

    Developer(s): FromSoftware
    Publisher(s): Bandai Namco Entertainment, JP: FromSoftware
    Director(s): Hidetaka Miyazaki, Yui Tanimura
    Producer(s): Yuzo Kojima
    Programmer(s): Takeshi Suzuki, Yuki Kido
    Writer(s): Hidetaka Miyazaki, George R. R. Martin
    Composer(s): Tsukasa Saitoh, Shoi Miyazawa, Tai Tomisawa, Yuka Kitamura, Yoshimi Kudo
    Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
    Release: February 25, 2022
    Genre(s): Action role-playing
    Mode(s): Single-player, multiplayer

    Elden Ring is an action role-playing game developed by FromSoftware and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. The game was made in collaboration with fantasy novelist George R. R. Martin, who provided material for the game's setting. It was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S on February 25, 2022.

    The game is presented through third-person perspective, and the player may freely roam in its interactive free form exploration open world. Gameplay elements include fights, looting, horseback riding, interacting with non-player characters, and maintaining the character's status through levelling up, enhancing equipment and weapons, and learning spells.

    The game's development lasted approximately six years. Upon release, Elden Ring received critical acclaim, becoming one of the highest-reviewed games of all time. It received praise for its open world and gameplay, which was considered an improvement to the Souls formula.


    Elden Ring is an action role-playing game played in a third-person perspective with gameplay focusing on combat and exploration; it features elements similar to those found in other games developed by FromSoftware, such as the Souls series, Bloodborne and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Director Hidetaka Miyazaki explained that players start with a linear opening but eventually progress to freely explore the Lands Between, including its six main areas, as well as castles, fortresses, and catacombs scattered throughout the open world map. These main areas are interconnected through a central hub that players can access later in the game's progression—similar to Firelink Shrine from Dark Souls—and are explorable using the character's mount as the main mode of transport, although a fast travel system is an available option. Throughout the game, players encounter non-player characters (NPCs) and enemies alike, including the demigods who rule each main area and serves as the game's main bosses.

    Combat in Elden Ring relies heavily on character-building elements found in previous Souls games and related intellectual properties, such as calculated and close-ranged melee-based combat with the use of skills, magic abilities, as well as blocking and dodging mechanics. Elden Ring introduces mounted combat and a stealth system, the latter being a core gameplay element from Sekiro; these features are expected to encourage players in strategizing their combat approach with each unique enemy they encounter. The game makes use of a player character stamina bar after being absent from Sekiro, although its overall influence over combat was reduced compared to previous FromSoftware games that utilized it. Unlike in Sekiro, resurrection mechanics after in-game death are not available; however, some elements were added to ensure players' progression within the game.

    Miyazaki stated that the customization in Elden Ring would be richer, as players are able to discover different skills through their exploration of the map instead of unlocking skill trees as in Sekiro and differing from the pre-fixed weapon skills of FromSoftware's previous games. These skills are interchangeable with a large variety of weapons which, alongside equipment, magic abilities, and items players can craft using materials found within the world, can be used to customize the player character. The game also features summoning mechanics, where players can summon a large variety of collectible spirits hidden throughout the game's world map, including previously defeated enemies, as allies to assist them in battle. Similar to the Souls series, the game's multiplayer allows other players to be summoned for cooperative play.



    Elden Ring takes place in the Lands Between, sometime after the destruction of the titular Elden Ring and the scattering of its shards, the Great Runes. Once graced by the Ring and the Erdtree which symbolizes its presence, the realm is now ruled over by the demigod offspring of Queen Marika the Eternal, each possessing a shard of the Ring that corrupts and taints them with power. As Tarnished — exiles from the Lands Between who lost the Ring's grace and are summoned back after the Shattering — players must traverse the realm to ultimately find all the Great Runes, restore the Elden Ring, and become the Elden Lord.


    The Tarnished is one of many exiles called back to the Lands Between in hopes of repairing the Elden Ring and becoming the next Elden Lord. Early on in their journey, the Tarnished encounters a young woman named Melina, who offers to stand in as their maiden to help them on their journey, under the condition that the Tarnished bring her to the base of the Erdtree where she can fulfill her purpose. She also takes the Tarnished to the Roundtable Hold, a gathering place for other Tarnished seeking to repair the Elden Ring. There, the Tarnished learns from their divine benefactor, the Two Fingers, that in the wake of the Shattering and Queen Marika's disappearance, her demigod children had taken the Great Runes, pieces of the Elden Ring, for themselves, and now war against each other to try and obtain the other Great Runes. The last known Great Rune holders are Godrick the Grafted, General Radahn, Praetor Rykard, Morgott the Grace-Given, and Rennala.

    The Tarnished then proceeds to journey into the lands between, investigating its various locales and defeating each demigod one by one until they recover enough Great Runes that the Two Fingers feels they are ready to journey to the Erdtree to confront Morgott, the final obstacle to the tree. Upon his defeat, Morgott claims that the Erdtree will not allow anybody, especially a Tarnished, to enter it before passing away. The Tarnished confirms this when they approach the Erdtree and find their way blocked by a wall of thorns. Melina then arrives and advises that they journey to find the Flame of Ruin, which they can use to set the Erdtree on fire and burn away the thorns. In light of the Tarnished being rebuffed from the Erdtree, the Two Fingers withdraws from the mortal plane to consider its next move, leaving the Tarnished free to proceed with Melina's plan or search for the imprisoned Three Fingers to gain the power of the Frenzied Flame.

    Upon obtaining the Flame of Ruin, if the Tarnished did not free the Three Fingers, then Melina will take the flame and sacrifice herself to set the Erdtree on fire. If the Tarnished freed the Three Fingers, then Melina will abandon the Tarnished, forcing them to use their own power to set the Erdtree on fire. Regardless, the Tarnished then proceeds to the Erdtree, where they battle the fellow Tarnished warrior Gideon Ofnir the All Knowing, as well as the First Elden Lord Godfrey to gain access to the interior of the Erdtree. Inside, they fight the reanimated remains of Queen Marika's consort, Radagon, as well as the godlike Elden Beast. Upon vanquishing both foes, the Tarnished finally gains access to Queen Marika's shattered corpse, which contains the remains of the Elden Ring. Depending on the Tarnished's actions throughout the game, six different endings are possible.

    Development and release

    Elden Ring was developed by FromSoftware and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. It was announced at E3 2019 originally for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. No further information was revealed until a June 2021 trailer announced a release date of January 21, 2022, with additional releases on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. In October 2021, it was announced that the game would be delayed to February 25, 2022.

    Elden Ring is directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki with worldbuilding by fantasy novelist George R. R. Martin, best known for his A Song of Ice and Fire novel series. A fan of Martin's work, Miyazaki contacted him with an offer to work together on a project, giving him the creative freedom to write the overarching backstory of the game's universe. Miyazaki used his contributions as the foundation of the game's narrative, comparing the process to that of using a "dungeon master's handbook in a tabletop RPG". Some staff from the Game of Thrones television series adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire also assisted with the game's development. As with many of Miyazaki's previous games, the story was designed to not be clearly explained as FromSoftware intended for players to interpret it for themselves via flavor text and optional discussions with non-player characters (NPCs). Miyazaki hoped Martin's contributions would produce a more accessible narrative than the studio's previous games.

    Work began on the game in early 2017 following the release of The Ringed City, a piece of downloadable content for Dark Souls III, and was developed alongside Sekiro. As with games in the Souls series, players have the ability to create their own custom character instead of using a fixed protagonist. Miyazaki also considered Elden Ring to be a more "natural evolution" to the Souls series, featuring an open world with new gameplay mechanics such as horseback riding. Unlike many other open-world games, Elden Ring does not feature populated towns with NPCs, with the world having numerous dungeon-like ruins in their place. Miyazaki cited Fumito Ueda's work such as Shadow of the Colossus (2005) as an influence that "inspired him to create" Elden Ring, while also drawing influence from "the design and the freedom of play" in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017). Yuka Kitamura, who has composed for many of Miyazaki's previous games, contributed to the game's soundtrack.


    Elden Ring received "universal acclaim" according to review aggregator Metacritic. The game is among the highest-reviewed games of all time. On Twitch, it drew nearly 900,000 viewers within 24 hours of release, making it the third largest debut on the platform after Lost Ark and Cyberpunk 2077.

    The Guardian praised the sense of exploration present in the game, writing "[There] is a deep sense of wonder and excitement whenever you happen upon a cave mouth on some out-of-the-way shoreline that leads to a warren of trinkets". GamesRadar+ liked the changes Elden Ring made to the soulslike formula: "Bows and arrows no longer suck, which was a nice surprise, weapon upgrades have been simplified a bit... and there's the power to summon helpful NPCs by spending mana." Destructoid felt the story was better told than in previous Souls games: "I enjoyed the effort to pack in more lore via textual ruins, as it’s way easier to piece things together that are actually in the game, and not in an interview or wiki." While criticizing the game's map for not properly conveying height changes, Ars Technica enjoyed the game's horse, Torrent: "Not only does Torrent make traveling long distances faster and less tedious than simply running, but the mount also comes with an incredibly satisfying double jump that adds some welcome light platform challenges and vertical exploration to the proceedings." Eurogamer praised the world design, stating: "The Lands Between still feel meticulously hand-crafted; dark corners hide lonely secrets and forgotten tales richly woven into the tapestry of the world itself, through environmental storytelling."

    Polygon liked how the game gave players more options to fight enemies, but still kept a sense of challenge intact: "Elden Ring’s toolset for growing more capable against daunting odds is deep and impressively varied — but it has not made me a god." IGN praised the lack of objective markers in Elden Ring, but felt that the game should have some sort of quest log or journal to note plot threads: "It becomes very easy to forget about certain plot threads and accidentally leave them unresolved by the end." While enjoying the open world, Game Informer highlighted the level design of the dungeons: "The legacy dungeons are the stuff of legend, often connecting to the outside from multiple points. These curated sprawls are a dream to dissect, and Elden Ring often offers different ways to maneuver through these areas." PCGamesN felt the UI improvements made the game vastly more accessible: "Your character sheet is crystal clear about what your strengths and weaknesses are, item descriptions aren’t needlessly obscured with esoteric lore snippets, and tutorial prompts explain every core mechanic in the game."

    The PC version of the game was criticized for having framerate issues such as "stutters and bizarre slowdowns," with Digital Foundry finding that the port "has a number of issues that will affect all hardware configurations on all graphical settings presets." Bandai Namco promised a future patch that would address these issues.


    The PC version of Elden Ring drew 734,000 concurrent players on Steam within minutes of its launch, surpassing Dark Souls III and Sekiro to become FromSoftware's largest launch on the service. It topped the Steam weekly sales chart upon launch, with various editions of the game occupying four positions in the top five: the top three spots and number five. Steam Spy estimates the game to have sold more than 10 million units on Steam, as of 2 March 2022. As of 7 March 2022, it reached a peak of 953,000 daily concurrent players on Steam, the sixth highest of all time on the platform.

    In Japan, the PlayStation 4 version of Elden Ring was the bestselling retail game during its first week of release, with 188,490 copies being sold. The PlayStation 5 version sold 90,017 copies in Japan throughout the same week, making it the second bestselling retail game in the country during the same week.

    In the United Kingdom, Elden Ring debuted at the top of the physical sales chart, with launch week sales surpassing Dark Souls III to make it the largest UK launch for a soulslike game and the third largest physical launch of early 2022 after Pokémon Legends: Arceus and Horizon Forbidden West. With digital sales included, Elden Ring had the largest UK launch of early 2022, with launch week sales 2.5 times higher than Horizon: Forbidden West the previous week. Elden Ring also had the largest UK launch outside of the FIFA and Call of Duty franchises since Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018. Elden Ring remained the top-selling game in the UK the following week.

    In Spain, Elden Ring reached 60,500 physical copies during its launch week, making it FromSoftware strongest game launch in the region.



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